Purdue ranks 3rd for largest international student population at public universities

November 16, 2015  


Purdue international students are welcomed as part of their 2015 orientation program, Boiler Gold Rush international. The university has the third-largest number of such students among U.S. public institutions, according to a report issued Monday (Nov. 16) by the Institute of International Education. The Open Doors report also ranks Purdue as seventh among public and private institutions. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue continues to be one of higher education’s leading destinations for international students, as the university has the third-largest number of such students among U.S. public institutions, according to a report issued Monday (Nov. 16) by the Institute of International Education. The university is seventh among more than 4,500 public and private institutions.

“Today’s workforce is global, and because of our large international student population, Purdue students are immersed with students from more than 120 countries while studying in West Lafayette, Indiana,” said E. Daniel Hirleman, Purdue’s chief corporate and global partnerships officer. “These interactions are enriching to the educational experience, and we support various cross-cultural learning experiences between international and American students through orientation programs, classroom learning and cultural activities.”

The 2015 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, based on the 2014-15 academic year, reports that Purdue had 10,230 international students a 2.4 percent increase over 2013-14. In addition to the 9,080 international students that Purdue reported for fall 2014, this number also includes recent graduates who obtained employment eligibility in the United States and who are still affiliated with the university. This fall, Purdue reported 9,230 international students, an all-time high.

Last year, Purdue ranked second among U.S. public institutions, only behind the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This year, Arizona State University is No. 1 with 11,330 students. New York University, the University of Southern California, Columbia University and Northeastern University, which are all private schools, ranked first, second, third and sixth on the overall list. Purdue is one of eight U.S. institutions to host more than 10,000 international students.

Nationally, the number of international students attending U.S. universities and colleges increased more than 10 percent, from 886,052 in the previous report, to a record high 974,926. These students’ spending in all 50 states contributed to more than $30 billion to the 2014 U.S. economy, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

p3i orientation

During the fall 2015 orientation program, called Boiler Gold Rush international, international students learned about American college life, including football at Ross-Ade stadium. BGRi is one of the programs offered through Purdue International Integration Initiative, also known as P3i, which targets academic, social and cultural themes. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons) 
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The state of Indiana also saw a 6.4 percent increase in international students, from 26,406 to 28,104. Indiana is ranked 10th among states with the largest international student populations, and Indiana University is ranked 16th on the Open Doors overall list with 7,009 international students.

International students studying in Indiana contributed $919.2 million to the state economy, according to NAFSA: Association of International Educators. It’s estimated that international students at Purdue contribute more than one-third of that to the state’s economy.

“During the past year, Purdue also has been recognized by the U.S. government as the top STEM school for international students, and the university’s programs were honored by the Institute of International Education for helping international students integrate into campus life and the local community,” said Michael Brzezinski, dean of International Programs.

The STEM report, released earlier this year by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program as part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, ranked Purdue first in the nation overall for international students studying STEM fields.

The Institute of International Education also recognized Purdue in March with a Heiskell Award for the university’s programming that encourages more interaction between international and American students. These programs are offered through Purdue International Integration Initiative, also known as P3i, and they target academic, social and cultural themes. Programming begins before the students' arrival in West Lafayette and includes onsite programs such as BGRi, Boiler Gold Rush international; and MIX, the Multinational Integration Xchange.

Purdue's International Programs office also provides local service opportunities, supplemental integrative language learning, travel to points of interest, in-depth analyses of U.S. culture and leadership development opportunities. International students also have the opportunity to learn about the local community through a volunteer program, Boiler Out!, or through friendships with community members as part of the International Friendship Program. The university also announced its Host-A-Boiler program, which pairs students from outside of Indiana or the U.S. with a local host during the Thanksgiving and winter breaks.

According to Open Doors, the number of American students studying abroad also increased by 5 percent, from 289,408 to 304,467. Purdue, which had more than 2,000 undergraduate students study abroad last year, reports that study abroad participation is up 52 percent in the past two years.

The increase is largely due to scholarships made available by Purdue Moves designed to broaden Purdue's global impact and enhance overseas educational opportunities for its students. Currently, about 20 percent of recent graduates have participated in a study abroad program compared to 18 percent when the Purdue Moves support was initiated. 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.

The Open Doors report is published in partnership with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and its publication marks the celebration of International Education Week. 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, apatterson@purdue.edu

Sources: E. Daniel Hirleman, 765-494-9095, hirleman@purdue.edu 

Michael Brzezinski, 765-494-9399, mbrzezinski@purdue.edu 

Related news releases:

Purdue is top destination for international students in STEM fields 

Purdue recognized for programs integrating international, American students 

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