Brain drain and students abroad for Higher Education in Iran

Iran tops the world countries in the brain drain phenomenon. In 2002, the CIA estimated that 77% of Iran's population aged 15 and over can read and write. By 2008, the adult literacy rate had reached 80.6%. A significant majority of this population is at or approaching collegiate levels. Of this population, nearly 150,000 are estimated to exit Iran every year.

According to the Iranian government, in 2013, 12,000 foreign students were studying at Iranian universities while 55,686 Iranian students were studying abroad. Out of this number, 8,883 students were studying in Malaysia, 7,341 in the United States, 5,638 in Canada, 3,504 in Germany, 3,364 in Turkey, 3,228 in Britain, and the rest in other countries. But according to a newer estimate by the Minister of education, between 350 and 500 thousand Iranians were studying outside of the country in 2014.The difference remains unexplained. As of 2015, 42% of recent/young graduates were unemployed.