Comparative Indicators of Education in the United States and Other G-8 Countries, 2011

Comparative Indicators of Education in the United States and Other G-8 Countries, 2011

Comparative Indicators of Education in the United States and Other G-8 Countries, 2011

Comparative Indicators of Education in the United States and Other G-8 Countries, 2011

Excerpt

G-8 Countries Included: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States

Among the G-8 countries, the United States had the most
foreign students (in absolute numbers) enrolled in higher
education in 2008, but foreign students made up a larger
percentage of enrollment in higher education in the United
Kingdom, Canada, France, and Germany .

Over the past 35 years, the number of foreign students (i.e., students enrolled outside their country of citizenship) in higher education has more than quadrupled: from 0.6 million worldwide in 1975 to 3.3 million in 2008 (OECD 2010a). In 2008, G-8 countries (as countries of destination) hosted 59 percent of all foreign students in higher education (figure 4-1). Among G-8 countries, the United States received the largest percentage of foreign students (19 percent), followed by the United Kingdom (10 percent). The other G-8 countries each took in between 2 and 7 percent of all foreign students enrolled in higher education.

In terms of the percentage of a country’s students enrolled in higher education who are foreign students, foreign students made up a larger percentage of enrollments in higher education in the United Kingdom (20 percent), Canada (13 percent), France (11 percent), and Germany (11 percent) than in the United States (3 percent) (figure 4-2). In the Russian Federation, foreign students made up 1 percent of the total enrollment in higher education, lower than in all other G-8 countries.

Across the G-8 countries, foreign students made up a larger percentage of enrollments in academic higher education at the doctoral level than at the pre-doctoral level. At the pre-doctoral level of academic higher education, foreign students made up the largest percentage of enrollment in the United Kingdom, at 21 percent. At the doctoral level of academic higher education, foreign students made up more than 25 percent of the enrollment in four out of the six G-8 countries reporting data: the United Kingdom (48 percent), France (40 percent), Canada (39 percent), and the United States (28 percent).

Definitions and Methodology

Foreign students are defined as noncitizens enrolled in education programs in a host country, and thus some permanent residents are included. International students are defined as students who enrolled in institutions in other countries, and thus do not include permanent residents. As shown in the figures, education levels are defined according to the 1997 International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED97). For more information on the ISCED97 levels, see appendix A.

Unlike the other G-8 countries, the United States did not specifically report the percentage of higher education enrollment consisting of foreign students. It instead reported the percentage of higher education enrollment consisting of international students. International students are defined as students who have crossed borders expressly with the intention to study, and thus do not include permanent residents. This measure, then, is a somewhat underestimated proxy for the number of foreign students.

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