Over one million overseas students in USA

Study Travel Magazine - 15 May, 2014


There are currently over one million international students studying in the USA, according to quarterly data recently released by the country’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), a two per cent increase over the previous quarter.

An overview of which students are studying on STEM and other courses

The quarterly report for April 2014, compiled using data from the Student and Exchange Visitor Information Service (Sevis), revealed there are currently 1,015,178 students on either F-1 or M-1 visas, an increase over the 991,957 students recorded in the January release. There are an additional 188,382 international students presently in the USA on the J-1 Exchange visa scheme.

Asia is by far the largest source continent, accounting for 762,198 students, an increase of three per cent over the last quarter and 75 per cent of the current total. South America and Africa both recorded increases of four per cent, while the number of students from Europe and North America declined slightly.

China alone provides 290,133 students – 29 per cent the current total – and increased by one per cent over the last quarter. The largest quarterly increases were recorded by second-placed India (up eight per cent) and fourth-placed Saudi Arabia (10 per cent). Korea remains the third largest source market, while Canada completes the top five.

The quarterly SEVP data showed a gender imbalance as 56 per cent of international students are male. The tendency was most prominent in Western Asian markets, from which over 75 per cent of students are male, while at the other end of the spectrum almost 60 per cent of Eastern European students are female.

In terms of states, California currently hosts the largest share of international students with 169,534, while New York has 117,149. The top three states – completed by Texas – account for 35 per cent of all international students; the University of Southern California is the largest host institution with 10,635 students.

The April report records 8,930 SEVP-certified schools approved to accept international students, a 0.84 increase over the previous quarter. Of these schools, 77 per cent currently host between 0 and 50 international students.

Among F-1 and M-1 visa holders, 335,609 students are studying for Bachelor’s degrees, followed by 265,210 on Master’s programmes, 129,396 are at doctorate level and 99,165 are in language training. The most popular subject area is Business, Management and Marketing.

The SEVP also highlights the number of international students in the STEM subjects, and revealed that these fields account for 351,397 students – 35 per cent of the total. Of these, 85 per cent are from Asia, 67 per cent are male, and 150,640 are on engineering programmes. STEM subjects are most popular with students from India, with 78 per cent of students from this market studying in these fields.