Back on Track: Int’l Student Enrollment in US Reaches Pre-Pandemic Levels in 2022

United States North America International Studies Higher Education News Statistics by Erudera News May 12, 2023

people in Boston, US

International student enrollment in the United States returned to pre-pandemic numbers last year, the latest report on international students by Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE), which uses data from the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), has revealed.

The “SEVIS by the Numbers” report disclosed data on F-1 and M-1 visa holders studying at US institutions, showing there were 1,362,157 active F-1 and M-1 students in the United States in 2022. That was an increase of 10.1 percent from 2021.

According to the report, of these students, nearly 90 percent were enrolled in the US higher education system, pursuing a SEVP-certified associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees, Erudera.com reports.

“Specifically, international students in the United States pursued 1,226,231 degrees in higher education, which is an increase from calendar year 2021 (+83,879). It is important to note that one student might partake in more than one level of education in a given calendar year, so they may be counted in multiple educational levels,” the report brings to light.

Int'l Student Enrollment in the US in 2022 (by Degree Type)

Asia led the pack by sending the highest number of students to the US. The top two Asian countries sending the most students last year were China and India.

However, the US experienced a drop in the number of Chinese students compared to a year earlier, with 24,796 fewer students. On the other hand, India witnessed a significant increase, sending an additional 64,300 students.

California welcomed the most international in 2022, a total of 225,173, the largest percentage of any US state (16.5 percent). Last year, each of the SEVP-certified schools enrolled over 15,000 international students, with the number of schools increasing by two.

Top 7 Countries of Origin of International Students in the US (2022)

The annual Open Doors report released by the Institute of International Education in November, 2022, also showed a four percent increase in international students in the US during the 2021/22 academic year despite the challenges triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In total, 948,000 students from over 200 countries enrolled at US higher education institutions in 2021/22, a significant recovery from the previous academic year when the number of students declined due to the pandemic.

The sector witnessed a surge in new students, recording a significant 80 percent year-over-year increase in individuals enrolling at universities and colleges for the first time. Figures revealed that 261,961 students started university for the first time in the US in 2021/22, compared to 145,528 in the prior year.

Open Doors report, among other things, highlighted the contribution of international students to the US economy, reaching $33.8 billion, an increase of over $10 billion compared to the previous year.

Europe remains a crucial source of international students in the United States. Among European countries, the United Kingdom has the lead by sending 10,292 students in 2021/22, closely followed by Germany with 8,550 students.

Besides the abovementioned, Turkey made its mark by sending 8,467 students, and Spain, France, and Italy with 8,165, 7,751, and 5,695 students, respectively. Thousands of students from Russia prioritized US higher education as well.

>> 13% Drop in Asian Students in US in Two Years

Image source: Elijah Mears | Unsplash

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