The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), released a report detailing the nonimmigrant student population. The report highlights calendar year 2019 data from the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a web-based system that includes information about nonimmigrant students, exchange visitors and their dependents while they are in the United States.
The report notes that there were 1.52 million active records in SEVIS for F-1 and M-1 students during calendar year 2019, a 1.7 percent decrease from calendar year 2018. There were 532,711 records in SEVIS for J-1 exchange visitors during calendar year 2019, a 1.7 percent increase from calendar year 2018. During 2019, a total of 8,649 U.S. schools possessed SEVP certification to enroll nonimmigrant students. Of the certified schools that hosted a nonimmigrant student, 65 percent hosted between one and 50 nonimmigrant students during the calendar year. Five SEVP-certified schools – New York University (19,750), Columbia University in the City of New York (19,741), Northeastern University (19,410), the University of Southern California (19,063) and the University of Illinois (15,017) – enrolled more than 15,000 nonimmigrant students in 2019.
Eighty-six percent of nonimmigrant students pursued higher education degree programs in 2019, equating to almost 1.31 million SEVIS records, which is on par with the number of students pursuing higher education degrees in 2018. The largest growth and decline came from students seeking doctoral and associate degrees, respectively. Doctoral degree programs saw a 5.2 percent increase in enrollment, while associate degree programs saw an 8.1 percent decrease. There were 1.01 million F-1 students in the U.S. seeking bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 2019.
Over 78,000 nonimmigrant students were enrolled in K-12 programs of study, and about 92 percent of those students were enrolled in secondary school programs (grades 9-12). China sent more K-12 students than any other country, comprising nearly half of the K-12 nonimmigrant student population in 2019.
China (474,497), India (249,221), the Republic of Korea (South Korea) (84,071), and Saudi Arabia (53,283) sent the largest number of nonimmigrant students to study in the United States in calendar years 2017, 2018 and 2019. These four countries saw decreases in the number of student records in 2019, compared to 2018; there were 4,235 fewer student records from China, 2,069 fewer student records from India and 4,796 fewer student records from the Republic of Korea (South Korea).
Many nonimmigrant students obtained an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) through Optional Practical Training (OPT). In 2019, there were 140,137 pre- and post-completion OPT students who received an EAD and reported working for an employer, a total of 72,168 STEM OPT students who received an EAD and reported working for an employer, and 116,337 Curricular Practical Training (CPT) students who received an EAD and reported working for an employer.
In 2019, California continued to host more nonimmigrant students (294,657) than another other state, accounting for 19.3 percent of nonimmigrant students in the United States. New York and Massachusetts rounded out the top states for enrollment in 2019 with 174,737 and 102,695, respectively.
The full SEVIS by the Numbers report can be viewed online, and additional SEVIS data can also be viewed in the SEVP Data Library.
ICE reviews SEVIS records for potential violations and refers cases with possible national security or public safety concerns to its field offices for further investigation. Additionally, SEVP’s Analysis and Operations Center analyzes student and school records for administrative compliance with federal regulations related to studying in the United States.
Learn more about SEVP at ICE.gov/SEVP.