New data reports have been released by Lehigh University's Office of International Affairs, as well as the national Open Doors 2023 Report
International student enrollment nationwide has returned to almost pre-pandemic levels, with more than 1 million enrolled in U.S. institutions, according to the Open Doors 2023 Report on International Educational Exchange, released this week by the U.S. State Department and the Institute of International Education.
The report, released each year during International Education Week, comes as Lehigh University’s Office of International Affairs (OIA) has released its own data reports about international students & scholars, education abroad, and fellowship advising at Lehigh.
Visit global.lehigh.edu/datareports2023 to view or download each of the three Lehigh reports. They were released as Lehigh celebrates International Education Week, an annual initiative held from Nov. 13-18, celebrating the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide.
International Students & Scholars
A total of 1,003 international students from 82 countries enrolled at Lehigh during the 2023-24 academic year, including 578 graduate students and 425 undergraduate students, according to the report prepared by Lehigh’s Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS).
“In the last academic year, Lehigh's international students contributed $57.6 million to the local economy, supporting 673 jobs,” said Cheryl Matherly, Vice President and Vice Provost for International Affairs at Lehigh’s Office of International Affairs. “Lehigh University’s international community is easily one of the biggest contributors to the Lehigh Valley economy and community.”
Lehigh’s international enrollment is up from 959 students last year, and only slightly below pre-COVID levels of 1,059 students in 2019, according to OISS. Additionally, 160 scholars from 38 countries enrolled at Lehigh this academic year.
China and India were the leading countries of origin for international students across the nation in 2023-24, according to the Open Doors report, accounting for 53% of total enrollment. They were followed by South Korea, Canada, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Nigeria.
Those were also the leading countries of origin among international graduate student enrollment at Lehigh this academic year, with 268 from China and 69 from India, respectively. They were followed by Iran (42), Nigeria (26), and Turkey (15), according to OISS.
For Lehigh’s undergraduate enrollment, China again led with 227 students, followed by Vietnam (28), India (16), Ghana (10), and Brazil (8). This year marked the first time Ghana had been among the top 25 countries of origin for international students in the United States, according to the Open Doors report.
The Open Doors report also provided information about students participating in study abroad programs. Lehigh’s OIA offers a large variety of education abroad experiences, including study abroad, the Global Citizenship Program, and the Iacocca International Internship Program.
Lehigh had 759 study abroad experiences in 40 counties for the 2022-23 academic year, according to Lehigh’s Study Abroad report. More than 300 programs were offered that year, and 31% of education abroad experiences included hands-on work.
Significantly, Lehigh ranked #27 among doctoral universities in terms of the total number of students participating in study abroad, according to the Open Doors report.
“That is extremely impressive, placing us in immediate company of institutions like Northeastern and NYU,” said Katie Radande, Director of Study Abroad at Lehigh. “This points to the huge rebound that we have seen with students seeking abroad experiences.”
Both nationally and at Lehigh, the top three destinations for study abroad experiences were Italy, the United Kingdom, and Spain. More Lehigh students opt for longer term options abroad compared to national trends, with 52% of Lehigh study abroad students doing so for a full semester, compared to 30% nationwide.
Nationally, 32% of students who study abroad are from underrepresented groups, according to the Open Doors report. Excluding international students, 33% of students participating in Lehigh's abroad programs were from underrepresented groups, while 18% are first-generation, and 19% are Pell Grant-eligible.
Lehigh’s Office of Fellowship Advising (OFA) works with university students, faculty, staff, and alumni to prepare nationally competitive scholarship and fellowship applications. A total of 153 students, faculty, and alumni have won such scholarships since Spring 2017, and about $1 million in awards have been received, according to Lehigh’s new report.
Additionally, 76 Pell Grant recipients have won a total of more than $300,000 in Gilman scholarships with OFA’s support, according to the report. The Gilman Scholarship Program supports study abroad opportunities to undergraduate students who might not otherwise participate due to financial constraints.
OFA has also helped support 16 winners of scholarships through the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduate Students program, which provides research opportunities for undergraduate students at various sites across the country, according to Lehigh’s report.
Open Doors is a comprehensive information resource on international students and scholars studying or teaching at higher education institutions in the United States, and U.S. students studying abroad for academic credit at their home colleges or universities.