Most US International Students Are From Asia

Jul 24, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

A new report from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, part of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations shows that 77 percent of the US’s international student populations hails from Asia.

Where do the students come from?  Predominantly China and India.  This year, China sent 362,368 students and India sent 206,698 students to the US for higher education. 

What do they study?  A variety of subjects.  The report documented 514,000 international students pursuing STEM degrees in May 2017, an 8 percent increase from last year.  39 percent are studying for engineering degrees.  84 percent of Indian students in the US studied STEM.

Where do they study?  The international student population overall experienced a 4 percent increase in the Northeast, with the exception of Rhode Island.  The largest numbers of students went to New York and Massachusetts. 

In the South, the international student population grew by 3 percent, with the exceptions of Louisiana, Tennessee, and Oklahoma.  Maryland saw a 10 percent increase in the number of international students pursuing a bachelor’s degree.

In the Midwest, the population of international students increased minimally, at 1 percent.  In the West, the numbers were static. 

Based on the data, the international student population rose by 2 percent in May.

Continentally, South America saw the biggest jump from May 2016 to May 2017, with a 6.5 percent increase in international students studying in the US.

Learn more about studying in the US


Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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