International student enrollment reaches highest number yet

Natalie Sullivan

The number of international students studying in the U.S. has been increasing in recent years, and UT is no exception. The University saw a 4.4 percent increase in international students over the past three years, reaching its highest enrollment yet in 2013 with 4,961 international students.

According to a February report by the Institute of International Education, the number of international students studying in the U.S. has reached an all-time high, increasing 7.2 percent in 2012-2013 to 819,644 students.

At UT, the international student population has also grown, although not as dramatically. According to Teri Albrecht, director of international student services, there has been a 1.2 percent increase in international students at UT over the past year.

Albrecht said the University’s high global and academic reputation might have played a role in the increase.

“The University is known across the world for its strong academic programs, and thus attracts applicants from around the world,” Albrecht said.

This reason resonated with mathematics junior Zihan Zang, who said he came to UT from China to improve his educational prospects. 

“UT has very good math and science programs, and it’s very helpful to learn English, too,” Zhang said.

Increased national funding and easier access to American testing methods may have also contributed to the increase in students, according to Albrecht.

“I think the international student population has grown in the U.S. overall because of the strength that the U.S. higher education system has to offer, [such as the] ability to access SAT and GRE testing centers more easily across the world, and funding that is occurring at a national level in countries like Brazil or Saudi Arabia for students to study [in] the U.S,” Albrecht said.

Texas has the third largest number of international students in the nation, and UT has more foreign students, which includes full-time, exchange and ESL students, than any other university in Texas.

International student adviser Monica Malhotra said the number of international students enrolled in ESL programs has also increased, which she said is probably because of the high demand for foreign students to learn English.

“Our ESL student numbers have increased significantly, and we have to close applications at a certain point because we don’t have the space to admit more,” Malhotra said. “It’s because of the number of foreign government sponsors sending their students to the U.S. to learn English and prepare them for admission to a U.S. university.”