The number of students studying in US colleges and universities dropped dramatically during the school year that began in September 2020. Experts attribute the decline to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A survey of nearly 3,000 institutions of higher education in the US showed a 15% decrease in the number of international students attending the 2020-2021 school year.
The number of new student enrollments fell by 45.6%.
This brings the total international students enrolled to 914,095, the first time since the 2015-2016 academic year that the number has fallen below the 1 million mark after a decade of rapid increases.
International students comprise 4.6% of the nearly 20 million students enrolled in higher education in the United States.
The number of students from China and India continues to dominate enrollment in American colleges and universities. Combined, they continue to represent more than half of all international students in the US
Chinese students declined 14.8% from the previous year to 317,299, or 34.7% of all international students.
Indian students declined 13.2% from the previous year to 167,583, or 18.3% of all international students.
The pandemic emanated from China in December 2019. International students left the US to return to their home countries for winter break, with many returning to US campuses in January 2020. The campuses The US closed in March 2020 around spring break, and all students were sent home, returned home, or remained in the US when colleges and universities switched their classes to online learning.
The research was conducted by the New York-based Institute for International Education (IIE) and published on November 15. IIE, founded in 1919, is a non-profit organization funded by the US State Department and focuses on student exchange and aid, foreign affairs, and international peace and security, ”according to its website. Its mission is "to build more peaceful and equitable societies by promoting scholarship, building economies and promoting access to opportunities".