America’s reputation around the world may wax and wane as its foreign policies and leaders change, but its colleges seem only to grow in global luster and appeal. Foreign students contributed $24 billion to the U.S. economy during the 2012-2013 school year, 12% more than the previous year, according to trade group NAFSA, the Association of International Educators.
University of Southern California
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Location: Los Angeles, Calif. Number of international students: 9,840
Proximity to Hollywood and the California sunshine certainly don't hurt. USC, where 72% of its foreign population is graduate students (most in the engineering school), has led this list for 12 straight years. As a state, California attracts more international students than any other.
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
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Location:Urbana Champaign, Ill. Number of international students: 9,804
The most-highly ranked public university on the list, U of I may not score points for its brutal winters, but it wins international students nonetheless, in part because of its well-regarded computer science and engineering programs.
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Location: West Lafayette, Ind. Number of international students: 9,509
Twenty-four percent of Boilermakers hailed from overseas last year, including 4,974 undergraduates (the largest international undergraduate population in the U.S.). The university, best known for producing top-notch engineers, hosts students from 126 countries.
New York University
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Location: New York, N.Y. Number of international students: 9,362
NYU, which has campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai (and 11 other academic centers around the world), brands itself as a global university. Big city appeal, strong academic reputation, and celebrity alums have all helped lure students from 133 countries to its Manhattan campus.