“We happily share the statistics contained in this report for informational purposes, but we want to emphasize that the international education efforts on campus go far beyond impressive attendance numbers,” said the Director of ISSS Martin McFarlane. “The university has spent over a century at the forefront of this field, and ISSS continues that work by not only being the primary point of contact for all matters related to immigration status at the university, but also by being advocates for our international population and providing social and educational programming throughout the year.”
Champaign, Ill.— More than 11,000 international students are enrolled at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign this fall, making it the highest international enrollment since fall 2017.
These new numbers reported by International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) is referenced in this semester’s International Statistics Book that was released December 2022.
To be exact, the overall international fall enrollment is 11,548, which topped the previous record of 10,826 students in 2017.
Within this number, the university is seeing all-time highs from two international student demographics—India and Africa.
There are 2,395 students enrolled from India, making up 21 percent of the overall enrollment, and there are 231 students enrolled from the continent of Africa, making up 2 percent of the enrollment.
Additionally, 105 students are from Nigeria, which is the first time an African country has had more than 100 students enrolled in a single semester.
International student enrollment numbers have been on a steady incline since 2020. That was when the university saw a sharp dip, a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. To put this semester’s increase in perspective, in 2019 the overall international enrollment was 10,610. That number dropped in 2020 to 7,674. Following the pandemic, in 2021 international enrollment climbed to 9,841 students.
This year, the university is seeing close to two thousand more students compared to last year.
Martin McFarlane, the director of ISSS, said in recent years the university has drawn attention to the impact the global pandemic had on enrollment numbers and on international education around the globe.
“This year, we are seeing numbers not just return to pre-pandemic levels but in many categories, exceeding them,” McFarlane wrote in his “Letter from the Director” that is featured in the stats book.
Overall, he said international students represent 126 countries, with 87 percent of students coming from Asia. This is a minor percentage decrease on previous years, according to McFarlane.
The top five countries of origin remain the same as last year—China with 5,464 students, India with 2,395 students, South Korea with 899, Taiwan with 463, and Indonesia 122 students.
Although overall international student enrollment has increased, the number of international faculty and staff on campus has decreased, making it the lowest number since ISSS started tracking scholar numbers in 2005. McFarlane said this is also the effect of the global pandemic.
Thirty-three percent of international scholars are working and researching in Engineering, followed by 25 percent in Liberal Arts and Sciences.
The most represented country for scholars was again China, with 289 faculty and staff, followed by India (182), South Korea (107), and Brazil (81).
*Editor’s note: the ISSS stats book captures Fall 2022 numbers. Open Doors, which was also recently reported on, reflects the previous year’s numbers.
Analicia Haynes is the storyteller and social media specialist for Illinois International. She can be reached at 217.333.6104 or firstname.lastname@example.org.