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2012 Statistical Report

Analyzing international student enrollments at MSU

  • The 6,599 international students in fall 2012 is an increase of 12% over the total from a year ago. Undergraduates continue to top graduate students: 3,950 compared to 2,179 graduate students.

  • The trend of rising numbers of undergraduates from China is at the heart of these figures.There are a number of reasons for this growth including China's growing middle class, insufficient higher education capacity to meet the country's needs and the liberalized U.S. visa policies. Other countries with increased enrollment include Saudi Arabia, Canada, Brazil, Dominican Republic and Iran.

  • In contrast to the growth of Chinese student enrollments has been the decline in the number of students from South Korea, Mexico, Malaysia, Japan, Thailand and Kenya.

  • Countries with solid, but comparatively flat, enrollments from a year ago include India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Germany and Colombia.

  • The Colleges of Business (2,111), Engineering (1,018), Natural Science (714), Social Science (681), and Agriculture and Natural Resources (544) currently enroll the largest numbers of international students at MSU in fall 2012.

  • Another area of strength is the rise in the number of sponsored students. There are nearly 578 international students at MSU who are sponsored by their governments, the U.S. government, or other organizations. This is a reflection of MSU's strong reputation abroad and the professional services that MSU provides to meet the unique needs of sponsored students.

  • According to NAFSA's (Association of International Educators) estimated economic impact formula (, MSU's international students contribute an estimated $213 million to the local East Lansing economy.

International student reports:

Stats Summary Brochure:

(PDF)* (/../documents/statsreport/statssum12.pdf)


Data provided by Michigan State University's Office of the Registrar and the Institute of International Education's Open Doors Report.

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