More than one-third of the million-plus international students in the U.S. are from China: For the first time in decades, the number of international students studying in the United States—a lucrative market to a number of U.S. destinations—has declined.
The just-released annual Open Doors Report, which is a census produced by the Institute of International Education (IIE) of students who attended U.S. universities and colleges in the most recent school year declined from 1.095 million in the 2018-19 school year to 1.075 million in the 2019- 20. This represents a decline of 1.8 percent.
The report, which is supported by the U.S. State Department, also showed that, once again, China and India together generated more than half of the total number of international students in the U.S.
New Enrollments Drop Substantially: While the annual numbers are not that great, a statement accompanying the release of this year’s Open Doors Report last week in Washington, D.C. noted that the new enrollments of international students so far this school year, or semester, are off by 43 percent because of COVID-19 and global pandemic it has caused. Nearly 40,000 students (mostly incoming freshmen) have deferred enrollment of U.S. institutions to a future term.
Also, said IIE, of the more than 1 million enrolled international students in the U.S., 20 percent have opted for online learning this semester due to COVID-19-related shutdowns. Some international students have returned to their home countries, while others are living off-campus or under strict regulations on campus.
Economic Impact: IIE indicated that tuition and fees can mount to $70,000 a year for an undergraduate degree in the U.S. and that 56 percent of international students pay out-of-pocket for their U.S. education. Also, visits to and from the campus by family members help to make students from abroad a significant market for those destinations that are home to U.S. colleges and universities attended by the students.
To give one an idea of the size of the student market, consider the case of China. It sent 372,532 students to the United States in 2019-20 school year. This is slightly behind the 384,000 visitors sent to the U.S. by Chile which ranks No. 23 among overseas country markets for U.S. inbound tourism.
Key findings of the IIE Open Doors Report are contained in the tables below. For additional information, visit www.opendoorsdata.org.