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Sociology of Education

International students
in the United States

By
Qianwen Zhong

Directory
I. History and status quo of foreign students in the United States
A. Places of origin(where they come from)
B. Fields of study (what they are studying)
C. Destinations of institutions and areas(where they are studying)

II. The U.S. is an attractive destination for foreign students.


A. Higher education systems quality

III. Social effect brought by foreign students in the United States


A. Economy
B. Academic
IV. Functionalist

Analysis
v. Conflict Theory Analysis

I. History and status quo of foreign students in


the United States
In the 1870s, Indiana University(IU) is the first university in the
United States to invite students to study natural history and culture
program in such West European countries as Germany, France, and
British. However, University of Delware (UD) is the first university in the
United States to offer credit and design study-abroad program for
undergraduate students in 1920s. Nowadays, there are more and more
students from other countries choose to receive post-secondary
education in the US, and the number of these students is about one
percent of all students who is in higher education in all institutions.
(studying abroad in the US, Wikipedia)
The amount of international students having F-1 Visa in United
States universities and college grows from approximately 110,000 in
2001 to 524, 000 in 2012 (Ruiz).

I. History and status quo of foreign students in the


United States
A. Places of origin(where they come from)
1. By 2014-2015 Open Door Report by Institute of International Education, there are totally
974,926 international students in the United States (including public and private
institutions)
2. The top 10 origin countries of international students are : China(304,040, 31.2%),
India(132,888, 13.6%), South Korea(63,710, 6.5%), Saudi Arabia(59,945, 6.1%),
Canada(27,240, 2.8%), Brazil(23,675, 2.4%), Chinese Taipei(20,993, 2.2%), Japan(19,064,
2.0%), Viet Nam(18,722, 1.9%), and Mexico(17,052, 1.7%)(Open Door Report 2015).
3. 5 origin cities that send the most International students who are in higher education:
Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, Bejing in China, Shanghai in China, Seoul in South Korea, and
Hyderabad in India.
4. The number of international students sent by 94 large fast-growing cities in the world is
more than 50% of all international students in the United States (Open Door Report
2015).

I. History and status quo of foreign students in


the United States
B. Fields of study (what they are studying)
1. The ranking fields of study for all international students in the US:
Business and Management(197,258, 20.2%), Engineering(196,750, 20.2%),
Other/Unspecified Subject Areas(131,332, 13.5%), Mathematics and
Computer Sciences(112,950, 11.6%), Social Sciences(75,951, 7.8%),
Physical and Life Science(73,838, 7.6%), Humanities(66,737, 6.8%), Fine
and Applied Arts(56,758, 5.8%), Health Professions(33,399, 3.4%),
Education(17,675, 1.8%), and Agriculture(12,278, 1.3%).
2. Two thirds of international students pursue their bachelors degree
or higher degree in major of engineering, mathematics, technology
(STEM) or business and management and marketing whereas only 48% of
native American students do (Ruiz).

I. History and status quo of foreign students in the United


States
C. Destinations of institutions and areas(where they are studying)
1. Top 5 destinations of institutions international students study
New York University, New York(13,178); University of Southern California, Los
Angeles(12,334); Columbia University, New York(11,510); Arizona State University, Tempe(11,330);
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Champaign(11,223)(Open Door Report).
2. Destinations of areas
International students tend to concentrate on large metro areas to study because these
metro areas usually have better economy and education environment and many leading
universities or colleges are more likely to located at metropolitan areas.
from 2008 and 2012, the top metro areas for international students in F-1 Visa are: New
York-Newark-Edison, NY-NJ-PA(101,586); Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA(68,271); BostonCambridge-Quincy, MA-NH(53,486); San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA(37,610); WashingtonArlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV(35,459).
However, there are still many leading universities located in small areas such as University
of Illinois has a rank of 17th for F-1 Visa students but Campaign-Urbana, the area it locates at,
ranks 191st in the metro areas in the United States (Ruiz).

II. The U.S. is an attractive destination for foreign students


A. Higher education systems quality
1. In a research conducted by Institute of International Education(IIE) in 2011,
88% respondents agree that the US have an excellent higher education system, and
more than three fourths of respondents worldwide state that high quality of U.S.
higher education system is the prime factor they want to study in the US (Chow).
2. Wide range of schools and programs
Totally 6500 post-secondary institutions, 4200 of which are colleges and
universities and 2300 of which are institutions that offer vocational certificates.
Within. There are two-year community colleges, four-year public and private
universities, four-year liberal arts colleges, faith-based institutions and so on.
Institutions are diverse.
Program: Curricular Practical Training(CPT), Optional Practical Training(OPT),
H-1B visa, BMD(bachelors, masters and doctoral degree program), STEM(science,
technology, engineering, mathematics), etc..

II. The U.S. is an attractive destination for foreign students


A. Higher education systems quality
3. Funding
Federal research funds support international students in the US through
their institutions. For instance, they offer fellowship, graduate or research
assistantships(GA), teaching assistantships(TA), in-campus employment(working
as administrative assistant or resident hall advisor), international award or
scholarship, loans, and financial aid (Obst 5).
Overall, higher education system in the US are regraded to have good
student support services and scholarship opportunities.

III. Social effect brought by foreign students in the United States


A. Economy
1. According to NAFSAS latest analysis, during the academic year from 2014
to 2015, the spending of 974,926 international students in 50 states contributes
approximately $30.5 billion and provide support for up to 373,000 jobs to the
United States economy(IIE Releases Open Doors 2015 Data).
2. 45% of international students graduates extend their visas so that they can
work in the metro areas where they study. OPT program and CPT program are
such programs that help current or graduating F-1 visa students work in a short
period of time outside campus. If they want to be authorized for long period of
work, they should apply H-1B visa. Nevertheless, their access to marketplace and
job opportunities make them become the significant sources of talent employers
in the marketplace.
3. serve as a bridge to their home countries on the field of business
relationship and strength the process of economic globalization.

III. Social effect brought by foreign students in the United States


B. Academic
1. Bring international attitudes and perspectives into schools in
the US and help conduct USs scientific and technical research.
2. Help local students in the US to prepare for global horizons
and careers.
3. serves as a bridge to their home countries and motivate more
exchange and communication program between students in the US
and their peer students outside of the US. Bring valuable work skills
and experiences to local people.

IV. Functionalist Analysis


From functionalist perspective, international students in the United
States play their parts in educational environment and contribute both
manifest and latent functions. International students have an economic
and academic effect on the society.
Economic effect, which is intended and visible, is manifest
function. For instance, it is obvious that international students
spending will stimulate economic growth and increase job opportunities
in local areas. Concentration of international students will make
competitions intense and it is more likely to provide rich sources of
talent people for employers.
Academic effect, which is unintended, is latent function. With
more and more international students in the colleges and universities in
the US, local students might find that the courses are becoming harder
and harder, the difficulties of admission become bigger and bigger,
which reveals that competitions with classmates is more and more
intense.

V. Conflict Theory Analysis


From conflict perspective, international students in the US
might encounter inequality resulting from differences of race,
ethnicity, class and so on. There is a regulation for F-1 visa
students that they must attend at least 12-unit class in one
semester or quarter. If they do not have enough units, they will
be kicked out of the United States. Therefore they have less
autonomy on academic. They are also ineligible for many kinds
of loan schemes because they are neither citizens nor residents.
They might encounter culture shock, discrimination and
language barrier. Sometimes people will have stereotypes or
prejudices on international students from one specific place. For
instances, Asian international students are often thought to be
good at science and inflexible.

Work Cited Page


1. "Study Abroad in the United States."Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 25 July
2016.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Study_abroad_in_the_United_States
2. Ruiz, Neil G. "The Geography of Foreign Students in U.S. Higher Education: Origins and
Destinations."The Brookings Institution. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 July 2016.
http://www.brookings.edu/research/interactives/2014/geography-of-foreignstudents#/M10420
3. Institute of International Education (2015 "International Student Totals by Place of
Origin, 2013/14- 2014/15."Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange.
Retrieved from http://www.iie.org/opendoors
4. Chow, Patricia. What International Students Think About U.S. Higher Education:
Attitudes and Perceptions of Prospective Students in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin
America. Institute of International Education. 2011. Print.
5. Eckel, Peter D., and Jacqueline E. King. An Overview of Higher Education in the United
States: Diversity, Access, and the Role of the Marketplace. Washington, DC: Springer. Print
6. Obst, Daniel, and Joanne Forster. Perceptions of European Higher Education in Third
Countries. Institute of International Education. 2004.

7. IIE Releases Open Doors 2015 Data. Press Release. Institute of


International Education., n.d. Web. 24 July, 2016.