A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration attorney and counsel. Contact Info: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/ (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Who are Studying in the United States?

Despite the recent stringent immigration policy the world hears about the United States, America continues to a magnet for foreign students.   According to a recent study, there are about 1.18 million foreign students actively studying in the United States in May of 2017, representing a two-percent increase from the previous year.  

According to SEVP (The Student and Exchange Visitor Program), a system maintained by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), as of May 5, 2017, there are 1,184,735 active F and M visa students studying in the U.S. in 8,774 SEVP-Certified schools; and 194,635 J-1 exchange visitors in the U.S.

Most F and M students enroll in higher education system such as colleges and universities.  Of all students, 76% enroll in bachelor's (33%),  master's (31%) or doctoral programs (12%).  As far as gender is concerned, 57% of the international students are male.

International students come from more than 231 countries and territories of the world.  Asia still sent the largest number of students (77% or 915,612) to the U.S. but South America has the largest percentage growth.  

China and India sent the most students to the United States, i.e., 362,368 and 206,698 respectively. Nepal had the highest growth rate of 18% in the number of students while Saudi Arabia's number declined 19%.  

Business is the most popular field of study among international students: 18% of students study business, management, marketing or a related field.  STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) studies are also very popular, attracting more than 43% of students.   Specifically, 39% of STEM students study engineering, 28% study computer and information sciences; and 8% biological and biomedical sciences.   

STEM degrees are particularly popular among Asian students; 49% Asian students are pursuing a STEM degree in America.  There are 173,258 India students who are pursuing STEM degrees in the U.S., the largest in both numbers and proportion.  China takes the number two spot, sending 152,002 STEM students to America.  

International students can only attend SEVP-certified schools in the United States.  Although larger universities tend to have the largest  number of foreign students, 76% of SEVP schools enroll 50 students or less.  According the studies, fewer than 1% of SEVP-certified schools host more than 5,000 international students, and only 5% of the certified schools enroll more than 5% of students.  

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