New Reports Show Rapid Growth of International Students in USBy Joy Liwanag
In the realm of international education, the United States stands as a beacon, attracting over a million students during the 2022-2023 academic year. According to the latest Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, this marks a remarkable 12% increase from the previous year, showcasing the fastest growth rate in more than four decades.
A Surge in Enrollment
The surge in new international student enrollment is equally impressive, with a 14% increase during the 2022-2023 academic year, building on an 80% increase from the previous year. The report, jointly released by the Institute of International Education and the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, paints a picture of the U.S. as an undisputed global leader in higher education.
Lee Satterfield, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, emphasizes the diverse educational landscape the U.S. offers. "Students from around the world are continuing to recognize the United States' global leadership in higher education, ranging from two-year community colleges to four-year universities and beyond," says Satterfield. "There's something for everyone - whether learning a trade or pursuing a degree in technology."
Mirka Martel, IIE's Head of Research, Evaluation, and Learning, notes that the 2022-2023 enrollment of 298,523 new international students surpassed pre-pandemic levels, reaching a nearly record-breaking figure close to the peak in the 2015-2016 academic year.
The surge in enrollment isn't confined to specific degree levels or fields of study. For the first time since the 2014-2015 academic year, enrollment has risen across all degree levels and fields of study, with a notable concentration in graduate programs, witnessing a remarkable 21% increase.
A Record Number of Students from India
International students are choosing colleges and universities across all U.S. states and territories, with 48 states reporting an increase in international students. Notably, the 2022-2023 academic year recorded a 35% increase in students from India, reaching an impressive 268,923.
According to Adarsh Khandelwal, a college counselor based in New Delhi, the U.S. stands out due to American institutions' proactive engagement. "Their responsive approach and active presence make the U.S. a distinctive leader," he notes. The allure for Indian students lies in the U.S.'s top-tier universities and cutting-edge research opportunities.
Karan Gupta, head of Karan Gupta Consulting in Mumbai, emphasizes the appeal of fields such as engineering, computer science, and business. Additionally, the U.S. job market, especially in tech and business sectors, remains a significant draw for Indian students.India holds the position as the second-largest sender of students to the U.S., following China. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that the U.S. job market, especially in technology and business sectors, remains highly attractive to Indian students.
Growth Among Students from Sub-Saharan Africa
While India takes a significant share, Sub-Saharan Africa has witnessed a remarkable 18% growth in U.S. enrollment, marking the highest growth rate among world regions. Ghana, with over 6,000 students in U.S. institutions in the 2022-2023 academic year, joined the list of top 25 countries sending the most students.
Martel highlights the substantial growth seen across various African countries, with Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, and South Africa showing robust increases. The U.S. government's efforts to foster connections between U.S. universities and African students contribute to this positive trend.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a dip in international student numbers, has been overcome. Martel mentions that 95% of international students in 2022-2023 were physically studying on U.S. campuses, indicating a strong preference among international students to travel for their U.S. education.
The academic year 2022-2023 witnessed the most popular fields of study for international students in the U.S., including math and computer science, engineering, business and management, social sciences, and physical and life sciences.
Looking ahead, experts anticipate a continuation of the growth trend, with an 8% increase in international students taking courses or participating in work-training programs compared to the previous year. The U.S. education system's resilience, adaptability, and global appeal position it as a premier destination for international students seeking a transformative educational experience.
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