In the 1970s, they came from Iran, riding the wave of the oil boom. Then in the first decade of the second millennium, they came from India, filling up graduate programs in business and science. Now, it's Chinese students who comprise the largest group of international pupils in the United States, buoyed by a growing Chinese middle class that's willing to pay top dollar for their children's educations.
According to an annual report by the Institute of International Education (IIE), in the 2014-2015 academic year more than 304,000 Chinese students were enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities, an almost five-fold increase from just a decade earlier. This means Chinese students have become a far more visible presence on U.S. campuses. B
But which ones, exactly? It's a simple question that is surprisingly difficult to answer — there is no complete, publicly available data set that documents the origins of international student populations by school, at every college and university in the United States. Via the Freedom of Information Act, Foreign Policy requested information from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which collects statistics on F-1 visas, the most commonly issued student visa, including the students' countries of origin and which institutions they attend. FP received a complete set of data on the F-1 visas issued in all of 2014 and until late March 2015, which indicated the schools for which each was issued. (FP did not receive this data from DHS until late October.) Those numbers are a strong proxy for the most Chinese campuses in America, and provide an apples-to-apples method to compare them. In the rankings* below, toggle to see school F-1 visa numbers weighted by total (main campus) enrollment; in that rega<38); font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; font-size: 17.008px; vertical-align: middle;">