International Student enrollments in the USA are surging: crossing one million.

  • US foreign enrolment once again exceeds one million students.
  • Indian students are driving recovery as Chinese numbers decline.

In the USA, currently there are 1.08 million international students with active study visas according to new data from the Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). During the pandemic, international students’ numbers in the US dipped below the one-million student mark (as of fall 2020) for the first time since 2014. However, it has recovered this year to almost match pre-pandemic enrolments.
Overall, the number of F-1 visas issued to international students for the period May through August 2022 (282,000) is slightly higher than in the same months of 2021 (+2%) and 10% higher than in 2019, according to analysis of US Department of State data conducted by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The number of F-1 visas issued for study in the US in the key period of May through August 2017 to 2022. Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education/US Customs Student and Exchange Visitor Immigration Program
China has been top sender and the driver of enrolment growth in the US since long time. But, as we see in the table below, the number of Chinese students with active visas has declined from 368,800 in January 2020 to 262,992 as of January 2023 (a nearly -29% decrease). The number of Indian students, meanwhile, has surged from 194,556 to 253,631 over the same period for overall growth of just over 30%.

Regarding international student enrollment in the USA, Indian students mark 30.36% of growth while Saudi Arabia and Taiwan mark the growth of 7.25% and 21.6% respectively in this year comparing to previous years.
The trend of the surge in the number of Indian students is not unique to the US but same has experienced in UK and Canada also. In the UK, the number of Indian students increased from 55,465 in 2019/20 to 1,27000 in 2022 as per the official data. In Canada, Indian student numbers jumped 21% between 2020 and 2021 for a total of 217,410. Indian students alone make up 35% of Canada’s total international student population.

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