International Student Population Decreases for the Second Year: ICE

Washington, DC–U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released its calendar year 2021 Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) annual report today, detailing the international student population, which for the second year reflected the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This report highlights calendar year 2021 data from the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a web-based system that includes information about international students, exchange visitors, and dependents while they are in the United States.

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted international student enrollment in the United States in 2021. The total number of SEVIS records for active F-1 and M-1 students was 1,236,748 in calendar year 2021, a decrease of 1.2 percent from calendar year 2020.

While all four regions in the United States saw a decline in international student records from 2019 to 2020, only the Western region saw a decline from 2020 to 2021 of 7.5 percent. California continued to host more international students than any other state.

The number of international students enrolled in K-12 programs of study decreased 16 percent from 2020 to 2021.

The number of SEVP-certified schools eligible to enroll international students decreased by 280 schools from 2020 to 2021.

Only Asia and Australia/Pacific Islands saw an overall decline in the number of students coming to the United States last year; all other continents saw an increase. International F-1 and M-1 students came from every continent in the world other than Antarctica, and from more than 224 countries and territories. Students from China and India made Asia the most popular continent of origin, accounting for 71.9 percent of the international student population. China sent fewer international students while India sent more.

The full SEVIS by the numbers report can be viewed online, and additional SEVIS data can also be viewed in the SEVP Data Library.

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