American universities and colleges enrolled 350,000 more international students in 2014/15 as compared to 2007/08, indicating strong attractiveness of U.S. higher education institutions among globally mobile students. During the period of seven years since the beginning of the global financial recession, the number of international students in the U.S. increased by 56% to reach nearly 975,000 students. However, the international student enrollment at ten leading public research universities has grown much faster, at a rate of 74% ,reaching nearly 90,000 international students in the same period.

The Big Ten Academic Alliance (known as The Committee on Institutional Cooperation until recently), a consortium of 14 universities had a combined research expenditure of nearly U.S. $10 billion and enrolled 586,639 students in 2014. These are large, highly-ranked research universities. Only one is a private university–Northwestern University. Three of the members are more recent entrants–University of Maryland, Rutgers University and University of Nebraska.

Public universities colleges must invest in supporting international student integration and inclusion to make enrollment sustainable and students successful

Click here to access the interactive data on how enrollment, tuition, and revenue at Big Ten Public universities has changed in seven years between 2007/08 and 2014/15.

Of the original ten public universities, The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, not only enrolled the highest number of international students (over 11,000) but also witnessed a higher growth than average with a rate of 89% as compared to 74% for the Big Ten. The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, experienced a much slower growth rate at 29% compared to the national average of 56%.

At public Big Ten universities, undergraduate, non-resident tuition is almost two and a half times the comparable resident tuition fee. Given the high rankings and extensive history, these universities have a strong brand recognition among international students. At the same time, budgetary and financial pressures are a reality among many public institutions. So, post-recession, Big Ten universities have not only increased non-resident tuition but also total enrollment of international students.

Between 2007/08 and 2014/15, average non-resident tuition at Big Ten increased by 29% with Indiana University, Bloomington increasing the highest at 49% and The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, declining by 2%. The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, is the most expensive of ten institutions with a non-resident tuition of over U.S. $41,000 in 2014/15 while The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, is half that tuition.