Malaysian Student Enrollment in U.S. Increased By 8.3% to 7,834

Chargé d’Affaires Edgard Kagan in a group photo with educators and students at the commencement ceremony. (U.S. Embassy photo)

Press Release

The 2016 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange finds that 7,834 Malaysian students attended college or university in the United States during the 2015/16 academic year, an 8.3 percent increase over the previous year.  Malaysia is the 22nd leading country of origin among international students in the United States.

Since the 2007/8 academic year, the number of Malaysian students in the United States has increased steadily. The numbers remained relatively flat between 2011/12 and 2013/14 and then the growth rate increased to 6% in 2014/15 and to 8.3% in 2015/16.

Students from Malaysia in the United States study primarily at the undergraduate level, with 70 percent enrolled at the undergraduate level, 15 percent at the graduate level, and 13 percent in optional practical training.

“We are pleased that more and more Malaysians are choosing U.S. universities to further their education and build their career prospects,” said U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Edgard Kagan.  “The fact that student numbers are increasing despite the higher exchange rate demonstrates the immense value of a U.S. education.  Malaysians who study in the United States develop the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in today’s global economy.”

The number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities surpassed one million for the first time during the 2015-16 academic year—an increase of seven percent from the previous year to a new high of nearly 1,044,000 students.  This strong growth confirms that the United States remains the destination of choice in higher education.  The United States hosts more of the world’s 4.5 million globally mobile college and university students than any other country in the world. In 2015-16, there were nearly 69,000 more international students in U.S. higher education compared to the previous year.

While China remains by far the top country of origin of international students in the U.S., increasing by 8 percent to 328,547, India’s growth again outpaced China’s, with students from India increasing by 25 percent to a record high of 165,918. In 2015-16, China and India together accounted for 84 percent of the total increase in international students, and they now constitute nearly 47 percent of the total number of international students in U.S. higher education.

“The Open Doors findings show that international students value the quality, diversity and strong reputation of U.S. institutions and recognize that these institutions will give them opportunities that can help them not only in their education but also in their careers,” said IIE President Allan Goodman.

There are now 85 percent more international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities than were reported a decade ago, and this marks the tenth consecutive year that Open Doors reported expansion in the total number of international students in U.S. higher education. International students now constitute just over five percent of the more than 20 million students enrolled in U.S. higher education, up from around four percent in previous years.

For more data, infographics and resources on the 2016 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, visit Open-Doors

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Open Doors is published by the Institute of International Education, an independent not-for-profit organization with a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,400 member institutions. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations. IIE has conducted an annual statistical survey of the international students in the United States since its founding in 1919 and in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs since 1972. Open Doors also reports on the number of international scholars at U.S. universities; international students enrolled in pre-academic Intensive English Programs; and on U.S. students studying abroad. Further details on the Open Doors 2016 surveys and their findings is on the Open Doors website, and the full 100+ page report will be available in January and can be ordered from IIE Books.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State builds relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through academic, cultural, sports, professional and private sector exchanges, as well as public-private partnerships and mentoring programs. Approximately 50,000 participants annually embark on these exchange programs, including the flagship Fulbright Program and the International Visitor Leadership Program. ECA also sponsors the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarships for U.S. undergraduates with financial need, the Critical Language Scholarship Program in support of U.S. foreign language study abroad, and the EducationUSA network of over 400 advising centers worldwide, which provides information to students around the globe who wish to study in the United States. For more information on the Department of State’s educational and cultural exchange activities, visit or contact