LOS ANGELES, Calif.–The University of Southern California enrolls the most international students of all American colleges and universities, according to a report released today.

The university enrolled 8,615 students from other countries during the 2010-11 academic year, a 62 percent increase over the last decade, according to the Institute of International Education, which produced the report.

California colleges and universities saw an overall 2.4 percent increase in the number of international students, with a total of 96,535 last year.

Chinese students were the most represented at USC, at 1,951, or nearly 23 percent of the total international enrollment. Students from India–1,499–made up the second largest block.
University officials attribute the high numbers of students from China and India to strong recruitment by growing alumni groups in those countries.

“USC’s international students contribute tremendously to the university’s vibrant community, and they benefit greatly in return,” USC President C.L. Max Nikias said. “Our campuses hum with diversity, fresh perspectives and a broad range of experiences.”

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign enrolled the second highest number of international students, just shy of 8,000, according to the report.

UCLA had 6,249 international students enrolled last year, putting it sixth on the list.

The vast majority of USC’s international students, 70 percent, were in graduate programs, with most doing advanced study in engineering.

USC announced in September that its current freshman class is the most diverse in the university’s history. Of the nearly 3,000 students, about 25 percent are Asian, 12 percent Hispanic, 7 percent Black and 2 percent Native American or Pacific Islander.

The estimated annual cost of attending USC, including attendance, room, books and other expenses, is $57,876.

More than 60 percent of the entering class received need-based financial aid, and 23 percent received a merit-based scholarship, according to USC.

By Richie Duchon | City News Service