SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) came online in 2003 to track and monitor the status and activities of nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors who enter the U.S.  This web-based system collects real-time information on these two groups, plus approved schools and program sponsors.

SEVIS by the Numbers (1.8 MB PDF download ) is a statistical summary report produced using data compiled from SEVIS.  The quarterly review below is based on information retrieved on 15 January 2014. (NOTE:  This is the first update since July 2013.  The new format is more attractive but not necessarily better in terms of quality of information.)

Many of us who follow these trends actually prefer these quarterly updates to the annual Open Doors reports on international academic mobility, which use data that are already a year old.  The difference is that the SEVIS reports include all levels and types of education and training (e.g., 5,599 and 50,526 international students are currently enrolled in U.S. primary and secondary schools, respectively), whileOpen Doors only includes information about regionally accredited institutions of higher education.

The data encompass the following education and training visa categories:

  • F-1:  international students who pursue a full course of academic study in a SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program)-certified school
  • M-1:  international students who pursue a full course of study at a SEVP-certified vocational or other recognized nonacademic institution (other than language training programs)
  • J-1:  nonimmigrants approved to participate in work- and study-based exchange visitor programs (e.g., Fulbright, Vietnam Education Foundation/VEF)

Since October 2013, the total number of SEVIS records for active nonimmigrant students, exchange visitors and their dependents decreased by 2.4%, from 1,347,593 to 1,315,528.  Above is  a global view of “places of origin.”  Not surprisingly, 29% of all nonimmigrant students are from China; India takes second place with 11%.  In fact, 75% of all international students in the U.S. hail from Asia.

Places of Origin - Asia (1-14)

Rounding out the top ten are South Korea (#3), Saudi Arabia (#4), Canada (#5), Japan (#6), Taiwan (#7), Vietnam (#8), Mexico (#9) and Brazil (#10).  The number of Vietnamese students in the U.S. jumped from 17,816 in July 2013 to 20,035 in January 2014, a 12.46%, increase.  Vietnam continues to lead the third tier of “top ten” countries with more students than Mexico or Brazil.  My guess remains unchanged, i.e., that Vietnam will surpass Taiwan and Japan in the next five (5) years.

Top Ten Countries of Citizenship (1-14)

Other Highlights

  • Business, Management, Marketing are still the most popular majors with an enrollment of 200,000.
  • The states with the most international students (i.e., 54%) are CA, NY, TX, MA, FL, IL and PA – in that order.  The top three states for Vietnamese students are CA, TX and WA with significant concentrations in MA and NY.
  • 73% of active students are enrolled in bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral programs.
  • 56% of all international students are male.
  • 32% of all SEVP-approved schools are in CA, NY, FL and TX.  (Note: “An approved school may offer several levels of education from pre-school, elementary, high school, to post-secondary education level.”)
  • Of SEVIS-approved schools with active students, the visa distribution is as follows: 84%/F, 10% F/M and 6%/M.
  • Of the top five F-1 and M-1 approved schools two (2) are community colleges: Cornell University (4,898), Santa Monica College (3,258), the University of Iowa (3,073), Houston Community College System (3,192) and the Florida Institute of Technology (2,041).
  • The top five F-1 approved schools are the University of Southern California (USC: 10,487), Purdue University (9,673), University of Illinois (9,605), New York University (NYU: 9,247) and Columbia University (9,201).
  • The top five schools with active students on a M-1 visa are:  Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (772), TransPac Aviation Academy (318), CAE Global Academy Phoenix, Inc. (305), U.S. Aviation Academy (253), and the IASCO Flight Crew Training Center (228).

Mark A. Ashwill, An International Educator in Vietnam Blog