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Number of International Students in US Colleges at All-Time High, and California Is Top Destination

USC enrolls more international students than any other school in the state. (Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

It may come as no shock to those who live here, but more international students choose to study in California than in any other state.

A record high of more than 1 million foreign students came to America for higher education last school year. Four of the top 20 institutions that welcomed them were in the Golden State, according to a new report this month.

USC hosted 13,340 international students, followed by UCLA with 11,513 students. Three other University of California campuses — San Diego, Berkeley and Irvine — also topped the list of California schools. The number of foreign students in California was 10.5 percent higher than the previous academic year. USC had the second largest number of international students in the country.

“California has such a huge higher education network,” said Peggy Blumenthal, a senior counselor at the Institute of International Education, which works with the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to produce the annual Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. “There are not only very strong public universities, but also private universities. USC, as long as I can remember, has always been either the number one or number two host campus in the country.”