Illinois ranks No. 1 public school for international students


Mark Capapas

Alma Mater stands on the corner of Wright and Green streets. The University ranks first for international students as a public school and fifth on the national level.

By Diana Anghel, Staff Writer

The University was ranked the top destination for international students as a public institution and fifth on a national level, according to a recently published report by Open Doors. In the 2018-2019 school year, Illinois enrolled 13,497 international students. 

Universities in the United States made an all-time high record of 1,095,299 international students enrolled for the 2018-2019 school year. 

Last year, the Open Doors report ranked the University as the No. 2 public university for international students, with 12,454 enrolled in the 2016-2017 school year, according to the University website. Andrew Borst, director of undergraduate admissions, said in an email that he believes Illinois has remained a top destination for international students. 

“Despite national downtrends, international enrollment has been fairly stable for us over the last five years,” Borst said. “We’ve improved in the diversity of countries represented, and we are working to fortify our international recruitment pipelines.” 

Other universities ranked in the top five nationally were, in order, New York University, University of Southern California, Northeastern University and Columbia University. Illinois stands as the only public university in the top five. 

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Julie Misa, associate provost for Illinois International, said in an email she believes this is due to the University’s top-ranked programs, groundbreaking research and thriving campus community. 

“Illinois alumni are exceptional, and student success is high, with 91% of 2017-18 graduates reporting that they were employed or continuing their education within six months of graduation,” Misa said. “All of these factors combine to make Illinois stand out as a destination for international students.”

The International Student and Scholar Services offer a variety of assistance for international students through advising, immigration services, programming, advocacy and outreach, according to the ISSS website

Martin McFarlane, director of ISSS, said in an email he thinks it would be ignorant to suggest the programs ISSS offers influence a students decision to come here. Instead, Illinois’ academic reputation is the main factor. 

“I’d like to think that the programs we provide help our students have a well-rounded and satisfying international educational experience and that students then pass this on to family and friends, helping our reputation as a leader in international education,” McFarlane said. 

In the future, the admissions office’s goal is to maintain the size of the undergraduate enrollment while continuing to increase the academic profile and diversity of the incoming class, according to Borst.

“While the University has worked hard to establish and fortify relationships with China as our largest feeder country, our primary goal is to diversify the countries represented in our overall student population,” Borst said. 

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