Vietnam Remains in 8th Place; Steady Growth Continues, According to Latest IIE Open Doors Report

open-doors-2014-2.gifAccording to the Open Doors 2014 report, released today, Vietnam ranks 8th among all sending countries.  There are now 16,579 young Vietnamese studying in the US, a modest 3% increase over the previous year (16,098).  (Keep in mind that Open Doors data are from the fall semester of the previous academic year while the SEVIS by the Numbers quarterly updates reflect real-time data at all levels.)

Overall, there were 886,052 international students in the US in 2013/14, including 105,997 in Optional Practical Training (OPT). That’s an 8.1% increase over 2012/13.  International students comprise 4.2% of the total US higher education enrollment of 21,216,000.

Vietnam was one of seven (7) top 10 countries to post an increase last year.  South Korea (3rd), Taiwan (6th), and Japan (7th) each saw the number of their US-bound students decline.  My guess is that Vietnam will surpass Japan and Taiwan within a few years.

Not surprisingly, the number of Chinese students increased by 16.5%; they now comprise 31% of all international students in the US. (That’s 1 in 3, rounded up!)  This makes it all the more difficult for US colleges and universities to diversify their international student populations.  I applaud those that have made the strategic decision to pick less of the low-hanging fruit and to step up their recruitment efforts in other countries, including Vietnam.

iie-logoThe Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange is published by the Institute of International Education, which has conducted an annual statistical survey of campuses regarding the international students in the United States since 1919, and with support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs since the early 1970s. The census is based on a survey of approximately 3,000 accredited U.S. institutions.

2012/13 – 2013/14

Rank Place of Origin 2012/13 2013/14 2013/14 % of Total Change
WORLD TOTAL 819,644 886,052 100.0 8.1
1 China 235,597 274,439 31.0 16.5
2 India 96,754 102,673 11.6 6.1
3 South Korea 70,627 68,047 7.7 -3.7
4 Saudi Arabia 44,566 53,919 6.1 21.0
5 Canada 27,357 28,304 3.2 3.5
6 Taiwan 21,867 21,266 2.4 -2.7
7 Japan 19,568 19,334 2.2 -1.2
8 Vietnam 16,098 16,579 1.9 3.0
9 Mexico 14,199 14,779 1.7 4.1
10 Brazil 10,868 13,286 1.5 22.2

Vietnam-Specific Highlights

  • 71.1% undergraduate; 15.5% graduate; 5.3% other; 7.5% OPT (Optional Practical Training)
  • 6th in undergraduate enrollment
  • 3rd in community college enrollment
  • 37% studying business/management, the highest percentage among the top 25 sending countries
  • 15.8% increase in students participating in OPT
  • 8% decrease in graduate students
  • 4.4% increase in undergraduates
  • 750% as many Vietnamese students in the US as in 2000
  • It is estimated that Vietnamese students contributed $543 million to the US economy last year.

Be sure to check out my companion post about the SEVIS by the Numbers update from last month, which contains more exciting news about Vietnamese enrollment in the US.


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