Report ranks Purdue as leader in global student body, campus experience

November 17, 2014  

International BGR

Purdue has the second-largest international student population among U.S. public universities, according to a report released Monday (Nov. 17) by the Institute of International Education. This fall, first-year international students participated in Purdue’s orientation program Boiler Gold Rush International. (Purdue University file photo/Mark Simons)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue continues to attract one of the largest international student populations as the university has the second-largest number among U.S. public universities and fifth largest when private universities are included, according to a report released Monday (Nov. 17) by the Institute of International Education.

“This international diversity is vital to the Purdue global experience for all students in West Lafayette,” said E. Daniel Hirleman, Purdue’s chief corporate and global partnerships officer. “The university’s international connections have a long history with countries like China, and most recently we have been proactively moving forward with countries such as India and Colombia to increase research partnerships and student opportunities.”

The 2014 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange is based on the 2013-14 academic year, and it reports Purdue had 9,988 international students. This number is larger than Purdue's reported 8,702 for Fall 2013 because the institute includes recent graduates who obtained employment eligibility in the United States and who are still affiliated with their universities. The Open Doors report shows an increase of 479 while Purdue's records show a jump of 140.

Another Big Ten school, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, ranked first among U.S. public institutions with 10,843 international students. New York University, the University of Southern California and Columbia University, which are all private schools, ranked first, second and fourth on the overall list. Last year, Purdue was ranked third overall, but New York and Columbia universities had larger international student enrollments for the current reporting year.  

Nationally, the number of international students attending American universities and colleges increased more than 8 percent from 819,644 in the previous report to a record high 886,052. This is the eighth consecutive year that the number of international students studying in the United States has increased.

The state of Indiana also saw an 8.2 percent increase from 24,408 to 26,406. Indiana is ranked 10th among states with the largest international student populations, and Indiana University is ranked 15th on the Open Doors overall list with 6,661 international students.

In 2011-12 international students studying in Indiana contributed $688.2 million to the state economy according to NAFSA: Association of International Educators. According to the Open Doors report, international students contributed $27 billion to the U.S. economy.

 “The state benefits economically and culturally from this diversity with so many students studying here,” said Michael Brzezinski, dean of international programs. “Purdue also wants the local community to experience this global connection with programs that help connect international students with families throughout the school year. Our International Friendship Program that matches students in friendship relationships with community residents and the BoilerOut! Program, which connects students with local volunteer opportunities, are two such programs that get our students out into the community. Approximately, 350 international students are involved in these programs. ”

Purdue reported an increase of 378 international students this fall, bringing the current number to a record of 9,080. These students include 4,617 from China, 1,462 from India and 705 from South Korea. China has the most international students studying in the United States.

Open Doors also reported that more American students studied abroad, increasing by 2 percent from 283,332 in 2011-12 to 289,408 in 2012-13. During 2012-13, the number of U.S. undergraduate students from Purdue who studied abroad was 1,115, slightly lower than 2011-12. However, the data to be provided to the Open Doors for 2013-14 will reflect an increase to an estimated 1,442.

Increasing the number of students taking advantage of global learning experiences related to their academic major is one of the university’s key initiatives, and the goal is for a third of all undergraduate students to participate in at least one credit-bearing overseas study, internship or research experience before graduation. This past fiscal year 1,695, Purdue undergraduates studied abroad resulting in a 28.3 percent increase from the previous year’s total. This comparison also includes international undergraduate students, who typically comprise approximately 10 percent of the total.

The increase due is in part to financial support made by Purdue Moves, which offers up to $1,000 for qualified undergraduate students who participate in a shorter-term, formalized credit-bearing study abroad program. For summer programs of at least six credits and six weeks, awards up to $2,000 are offered. Larger scholarship amounts up to $3,000 are available for more immersive semester and yearlong program participation.

The Open Doors report is published in partnership with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The Institute of International Education has conducted an annual statistical survey of international students in the United States since its founding in 1919 and in partnership with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs since 1972. 

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, 

Sources: E. Daniel Hirleman, 765-494-9095, 

Michael Brzezinski, 765-494-9399, 

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