It is well-known that Indian students are the second largest international student groups to the US, the largest being students from China. But travel restrictions and China’s strict measures to curb the recurring cases of COVID-19, such as the current fresh spurt, have opened a window of opportunity for Indian students.
According to the latest US government data, India sent more students (+25,391) to the US in 2021, a 12% increase from 2020, while China sent (-33,569), an 8% drop from the previous year. Chinese students, however, still account for the largest international community in the US.
Data from the US Student Exchange and Visitor Program 2021 also reveals some interesting facts about international students.
Asia’s Dominance Continues
With Indian and Chinese students constituting the majority of international students in US universities, Asia was the most popular continent of origin. Nearly 72% of all current international students in the US are from Asia.
In 2021, 47% (581,843) of all active international students were from China (348,992) or India (232,851), without much change from 2020. However, the overall number of active F-1 and M-1 student records coming from Asia dropped by 34,781 from 2020 to 2021, even as student record trends varied across different countries.
Last year’s active exchange visitors in the US were 240,479 versus 256,944 in 2020. The total number of active F-1 and M-1 students was 1,236,748 in calendar year 2021, a drop of 1.2% from 2020. Despite this, Indian students remain upbeat about studying in the US.
Top 5 Countries With Active Student Count in 2021
- China - 348,992
- India - 232,851
- Republic of Korea (South Korea) - 58,787
- Canada - 37,453
- Brazil - 33,552
- Universities in California were host to the most international students at 208,257 in 2021 among all US states, hosting about 16.8% of total international students in the US. Other popular US states among international students were New York, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts.
- About 92% of all F-1 and M-1 students were enrolled in bachelor’s, master’s, associate, or PhD programs.
- Foreign students in the US completed 1,142,352 degrees in higher education, which is a rise from 1,121,981 in 2020.
- Northeastern University hosted the most number of students in the US in 2021 at 19,485, followed by New York University (19,389), Columbia University in the City of New York (19,099) and University of Southern California (17,509).
- Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) courses have been the preferred choice for most international students. Business Administration and Management, General was the most popular program among active international students in 2021 with 80,334 students, followed by Computer Science at 74,754.