Colleges With the Most International Students

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International students make up a significant portion of higher education enrollment in the United States. As such, schools across the country seek to provide international students with the resources needed to effectively navigate college life.

In addition to helping international learners address requirements related to visas and social security numbers, many colleges with students from abroad embrace diversity and promote cultural activities, events, and organizations. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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The following ranking highlights colleges with the most international students. The schools ranked below have either a high number of international students or an international population that makes up a large portion of the overall student body. We also considered schools that provide an abundance of academic, administrative, and networking resources for international students.

Top Colleges With the Most International Students

Colleges With the Most International Students

  1. New York University

    New York, NY

    New York University serves over 19,000 international learners hailing from more than 140 countries. For the 2018-2019 school year, NYU had the most international students of any university in the U.S.

    NYU offers many resources to help international students transition smoothly into academic life in the U.S. NYU's Office of Global Services provides assistance with immigration processes for students, and the International Student Center helps create meaningful connections between international learners.

    NYU also hosts events and programs throughout the year for international students, including International Education Week.

  2. Columbia University

    New York, NY

    Enrolling over 15,000 international students, New York's Columbia University maintains a strong reputation for serving international learners. Columbia's international students hail from more than 150 countries.

    Columbia's International Students & Scholars Office serves the university's expansive international population, including faculty and staff. Resources include assistance with immigration-related needs like visas, travel, and tax-filing obligations.

    Along with student support services, international learners can access an extensive catalog of student organizations. Students can join organizations like the South East Asian League, the Iranian Students Association, and the Hong Kong Students and Scholars Society.

  3. Indiana University

    Bloomington, IN

    With more than 6,000 international students, Indiana University Bloomington has earned a reputation as a welcoming and rigorous academic institution.

    IU's Office of International Services connects current and prospective students with the university's International Student Ambassadors. These ambassadors are current international learners dedicated to easing the transition into life at IU and helping other international students find the resources they need.

    Along with the Office of International Services, the university also houses student organizations like the African Students' Association, the Association of Central Eurasian Students, and the International Business Association.

  4. University of Southern California

    Los Angeles, CA

    Over 10,000 students enrolled at University of Southern California in Los Angeles are international learners. To support these students, who make up nearly 23% of the student body, USC provides a robust set of resources while promoting the benefits of a diverse student population.

    USC's Office of International Services publishes the International Connection Magazine, which highlights international student experiences and accomplishments. Students can also attend workshops that cover visa and green card requirements, employment opportunities, and academic and professional writing as a nonnative speaker of English.

  5. Arizona State University

    Tempe, AZ

    Arizona State University serves more than 10,000 learners from outside the U.S., along with more than 700 international scholars and faculty members. ASU's students come from more than 140 different countries.

    The university's International Students and Scholars Center assists students with visas, employment authorization, and other legal issues related to immigration status. The center also provides workshops on practical topics such as employment and communication skills, and it hosts opportunities for international students to connect through events like the Coffee and Conversation hour.

    ASU also houses many international student organizations and an expansive network of international alumni.

  6. University of California-Los Angeles

    Los Angeles, CA

    The University of California, Los Angeles serves more than 12,000 international students and scholars. For over 60 years, the UCLA International Institute has operated as both a campus and community resource, maintaining 25 centers and academic programs focusing on topics like global studies, international development, and global health.

    UCLA also connects new international learners with International Student Ambassadors who introduce them to the UCLA community. The university's Dashew Center is the central hub for resources, support, and advocacy for international students and scholars. Students can attend the International Study Hall to complete assignments and prepare for tests. They can also participate in quarterly day trips, exploring different areas of Southern California.

  7. Purdue University

    West Lafayette, IN

    Based in West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue University currently serves more than 8,000 international students representing roughly 130 countries. Additionally, the university has over 1,700 international faculty and staff. Purdue routinely ranks as a top school for international students in STEM disciplines.

    Purdue's International Students and Scholars program provides resources related to academic advising, admissions, and immigration. It also offers a variety of programs and events for international students such as the International Friendship Program, which matches new international students with a member of the community, and the Host-a-Boiler Program, which finds local families to host an international student for the winter holidays.

    Purdue sponsors several organizations and clubs for international students, including the Afghan Students' Association, the Indian Student Association, and the Nepali Society at Purdue.

  8. University of Illinois

    Champaign-Urbana, IL

    The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is home to over 10,000 international students from more than 100 countries, representing about 20% of the school's student body.

    The university's International Student and Scholar Services acts as an information hub for international learners, providing immigration services, advocacy, and outreach. Current students can receive assistance maintaining visas, gaining employment, and securing driver's licenses.

    Additionally, U of I hosts 35 weeks of events and activities that relate to international student experience every year. These opportunities include virtual office hours and Q&A sessions. Students also benefit from the Uniquely Illinois program, which helps integrate learners with their new community.

  9. Northeastern University

    Boston, MA

    Boston's Northeastern University helps foster academic success and personal growth for its roughly 13,000 international students. Northeastern provides opportunities for international students to learn more about American culture and meet new people through experiences like weekend trips.

    Northeastern's Office of Global Services provides support services to the international student community, including assisting international learners with visa applications. Additionally, the We Care office offers help for students struggling with personal and academic life, while the Global Student Mentor program pairs new international learners with current students, helping them transition into life on campus.

  10. Ohio State University

    Columbus, OH

    Serving over 6,000 international students, The Ohio State University has a long history of embracing learners from far and wide.

    Ohio State's Office of International Affairs provides pre-arrival assistance to international students, as well as an immersive new student orientation. The office also provides immigration information, helps students secure employment opportunities, and supports international learners with all aspects of life at the school.

    International students can participate in programs like online "speed friending," career counseling, and cross-cultural understanding and communication workshops. Learners can also apply for grants and scholarships — at the undergraduate and graduate levels — that are reserved for international students.

How Many International Students Are in U.S. Colleges?

In 2019, international students made up more than 5% of the total higher education population in the United States. As the number of international students grows, colleges must offer the right resources and admissions processes to accommodate these students.

In the 2018-19 academic year, more than 50% of international learners in the U.S. enrolled in STEM programs. Engineering is the most popular path for international students, with over 20% of these learners pursuing an engineering degree.

How Can International Students Apply for College in the U.S.?

International students often apply to several schools. They provide academic transcripts, personal statements, and answers to essay questions as part of the application process.

While the general application requirements for international students remain similar to requirements for U.S. students, international applicants typically need to demonstrate English language proficiency if English is not their native language. Many schools ask for TOEFL or IELTS exam scores, as these scores help demonstrate the ability to adapt within an American academic environment.

How Much Does It Cost to Study in the U.S. for International Students?

International students often rank the U.S. as a top choice for their college education.

While a popular destination for international learners, education in the U.S. also comes with a relatively hefty price tag. Prospective students should shop around, compare the cost of various schools, and investigate grants, scholarships, and other financial aid options.

Costs vary from school to school, but private institutions almost always cost more. Students in the U.S. currently spend an average of almost $100,000 on their undergraduate education — this price reflects tuition, as well as other expenses like room and board, utilities, and transportation. Public colleges, although generally more affordable than private schools, still charge an average out-of-state tuition rate that exceeds $21,000 per year.

Can International Students Get Financial Aid or Scholarships in the U.S.?

While college can be prohibitively expensive for some international students, grants, financial aid, and scholarships can help ease the financial burden. Upon receiving a letter of admission, learners should consult their university's financial aid office. Experienced advisors can help locate funding to offset the financial burden of higher education.

Colleges with large populations of international learners typically offer a wealth of economic resources in the form of merit- and need-based financial awards.

Find Additional Resources

The Student Guide to College Planning

Your Guide to College Applications

A Guide to Studying Abroad

Explore Related Rankings is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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