14.18 percent increase in international students since January 2014

WASHINGTON – “SEVIS by the Numbers,” a quarterly report on international students studying in the United States, was released Wednesday by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The report highlights February 2015 data from the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a Web-based system that includes information about international students, exchange visitors and their dependents while they are in the United States. New this edition, users can also visit the Study in the States website to review international student data from “SEVIS by the Numbers” via an interactive mapping tool.

Based on data extracted from SEVIS Feb. 6, 1.13 million international students, using an F (academic) or M (vocational) visa, were enrolled at nearly 8,979 U.S. schools. This marked a 14.18 percent increase in international students when compared to January 2014 data. The number of certified schools remained relatively static, increasing just more than one percent, during the same time period.

Seventy-six percent of all international students were from Asia. The top 10 countries of citizenship for international students included: China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, Mexico and Brazil.

In February, only 30 SEVP-certified schools had more than 5,000 international students enrolled. The University of Southern California, Purdue University, Columbia University, the University of Illinois and New York University ranked one through five among U.S. schools with the most international students. More than 10,000 international students were enrolled at each of these schools.

Thirty-seven percent of international students studying in the United States, equating to more than 400,000 individuals, were enrolled in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) coursework in February. Eighty-six percent of international students pursuing STEM studies were from Asia.

The February report includes a special section about women pursuing STEM studies. In the past five years, the total number of female international students studying STEM fields increased more than 68 percent, from 76,638 in February 2010 to 128,807 in February 2015. Sixty-two percent of these female international students were from China and India. Also since 2010, the number of female international students pursuing STEM-focused master’s degrees increased 114 percent. Thirty-four percent of all female students pursuing STEM studies were enrolled at schools in California, New York and Texas.

Other key points from the report include: 76 percent of SEVP-certified schools had between zero and 50 international students; 73 percent of international students were enrolled in bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral programs; and California, New York and Florida had the most SEVP-certified schools. A school must be SEVP-certified before it can enroll international students who are in the United States on a student visa.

The full report can be viewed here. Report data was extracted from SEVIS Feb. 6. It provides a point in time snapshot of data related to international students studying in the United States. Data for the previous “SEVIS by the Numbers” was extracted from SEVIS Oct. 7.

In addition to the report, on Wednesday, SEVP launched an interactive mapping tool where users can explore and drill down international student data from “SEVIS by the Numbers.” This information is viewable at the continent, region and country level and includes information on gender and education levels for international students from geographical areas across the globe.

SEVP monitors approximately one million international students pursuing academic or vocational studies (F and M visa holders) in the United States and their dependents. It also certifies schools and programs that enroll these students. The U.S. Department of State monitors exchange visitors (J visa holders) and their dependents, and oversees exchange visitor programs.

Both use SEVIS to protect national security by ensuring that students, visitors and schools comply with U.S. laws. SEVP also collects and shares SEVIS information with government partners, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, so only legitimate international students and exchange visitors gain entry into the United States.

HSI reviews potential SEVIS records for potential violations and refers cases with potential national security or public safety concerns to its field offices for further investigation. Additionally, SEVP’s Analysis and Operations Center reviews student and school records for administrative compliance with federal regulations related to studying in the United States.