US universities experience a 13% growth in international scholars

US Universities experience 13% growth in international scholars

The United States has a student population exceeding one million from various countries, according to the official Open Doors 2023 Report on International Educational Exchange. Data from last November showed that for the 2022-2023 academic year, the total number of international students increased by 11.5%, reaching 1,057,188. Notably, over half of these students came from the top two source countries: China, with 289,526 students (27.4%), and India, with 268,923 students (25.4%). The number of Indian students saw a significant year-on-year increase of nearly 70,000. 


The number of international scholars in the United States rose by 13% compared to last year, reaching a total of 102,366 scholars engaged in research, teaching and clinical activities on campuses across the nation. This surge, revealed in the 2022-2023 Open Doors figures, aligns with the growth in international student numbers, which saw a 12% rise during the same academic year, reaching a total of over one million. 

Growth in international scholars

Mirka Martel from The Power of International Education (IIE), a global not-for-profit that designs & implements international education strategies & services, notes that before the Covid-19 pandemic, there was steady growth in international scholars coming to the US. While the 2018-2019 peak of 136,000 international scholars has not yet been fully recovered, the two consecutive years of growth are positive, reflecting the sustained commitment of US higher education institutions to hosting international scholars. The data reveals that 10% of scholars were in the country for less than three months, 9% for three to six months and 18% for six months to a year. This trend indicates a growing interest in academic exchanges, specialised workshops, or collaborative projects. Moreover, this implies a purposeful effort to involve international scholars in a wide array of academic experiences, allowing them to be immersed in the academic culture and contribute meaningfully to research initiatives. Lastly, this also displays a mutual investment in long-term academic goals and cultural exchange – reflecting the flexibility and commitment of both scholars and institutions in creating an inclusive and rich environment for international students.  

Origin countries and institutions 

China and India, the top two origin countries for international scholars in the US, both experienced growths. China accounted for 19,556 scholars, a 1% increase, while India’s scholars rose by 8%, reaching a total of 16,068 in 2022-2023. The majority of international scholars (92%) are hosted at doctoral universities, with Harvard, Stanford, Columbia and Yale emerging as the top hosting institutions for the year. Notably, 78% of all international scholars focused their activities on STEM fields. 

upGrad GSP partners stand out in top producing institutions for students and scholars 

Simultaneously, the US Department of State announced 170 higher education institutions as Fulbright Top Producing Institutions for the 2023-2024 academic year. Fulbright students, recent graduates and early career professionals and scholars, faculty and established professionals play a crucial role in study-research exchanges and teaching initiatives internationally. 


The list, categorized into doctoral, masters, baccalaureate and special-focus four-year institutions, demonstrates the diversity of America’s higher education community. Two upGrad GSP partners, The University of Alabama and University of Massachusetts Amherst, are on the roster. Both institutions are known to have made significant contributions to academic excellence and global collaboration.  


In the Doctoral category, The University of Alabama boasts 6 scholar selectees and 14 student selectees. The University of Massachusetts Amherst is also a top producer with 13 scholar selectees and 7 students selectees. 

With the increased number of international US scholars and as the global academic community strives for increased collaboration, these partnerships exemplify the potential for meaningful international educational initiatives.  


To know more about the exciting opportunities available for international students at upGrad GSP’s partner institutions, please reach out to our North American team at

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