US records year-on-year overseas student growth

08 September, 2015

The US has recorded a nine per cent year-on-year growth in July 2015 over the same period in 2014, according to the latest data released by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).

International students in the US by region of origin, July 2015 compared with February 2015. Source: Sevis by the Numbers, SEVP

The total number of international students on F-1 (academic) or M-1 (vocational) visas as of July 2015 was 1,054,505, SEVP said in the Sevis by the Numbers report. The figure represented a 6.9 per cent decrease from the February 2015 total, but was a nine per cent rise compared with the same period in 2014.

There was also a 22 per cent increase to 244,766 international student participants in the J-1 visa exchange programme in the last quarter, which covers areas such as summer work travel and short-term secondary school study.

China, the largest source country, provided 301,532 students as of July, around 30,000 more than at the same period last year. India was the only major Asian source market to register growth over the first quarter of 2015, with a 2.5 per cent rise to 149,987, and had the highest year-on-year increase at 31.9 per cent. Korea, Saudi Arabia and Canada completed the top five source markets.

California was again the largest host state with 178,740 international students, followed by New York (120,161) and Texas (78,354). The three states combined accounted for 36 per cent of the country’s international students in the last quarter. With 11,891 international students, the University of Southern California was the largest host campus.

More than 400,000 international students were studying in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects, a rise of 17.7 per cent over July 2014. However, growth in STEM demand could potentially be stymied by a recent court ruling that will curtail the post-study work extension for STEM graduates in February unless replacement legislation is drafted.

Although the SEVP report records a period when some international students have completed studies and would therefore be expected to be lower than the previous quarter, there may also be early indications that the strong dollar could be impacting on shorter-term academic and vocational programmes.

At the recent data presentation by members of the Global Alliance of Education and Language Associations (GAELA), held prior to the StudyTravel Alphe UK Conference last week, Cheryl Delk-Le Good, the recently appointed Executive Director of English USA, said the association was expecting a decrease in students in 2015 due to the unfavourable exchange rate.

The full Sevis by the Numbers report is available here

Matthew Knott
News Editor


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