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International Education Week

Open Doors Report: A Record High Number of International Students

November 15, 2018

On Nov. 13, 2018, the Institute of International Education (IIE) released its annual Open Doors Report.

The report, which is released each year as part of International Education Week, includes detailed information and data about post-secondary student flows into and out of the United States during the previous academic year.

The Open Doors Report for the 2017-18 academic year showed that for the third consecutive year, more than one million international students studied in the United States. A record high 1.09 million students made a significant financial impact on the United States in 2018, contributing $42.4 billion to the U.S. economy.

While the overall number of international students increased by 1.5 percent, new international student enrollment fell by 6.6 percent in 2017-18, consistent with the downward trend first observed in the 2015-16 academic year.

In keeping with last year’s Open Doors Report, this year’s report showed an increase in the number of optional practical training (OPT) participants. The number of OPT participants increased by 15.8 percent.

Other significant trends from the 2018 Open Doors Report include:

  • China and India remain the top two countries of origin for international students, comprising 51 percent of the total number of international students in the United States.
  • One out of three international students studied in California, New York or Texas.
  • Engineering, business and management, and math and computer science are the most popular fields of study for international students.
  • The United States remains the top host of international students globally.  

IIE’s Open Doors Report is based on a survey of approximately 3,000 accreditedStudent and Exchange Visitor Program-certified post-secondary institutions in the United States.

Are you interested in learning more about international student trends? Visit the Mapping SEVIS by the Numbers tool to access an interactive map that shares data from the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.

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