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Student and Exchange Visitor Program
04/29/2016

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ICE releases quarterly international student data

F, M students up 6.2 percent compared to March 2015; Number of certified schools down 3 percent
ICE releases quarterly international student data
ICE releases quarterly international student data
ICE releases quarterly international student data

WASHINGTON — There are nearly 1.2 million international students with F (academic) or M (vocational) status studying in the United States according to the latest "SEVIS by the Numbers," a quarterly report on international student trends prepared by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

The report, released Friday by SEVP, highlights March 2016 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.

Based on data extracted from SEVIS March 7, international student enrollment at U.S. schools increased 6.2 percent compared to March 2015. In March, there were 8,687 U.S. schools with SEVP certification to enroll international students, a three percent decrease from the previous year.

Forty percent of international students studying in the United States, equaling almost 479,000 individuals, were enrolled in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) coursework. Approximately 417,000 international students from Asia pursued STEM studies, an increase of 17 percent since March 2015.

The March report includes a special section about M students in the United States. In March, more than 75 percent of the M student population was male. Canada was the only country, out of the top ten countries of origin, where the majority of M students, at 51 percent, were female. Male students from China comprised 23 percent of the total M student population. Sixty-four percent of M students majored in transportation and materials moving, with a focus on air, ground or marine transportation.

Among U.S. schools, New York University, the University of Southern California, Northeastern University, Columbia University and the University of Illinois rank one through five for schools with the highest international student populations. More than 10,000 international students were enrolled at each school in March.

Other key points from the report include: 77 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, Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, Brazil and Mexico.

The full report can be viewed here. Report data was extracted from SEVIS March 7. The report captures a point-in-time snapshot of data related to international students studying in the United States. Data for the previous "SEVIS by the Numbers" report was extracted from SEVIS in November 2015.

Individuals can explore and drill down international student data from current and previous "SEVIS by the Numbers" reports by visiting SEVP’s interactive mapping tool. This information is viewable at the continent, region and country level and includes information on gender and education levels, as well as international student populations by state, broken down by geographical areas across the globe. New this quarter, users can view international student data at the U.S. state level to learn more about the students studying in a specific area of the United States.

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 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 reviews student and school records for administrative compliance with federal regulations related to studying in the United States.

Learn more about SEVP at www.ICE.gov/SEVP.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/03/2016