For the second year in a row, India has accounted for the largest growth of international students in America, a latest report said today, with the number of foreign students in US universities surpassing one million for the first time during the 2015-16 academic year.
China remains the top sending country, with almost twice the number of students in the US as India, but India's rate of growth and absolute increase outpaced China's, said the latest reports of Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange data released by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in partnership with the US Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
In 2015-2016, there were 1,044,000 international students, representing five per cent of the total student population at US institutions.
More than a third of these international students studied engineering, math or computer science, and 14 per cent engaged in Optional Practical Training (OPT), including many in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) professions.
The growth in international STEM students is likely connected to the 25 per cent increase in students from India, more than three-quarters of who study in these fields.
In 2015-2016, there were 165,918 students compared to 132,888 students thus registering a growth of 24.9 per cent.
On the other hand China registered a growth of 8.1 per cent students from 304,040 in 2014-2015 to 328,547 in 2015-2015.
The report said while students from China and India remained the leading countries of origin and accounted for 84 per cent of the growth in international students in 2015-16, Saudi Arabia's government-sponsored international scholarship program helped drive that country to surpass South Korea to become the third largest sender of international students to the United States.
Students from the top three countries of origin - China, India, and Saudi Arabia - now represent approximately 53 per cent of the total enrollment of international students in the United States, the report said.
The numbers from South Korea declined by 4.2 per cent, causing it to fall from the third leading place of origin to fourth place.
After these top four countries, no country represents more than three per cent of the total international students in the United States.
Despite a one per cent decline, Canada remains the fifth leading place of origin, the report said.
Each of the top 25 places of origin had more than 6,000 students in the United States.
There were increases in the number of students from 16 of the top 25 places of origin, including China, India, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Iran, United Kingdom, Nepal, Nigeria, Kuwait, France, Indonesia, Venezuela, Malaysia, Colombia, and Spain.
As for American students going abroad, Europe remains the top destination.
Open Doors 2016 reports study abroad to Europe increased by 5 per cent in 2014/15, driving study abroad growth.
The United Kingdom remains the leading destination for American students, followed by Italy, Spain, France and China - which remained the fifth largest host destination despite a seven per cent decrease.
There were decreases in study abroad to China (down 7 per cent) and India (down three per cent to 4,438 students).
Several leading destinations in Asia saw increases as hosts for US study abroad: Japan (up 1.3 per cent) and South Korea (up nine per cent).