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SFSU ranked No. 2 nationwide among master's institutions for int'l students



Matt Itelson
SFSU Office of Public Affairs
(415) 338-1743
(415) 338-1665


Press Release published by the Office of Public Affairs


Increase in number of students slows due to tightened visa regulations, reflecting national trend

SAN FRANCISCO, November 6, 2003 -- San Francisco State University remains an increasingly hot destination for students from more than 100 countries across the globe, despite the tightened regulations for obtaining student visas established after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Figures released Monday by the Institute of International Education illustrate that SFSU has more international students than any other master's degree-granting institution in the United States except City University of New York-Baruch College, according to 2002-03 figures. It is the third consecutive year that SFSU is ranked No. 2.

The number of matriculated international students at SFSU increased by 1.6 percent over last fall to reach 2,267. The University's international student population has grown for eight consecutive years and more than doubled since 1994.

The 1.6 percent increase, however, is SFSU's smallest in years, as the international student population jumped by more than 10 percent as recently as 2000-2001. The smaller increase reflects a national trend as reported in the Institute of International Education report, which states an overall increase of less than 1 percent at colleges and universities nationwide in 2002-03.

Yenbo Wu, SFSU director of international programs, attributes the smaller increase at SFSU to the new regulations and delays in obtaining student visas. This has caused many students to not receive their visas in time to enter an American college or university this fall. As a result, more foreign students are seeking to study abroad in other English speaking countries such as England or Australia.

"I have no doubt in my mind that the measures taken by the U.S. government to fight terrorism have affected international student enrollment negatively," Wu said. "More international students are finding San Francisco State to be a welcoming, wonderful university in a wonderful city. We hope to continue to accommodate as many of them as possible."

A welcome reception for international students will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 17, in the Vista Room, located on the fourth floor of Burk Hall on the SFSU campus, as part of the University's celebration of International Education Week. SFSU President Robert A. Corrigan and the SFSU Office of International Programs will host the reception. Reporters are welcome to attend the reception, which is expected to draw a large crowd of international students.

SFSU international students represent 114 countries of origin. The University remains a top destination for students from Asian countries. This fall they comprise 72.9 percent of the University's international student body. Japan still tops the list with 464 students, as it has since SFSU began tracking countries of origin in 1994. The other top countries of origin are Taiwan (282 students), South Korea (156), mainland China (146), Indonesia (133) and India (112).

Several countries showed significant increases over last fall. Germany increased by 34.4 percent with 32 students. Vietnam showed a 31.6 percent increase with 38 students. France increased by 31.4 percent with 35 students.

Business administration remains the most popular field of study (365 students), followed by computer science (181), international business (107), and business computer information systems (89).

Of the 2,267 matriculated international students, 899 are graduate students. For some countries, graduate students significantly outnumber undergraduates. For example, there are 91 graduate students from India, compared to 21 undergraduates. There are 59 graduate students from Thailand, compared to 18 undergraduates.

Matriculated students do not include those enrolled through SFSU's College of Extended Learning or American Language Institute, as well as some other short-term visitors, students and scholars.

For detailed nationwide data on international students, visit the Institute of International Education's Web site at:

For more information on SFSU international programs, call (415) 338-1293 or visit:

One of the largest campuses in the CSU system, SFSU was founded in 1899 and today is a highly diverse, comprehensive, public and urban university.


NOTE: Yenbo Wu, SFSU director of international programs, may be contacted directly at (415) 338-6377 or To schedule interviews with SFSU international students, contact Matt Itelson of the SFSU Office of Public Affairs at (415) 338-1743 or Reporters may also interview students at the welcome reception from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 17, in the Vista Room (fourth floor of Burk Hall) on the SFSU campus, located at 1600 Holloway Ave. (at 19th Avenue) in San Francisco.

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Last modified April 20, 2007, by the Office of Public Affairs