Foreign applications to US colleges and study abroad by Americans rebound, new report says


More American students are looking to study abroad, and the number of international students applying to colleges in the United States is growing according to a new report from the Institute of International Education.

The report – The Spring 2022 Snapshot of International Educational Exchange – features data from 559 U.S. colleges on several aspects of international education, including: prospects for international student applications; the effects of Russia’s war on Ukraine on international student mobility and university partnerships, and information on American students studying abroad.

Here are some of the key findings.

Most institutions report an increase in international student applications

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of facilities reported a increase in international student admission applications for the 2022-23 academic year. That’s up from 43% of colleges reporting an increase a year ago, indicating international applicants are rebounding from their Covid-19 pandemic lows, while, according to the IIE’s 2020 survey , 52% of reporting facilities reported a lessen in international applications for the 2020-21 academic year.

The increase no doubt reflects several factors, including a renewed focus on direct in-person recruitment, with almost half (43%) of institutions reporting that they used in-person recruitment of international candidates, after a few years of reliance on social networks and online recruitment.

A second factor is the resumption of in-person classes for international students at nearly all US institutions. More than half of reporting institutions (55%) indicated that everything their international students took in-person classes in the spring of 2022, up from just 8% a year ago when the pandemic was more severe. Another 34% said that more of their international students study in person. Almost all reporting institutions (96%) plan to offer in-person study to prospective international students in the United States in the next academic year.

And third, over the past two years, American institutions have continued to emphasize the health, safety, and well-being of their international students. For example, 89% of reporting institutions provided pandemic-related communications on student health and well-being, 88% allow electronic signatures on documents related to student status and visas, and 61% have offered mental health support and other student services. Finally, 40% of reporting institutions continue to provide their international students with Covid-related emergency funding.

In-person study abroad should also rebound for American students

Most US institutions reported an increase in student participation in various study abroad opportunities over the past two years. In summer 2022, 58% of responding institutions indicated that they offered in-person study abroad programs; 31% offer hybrid programs. The proportion of in-person study abroad programs is expected to increase to 65% of colleges in fall 2022 and 64% in spring 2023.

Overall, 83% of institutions reported an increase in the number of study abroad compared to last year, an increase that was seen in all types of institutions and in all geographical regions of the United States. This is a significant improvement from 2020-21, when just 1% of colleges and universities expected study abroad numbers to increase, and from 2021-22, when 35 % expected an increase.

The most popular study abroad destinations remain Spain, Italy, the UK and France, with over 75% of responding institutions planning to offer programs in each destination. Only four of the program’s top 15 destinations were outside of Europe: Japan, South Korea, Australia and Costa Rica.

How American Colleges and Universities are Supporting International Students During the Ukraine Crisis

In the 2020-2021 academic year, more than 1,700 international students from Ukraine were studying at US colleges or universities, according to Open doors. Nearly half of institutions (44%) responding to the IIE survey said they were welcoming international students from Ukraine in spring 2022, and many were offering these students expanded support under the form of emergency funding, mental health services, legal advice and housing assistance.

In the 2021-2022 academic year, more than 4,800 Russian international students were studying in the United States, and American institutions support these students in much the same way they support Ukrainian international students. About 55% of all institutions responding to the IIE survey said they welcomed international students from Russia in spring 2022.

A relatively small number of US institutions (43) reported having a formal partnership with a Russian university. More than half of these institutions (56%) indicated that they had suspended the partnership during the war.


The report concludes with the observation that US colleges have been able to pivot quickly during the pandemic by shifting to virtual learning, providing increased support for international students in the US and abroad, and supporting more online study abroad opportunities for students.

He adds: “Over time, we have seen the resilience of international educational exchange, confirming that students want to travel abroad. American institutions are prepared and ready to welcome them or send them on exciting academic adventures. The return to in-person learning, whether among international students or American Studies Abroad, also confirms that students and faculty will prefer in-person experiences when possible. At the same time, we’ve learned that hybrid options provide opportunities to complement, but not replace, in-person study. »



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