Open Doors Report Shows More Sri Lankan Students Studying in the United States

The number of Sri Lankan students studying at U.S. colleges and universities rose to 3080 students, an increase of 6.9 percent compared to the 2014-2015 academic year, according to the latest 2016 Open Doors Report.

In total, the number of international students in U.S. colleges and universities surpassed one million for the first time during the 2015-16 academic year to a new high of nearly 1,044,000.  This strong growth confirms the United States remains the destination of choice in higher education.

“International education helps people develop the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in today’s global economy, and creates networks across borders that improve international understanding and strengthen the national security of the United States,” said Robert Hilton, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy to Sri Lanka and Maldives.

The Embassy of the United States to Sri Lanka has stressed a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum as essential for Sri Lankan students at home and abroad to facilitate the country’s development.  Fifty percent of Sri Lankan students studying in the United States are pursuing graduate degrees up to the doctoral level, while 16 percent are engaged in post-degree Optional Practical Training, which allows international graduate students in the STEM fields to engage in professional training for up to 29 months following graduation.

The U.S. Embassy, in cooperation with the U.S.-Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission, is hosting a number of events in honor of International Education Week (IEW), culminating with a free education outreach fair on November 19 from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. at the Longdon Room in the Taj Samudra for parents and students interested in opportunities to study in the United States.


There are now 85 percent more international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities than were reported a decade ago, and this marks the tenth consecutive year that Open Doors reported expansion in the total number of international students in U.S. higher education.  International students now constitute just over five percent of the more than 20 million students enrolled in U.S. higher education, up from around four percent in previous years.

The Open Doors® report is published annually by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.  The release of this new data marks the celebration of IEW November 14-18, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from other countries to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.

For more data, infographics and resources on the 2016 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, visit