The number of Indian students in the United States increased by over 12% in 2021, while those from China, which accounts for the largest number, dropped by more than 8%, an annual report of US Citizenship and Immigration Services has highlighted.
In its annual report, the US government agency said the COVID-19 pandemic continued to impact international students’ enrolment in the United States in 2021.
The total number of Students and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) records for active F-1 and M-1 visas – non-immigrant student visas – in the US was 12,36,748 in the year 2021, a decrease of 1.2 per cent from the calendar year 2020.
J-1 is also a non-immigrant student visa but is mostly given to scholars from exchange programmes.
In 2021, 8,038 SEVP-certified schools were eligible to enrol international students, registering a decrease of 280 schools from 8,369 eligible schools in 2020.
Students from China and India made Asia the most popular continent of origin in the US, accounting for 71.9% of the international student population. However, China sent fewer students in 2021 in comparison to 2020 (-33,569) while India sent more students (+25,391), the report said. Around 37% of Indian students in the US are females, the report added.
Overall, China continues to top the list of countries sending 3,48,992 students to the United States. India follows China with 2,32,851 students. China and India are followed by South Korea (58,787), Canada (37,453), Brazil (33,552), Vietnam (29,597), Saudi Arabia (28,600), Taiwan (25,406), Japan (20,144) and Mexico (19,680).
In 2021, California hosted 2,08,257 international students, the largest percentage of international students (16.8%) of any US state. There were 2,40,479 active exchange visitors in the United States in 2021 compared to 2,56,944 active exchange visitors in 2020, it said.
Most F-1 and M-1 students come to the United States to take part in the higher education system. In 2021, roughly 92 per cent of all F-1 and M-1 students were enrolled in a SEVP-certified associate, bachelor's, master's or doctoral program.
Specifically, international students in the United States pursued 11,42,352 degrees in higher education, which is an increase from the calendar year 2020 (11,21,981).
It is important to note that one student might partake in more than one level of education in a given calendar year, so they may be counted in multiple educational levels.