November 18, 2016
The number of foreign students in the United States has passed 1 million for the first time, with the number of Iranian students rising to 12,269, the highest in 29 years.
The rising number of Iranian students is surprising given that the regime will not give anyone studying in the United States (or Canada or Britain) a scholarship.
There were more than 50,000 Iranian students in the United States before the revolution. That number soon began to drop and hit bottom in 1998 with just 1,660 Iranians studying at US universities that year. The numbers rose slowly over the next decade to 3,533 in 2008, but has soared each year since then, reaching 12,269 in the 2015-2016 school year. (Figures for this school year will not be available until next year.)
Iranian students now comprise the 11th largest national contingent in the United States, though Iranians were the largest single national contingent at the time of the revolution.
There have been repeated stories about the US govern-ment’s tough standards for visas driving Iranians (and other nationalities) away. But the figures show the opposite to be true.
The collapse of the rial in 2013 was also expected to drive down the number of Iranians studying in the US. But the numbers continued to rise.
The total number of foreign students registering last fall was 1,043,839, the first time the total surpassed 1 million. The 2015 total was a rise of 7.1 percent. The number of Iranian students rose 8.2 percent.
Iranians are now the second largest student block from the Middle East. The Saudis are first with 61,287 students last year.
The largest numbers of foreign students in US universities are Chinese with 328,547, followed by Indians (165,918) and Saudis. Students from those three countries comprise 53 percent of all the foreign students in the United States.
Foreign students comprise 5 percent of the total enrollment in US universities. The largest numbers are at New York University followed by the University of Southern California, Arizona State University, Columbia University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
There are now 85 percent more foreign students in the United States than 10 years ago, making mincemeat of forecasts that the tougher visa standards imposed after the September 11, 2001, attacks would bring about a decline in foreign students.
The numbers of foreign students are assembled by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the US Department of State.