There were 15,278 international students enrolled at Connecticut collegiate institutions during the 2017-18 academic year, which represents an increase of 4 percent over the previous year and a 63 percent increase since 2012. In academic year 2017-18, Connecticut ranked second in New England and 24th in the U.S. in international student enrollment, according to the 2018 Open Doors report released by the nonprofit Institute of International Education (IIE) and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).
Between AY 2012-13 and AY 2017-18, Yale University and the University of Connecticut took the top spots as the universities with the largest share of international students in Connecticut.
International students represent a big economic injection for New England, the report points out. In academic year 2017-18, international students contributed $39.4 billion to the overall U.S. economy, with $4.2 billion added to the New England economy alone. Between 2012 and 2018, international students contributed a total of $21.3 billion to the New England economy. Foreign students contributed an estimated $584 million to Connecticut’s economy in the past year, according to the report, which was highlighted recently by the New England Board of Higher Education.
The number of international students in New England has increased every year since 2012 and the region’s growth on this measure now outpaces the nation. In the 2017-18 academic year, the region enrolled 6.3 percent more international students than the previous academic year (AY). This figure compares to a national increase of only 1.5 percent during the same period.
Both public and private nonprofit institutions in New England saw a 61 percent rise in the number of foreign students over a five-year period from AY 2012-13 to AY 2017-18, which is comparable to the national growth in the international student population over the same period.
International students have helped forestall a nationwide enrollment crisis. The total higher education population in the U.S. topped out in 2010 at about 21 million students and has been slowly declining since then. The decline in New England is especially acute. This has been countered to some extent by growth of the foreign student population, coupled with a rise in online enrollment, which together comprise almost a quarter of the nation’s students.
The data indicates that there were 9,350 international students enrolled in Connecticut colleges and universities in 2012; 14,711 in 2017 and 15,278 in 2018. The number of international students increased from 2017 to 2018 in every New England state with the exception of New Hampshire, which saw a slight decrease. Only Massachusetts has more international students than Connecticut, among the six New England states.