December 10, 2023

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International Student Numbers Reach Pre-Pandemic Level in 2022

2 min read

The number of international students in the U.S. increased substantially from 2021 to 2022, according to a new report on international student trends.

Each year, Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) releases a “SEVIS by the Numbers” report, which explores data and trends specifically on F-1 and M-1 visa holders studying in the U.S. The report uses data from the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) to compare differences in the international student landscape between 2021 and 2022.

In 2022, SEVIS records show that there were 1,362,157 active F-1 and M-1 students living in the U.S., an increase of 10.1% from the previous year, and a clear sign that international student enrollment is bouncing back to pre-pandemic levels. The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted international student numbers for several years, but 2022 brought the largest number of enrollments since 2019.

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Other notable trends from the report included where international students originate from and the areas of the U.S. they choose to settle in for their studies. International students took part in a variety of degrees and programs across the country, with all four regions in the U.S. experiencing an increase in international student enrollment from 2021 to 2022. Overall, California was home to more international students than any other state.

In 2022, international students enrolled in U.S. schools hailed from 227 different countries. Asia was the most popular continent of origin, accounting for more than 70% of the total international student population in the U.S. By country, most students came from China and India.

Despite international student numbers on the rise overall, Chinese enrollment in U.S. schools decreased in 2022. China sent fewer students to U.S. schools in 2022 compared to 2021, highlighting a recent trend of Chinese students looking elsewhere to reach their education goals. Various roadblocks in recent years such as visa delays, unfriendly immigration policies, and growing global competition have redirected prospective Chinese students to opportunities in other countries. Universities in Canada, Singapore, and the U.K. have all seen an increase in Chinese students over the past several years, when compared to the U.S.

To learn more about how international student trends have changed over time, check out Boundless’ data report.


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