WASHINGTON, D.C., November 18, 2019—The number of international students in the United States set an all-time high in the 2018/19 academic year, the fourth consecutive year with more than one million international students. The total number of international students, 1,095,299, is a 0.05 percent increase over last year, according to the 2019 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. International students make up 5.5 percent of the total U.S. higher education population. According to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, international students contributed $44.7 billion to the U.S. economy in 2018, an increase of 5.5 percent from the previous year.
Open Doors 2019, released today by the Institute of International Education (IIE) and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, highlights the continued competitiveness of the U.S. higher education sector as a destination of choice for international students and the growing interest in international educational exchange among U.S. students.
“We are happy to see the continued growth in the number of international students in the United States and U.S. students studying abroad,” said Marie Royce, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. “Promoting international student mobility remains a top priority for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and we want even more students in the future to see the United States as the best destination to earn their degrees. International exchange makes our colleges and universities more dynamic for all students and an education at a U.S. institution can have a transformative effect for international students, just like study abroad experiences can for U.S. students.”
For the tenth consecutive year, China remained the largest source of international students in the United States in 2018/19 with 369,548 students in undergraduate, graduate, non-degree, and optional practical training (OPT) programs, a 1.7 percent increase from 2017/18. India (202,014, +2.9 percent), South Korea (52,250, -4.2 percent), Saudi Arabia (37,080, -16.5 percent), and Canada (26,122, +0.8 percent) 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).