International student numbers in US at all-time high but new enrollments declining

Nov 18, 2019    Source: Chelsea Dibble


Recent stats on the high number of international students in the United States have been dominating headlines. The 2019 Open Doors Report, produced by the Institute of International Education (IIE), states international student numbers in the US increased by 0.05 percent in the 2018/19 academic year to reach an all-time high of 1,095,299, the fourth consecutive year with more than one million international students.

However, while 2018/19 international student numbers in the US were at a record high, the total number enrolled in undergraduate programs declined by 2.4 percent to 431,930, and the number in graduate programs declined by 1.3 percent to 377,943. The number of students in non‐degree programs declined by 5% to 62,341.

For the tenth consecutive year, China remained the main source of international students in the US with 369,548 students. India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Canada round out the top five. Emerging market countries showed some of the strongest growth year over year, especially Bangladesh (+10.0 percent), Brazil (+9.8 percent), Nigeria (+5.8 percent), and Pakistan (+5.6 percent).

According to data from the US Department of Commerce, international students contributed $44.7 billion to the US economy in 2018, an increase of 5.5 percent from the previous year.