The results are in for this past academic year and South Koreans were the third most populous group of international students in the US, following China and India respectively. Interestingly, if you look back at the data, you’ll notice that South Korean students have had consistent enrollments with limited growth, staying around 72,000 for years.

Why you might ask?

It all comes down to finances. Many South Korean students are enrolling in undergraduate programs where their families are footing the bill. Because of this, many students are feeling the economic swings and are finding that it’s hard to keep up with the expense. That combined with the rising cost of a college education is disproportionately affecting South Korean enrollments.

It should come as no surprise that California (located as it on the extreme west coast of the United States) is the destination of choice for South Korean international students and expatriates alike. The state’s reputation for educational excellence – possessing as it does such heavyweights as Stanford, Berkeley, and the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) – combined with the simple fact that it is home to seven of the ten most Korean-dense cities in the country, provides Korean students an ideal opportunity to get a taste of home while studying abroad.

Unfortunately, because of the intersection of these two factors, South Korean students will face on average higher tuition and fees than the average international student studying in the US. Indeed, while the average cost of out-of-state tuition is $20,770 nationwide, it is $36,700 is California. While these figures are not the highest in the nation – that distinction goes to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor at $37,265– according to data from The College Board they are close and do represent the latest in an ongoing trend that has seen even in-state tuition and fees in California rise by fully 104% in the last five years.

Still, it is not all doom and gloom. California colleges and universities rightly deserve their reputation for excellent and, moreover, South Korean student loans for the US are just an easy online application away no matter where international students are studying in the USA. Thus, even if geography is, as they say, destiny, such loans can make the cost of higher education easier to bear.