International Student Numbers Surge Across United States

by | Dec 1, 2023 | Firm News, Immigration Explained

The United States maintains its status as the preferred destination for international students pursuing higher education, hosting over a million students during the 2022-2023 academic year, as reported in the latest Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange.

This figure reflects an impressive nearly 12% increase from the previous year, marking the fastest growth rate in over four decades. The 2023 report, released by the Institute of International Education and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, notes a 14% surge in new international student enrollment for the same period, building on an 80% increase from the previous year.

Lee Satterfield, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, highlights global acknowledgment of the United States’ leadership in higher education across diverse institutions. With almost 4,000 accredited higher education institutions throughout the country, the U.S. government and educational institutions express eagerness to welcome international students, offering a range of options from trade education to advanced degrees in technology.

Mirka Martel, Head of Research, Evaluation, and Learning at IIE, reveals that the enrollment of 298,523 new international students surpassed pre-pandemic levels, nearly reaching the record high observed in the 2015-2016 academic year. Significantly, enrollment increased across all degree levels and fields of study, particularly concentrated in a 21% rise in graduate programs.

International students continue to choose colleges and universities across all U.S. states and territories, with 48 states reporting an uptick in international student numbers. Notably, the 2022-2023 academic year witnessed a remarkable 35% increase in students from India, totaling 268,923.

Karan Gupta, Head of Karan Gupta Consulting, notes that the U.S. remains attractive to Indian students due to top-tier universities and cutting-edge research opportunities. Fields such as engineering, computer science, and business hold particular allure, driven by the appealing U.S. job market in these sectors.

Ghana, with over 6,000 students at U.S. institutions in 2022-2023, joined the list of top 25 countries sending the most students. Sub-Saharan Africa experienced the highest growth rate among world regions, increasing by 18%, with Ghana making its debut in the top 25 places of origin.

Despite the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a decline in international students in the U.S. in the 2019-2020 academic year, the enthusiasm for pursuing higher education in the U.S. remains robust. The most popular fields of study for international students in the 2022-2023 academic year include math and computer science, engineering, business and management, social sciences, and physical and life sciences. Experts anticipate a sustained interest in U.S. higher education in the coming years.