University students from all over the world flock to the United States to earn a higher education. When foreign students study abroad they have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to interact with more than 800,000 other international students and immerse themselves in new and interesting cultures. Not only do they get to begin a new step in their lives and careers by attending a university, they also live and work in one of the largest and most affluent countries in the world.
International students are eager to study in the U.S. and universities welcome them. According to a study by Neil G. Ruiz called The Geography of Foreign Students in U.S. Higher Education: Origins and Destinations, international students contribute $21.8 billion a year in tuition and an additional $12 billion in other spending — massive contributions to the economy of any metropolitan area. A little under half of international students extend their Visas to stay and work in the cities in which they study, adding to cultural diversity and boosting American industries. The same study finds that international students add significant economic benefits to the U.S. while contributing valuable skills for employers. Ruiz suggests that “metropolitan leaders should…capitalize on the knowledge and relationships of foreign students to strengthen local economies while also maximizing students’ educational and professional experiences in the United States.”
The study provides statistical insight into the practises of American universities and the geographic preferences of international students. Based on this data, this list presents the top 10 most popular cities for international students, in terms of the number of students per 1000 people.
10 San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, California - 53.9
San Diego, California is the home of University of San Diego and San Diego University. These are two major universities among many educational institutions in the city. Each welcomes international students from more than 73 countries with tuition costs up to $55,000 per year. California’s climate is hot year-round and the surrounding desert landscapes make it an exciting location for students from different parts of the world. San Diego is one among multiple cities in this list located in California. California is popular for both local and international students thanks to the warm climate, beaches and close proximity to other interesting states like Nevada and Oregon. There are approximately 14,000 international students.
9 Honolulu, Hawaii - 53.9
Who wouldn’t want to study in one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in the world? Honolulu, Hawaii has four major universities for international students to choose from. Hawaii Pacific University is the largest independent university in Hawaii with an average tuition cost of $37,000 a year. This is certainly not cheap. But while students study everything from technology to business, they have the unique opportunity to explore the cultural and geographic beauty of Honolulu, perhaps staying there permanently as they begin their careers. There are approximately 5,000 international students.
8 Lafayette, Indiana - 55.1
West Lafayatte has Purdue University with hundreds of programs in different degrees from associate to doctorate. Mayor Tony Roswarski describes the city as full of high-energy residents and a thriving business culture. The city welcomes more than 8,000 international students from 120 different countries. They are also an economic partner with Japanese and Chinese businesses making their culture even more diverse. The average tuition cost of Purdue University is $40,000, substantially lower than many of the other universities on this list, making the city very desirable. There are approximately 11,000 international students.
7 Champaign-Urbana, Illinois - 59.9
Champaign, Illinois is known for its extensive park system, public libraries and affordable living. International students graduating from University of Illinois or Parkland College can find themselves in the city’s growing health care, banking, and social services industries. Its convenient location near Chicago and other major cities offers students the chance to explore other parts of the U.S. as they study and start their careers. The average cost of tuition at the University of Illinois, the state's largest university, is $41,000. There are approximately 13,000 international students.
6 San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, California - 60.6
San Francisco has 16 accredited colleges and universities ranging from music conservatories to law schools, making it one of the leading cities for international students with a large array of career paths. The city is famous for its cool weather even in the summer, but the weather is generally stable year-round. Of course, it’s also the home of the Golden Gate Bridge and a massive State Park. Not only are its attractions world-renowned, the city is also a cultural and arts hub, exposing residents and visitors alike to a world of art in San Francisco’s unique neighbourhoods. The University of San Francisco, one of the largest of the city’s schools, has a $54,000 price tag for tuition. There are approximately 37,000 international students.
5 Jonesboro, Arkansas - 62.2
Jonesboro, Arkansas is one of the most progressive cities in the state with a vivacious downtown culture and nightlife. Tuition at Arkansas State University is also one of the most affordable in comparison to state universities in other metropolitan areas. For an average of $24,000, thousands of international students make this their school of choice and study everything from environmental science to journalism. Jonesboro is also a relatively small city, making it easier to compensate for living costs and connect with other students and residents. There are approximately 2,000 international students.
4 Corvallis, Oregon - 62.6
Like California, the Oregon coast is filled with old-growth forests and natural beauty. Inner Oregon has one of the most dynamic geographies in the United States. Corvallis itself has the best of both worlds featuring spacious green parks and a thriving downtown core. It’s largest school is Oregon State University, a leading research university located 90 miles from the larger Portland. With Corvallis' prime location, international students are in the best city to explore the nature and city life of Oregon. The average tuition cost is $35,000, a reasonable price for international students looking to both learn and experience a new country. There are approximately 2,000 international students.
3 Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, California - 62.6
Santa Barbara, California is known not only for their world-class wines, but also their big-city feel combined with a small-town charm. There are 6 universities and institutes in Santa Barbara for international students to study their chosen vocations. One of the largest is University of California-Santa Barbara with an average tuition cost of $54,000. For international students planning to stay in America to pursue higher education, Fielding Graduate University offers doctorate programs in education and behavioural studies. There are approximately 2,000 international students.
2 Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Massachusetts and New Hampshire - 65.3
Boston, Massachusetts has more than 10 universities and colleges that give international students a wide range of options on what neighbourhoods to live in and what programs to study. Boston University is one of the most popular schools in Greater Boston with hundreds of programs in various fields. The average cost of tuition is $56,000. Only minutes from Boston is Cambridge, home of Harvard, one of the most prestigious and exclusive schools in the world. American and international students alike compete with thousands of prospective students for a chance to study there. However, like Boston University, the cost of tuition averages at $56,000. There are approximately 53,000 international students.
1 Ithaca, New York - 71.2
Located in upstate New York, Ithaca boasts a high quality of life. It hosts a strong community of artists, thinkers and performers and boasts some of the most stunning autumnal colours in the state, perfect for when students return to school. Cornell University is one of the leading scientific universities in the country and was the home of famed astrophysicist Dr. Carl Sagan. Its tuition costs average at $57,000. A little more affordable at $51,000, Ithaca College is perfect for international students who want to save as much money as possible during their long term studying abroad. There are approximately 7,000 international students.