Glimpsing International Student Numbers

International Students are Majority AsianWhile fewers schools in the United States are certified to host international students in 2016 than there were a year ago, the number of international students in the U.S. has increased over last year, according to a recent report put out by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

According to March 2016 numbers, nearly 1.2 million international students hold visas with F (academic) or M (vocational) status. The number is up by 6.2 percent over numbers from March 2015. At the same time, 8,687 schools in the United States were certified to enroll international students as of March 2016, which is a decrease of 3 percent from a year earlier.

The report, prepared by officials with the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), explores international student trends based on information provided by the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). SEVIS is a Web-based system that tracks information about international students, exchange visitors and their dependents while studying in the United States. An ICE release highlights significant findings from its “SEVIS by the Numbers” report.

Nearly 479,000 of the international students— around 40 percent– are enrolled in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) coursework. Of these, approximately 417,000 students hail from an Asian country, representing an increase of 17 percent over the same time a year ago.

According to the report, 75 percent of M-status students are male. Of the top 10 countries of origin that make up the M-status students, only Canadian students had a majority female representation at 51 percent. Male students from China represent 23 percent of the total M-status student population. Within the M-status population, 64 percent of students were majoring in transportation and materials moving, specifically air, ground and marine transportation.

Top countries represented among the international student population include: China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, Brazil and Mexico. The majority of international students– 77 percent– hail from an Asian country.

Of the U.S. schools attracting an international student population, New York University, the University of Southern California, Northeastern University, Columbia University and the University of Illinois make up the top five.