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Open Doors Report: International Students Contribute $44.7 billion to the U.S.

November 18, 2019

On Nov. 18, 2019, 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 2018-19 academic year showed that for the fourth 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 2018-19, contributing $44.7 billion to the U.S. economy, an increase of 5.5 percent from the previous year.

While the overall number of international students increased by .05 percent, new international student enrollment fell by .9 percent in 2018-19, a significant recovery from last year’s 7 percent decline.

This year’s report also shows an increase in the number of optional practical training (OPT) participants. The number of OPT participants increased by 9.6 percent from last year.

Other significant trends from the 2019 Open Doors Report include:

  • China and India remain the top two countries of origin for international students, comprising 52 percent of the total number of international students in the United States.
  • In terms of countries of origin, emerging market countries such as Bangladesh, Brazil, Nigeria and Pakistan showed some of the strongest growth year over year.
  • One out of three international students studied in California, New York or Texas.
  • While Engineering remains the top field of study for international students, the number of international students in Math and Computer Science programs grew by 9.4 percent, surpassing Business and Management to become the second-largest field 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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