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SEVIS by the Numbers: A Look at the Impact of COVID-19


March 31, 2021

On March 19, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) released the latest version of the annual SEVIS by the Numbers report.

This year, the report features a "COVID-19 Impact" section highlighting the impact of pandemic on international student enrollment in the United States. Below is a summary of the COVID-19 related trends outlined in the 2020 SEVIS by the Numbers report.

Enrollment Trends

  • In calendar year 2020, U.S. schools saw a 72 percent decrease in new international student enrollment when compared to calendar year 2019.
  • U.S. schools saw dramatic decreases in new international student enrollment in both August and September, traditionally months where the largest numbers of new international students enroll in U.S. schools.
  • In 2019, more than three K-12 schools enrolled more than 700 international students, with one school hosting more than 1,000 international students. In comparison, in 2020, only one school hosted more than 700 international students. While all four regions in the United States saw a decline in international student records from 2019 to 2020, the Northeast saw the greatest decrease at 19.4 percent.
  • There were 122,699 pre- and post-completion optional practical training (OPT) students with both an employment authorization document (EAD) and who reported working for an employer in calendar year 2020, compared to 138,898 in calendar year 2019 — a nearly 12 percent decrease.

For more information on how international student trends have changed over time, explore the SEVIS Data Mapping Tool.

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