Open Doors 2015: More Double-Digit Increases for Vietnam!

BT-Open-Doors-2015Yes, dear readers, it’s that time of year again – time for Open Doors 2015!  For the uninitiated – the Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange is an annual international academic mobility report published by the Institute of International Education with a grant from the US State Department.

Below is a list of top 10 sending countries in the 2014/15 academic year.  Keep in mind that this information is based on a survey distributed last fall (2014) semester, i.e., it’s already a year old. Vietnam (PDF download) had one of the higher year-over-year percentage increases among the top 25 places of origin at 12.9%.  In reality, there were 24,288 Vietnamese students in the US at all levels, nearly 90% in higher education, as of July 2015, according to the August 2015 SEVIS by the Numbers quarterly update (PDF download).  Vietnam actually ranks 7th, having surpassed Taiwan, and is on the verge of overtaking Japan.

Rank Place of Origin 2013/14 2014/15 % of Total % Change
WORLD TOTAL 886,052 974,926 100.0 10.0
1 China 274,439 304,040 31.2 10.8
2 India 102,673 132,888 13.6 29.4
3 South Korea 68,047 63,710 6.5 -6.4
4 Saudi Arabia 53,919 59,945 6.1 11.2
5 Canada 28,304 27,240 2.8 -3.8
6 Brazil 13,286 23,675 2.4 78.2
7 Taiwan 21,266 20,993 2.2 -1.3
8 Japan 19,334 19,064 2.0 -1.4
9 Vietnam 16,579 18,722 1.9 12.9
10 Mexico 14,779 17,052 1.7 15.4

Fields of Study & Vietnam

2014-15 Places of Origin & Fields of Studyvietnam fields of study

Academic Level & Vietnam

As expected, there is a decrease in the percentage of Vietnamese students choosing business/management as their major, a positive development, in my opinion.

level and place of origin 2015vietnam level and place of origin

There are some notable changes in academic levels:

  • a 100% increase in the number of non-degree students, e.g., ESL, certificate programs
  • a 26% increase in the number of OPT students

Community Colleges & Vietnamese Students

Rank Place of Origin % of Enrollment
1 China 17.7
2 South Korea 8.9
3 Vietnam 8.4

Vietnam remains in 3rd place with 7,698 students enrolled in a community college, most with plans to complete their Bachelor’s degree at a four-year school.  (That’s 8.4% of the total international enrollment at US community colleges last year, which was 91,448.)  That translates into a one-year increase of 15.4%, from 6,509 to 7,698 students.

A note about Brazil’s short-lived ascendancy.  This 11.11.15 ICEF Monitor article details the impact of the current economic crisis in Brazil on overseas study.  Here are the highlights:

  • Brazil is in the grip of an economic crisis that has pressured consumer spending and weakened the Brazilian currency
  • This in turn has made it much more expensive for Brazilians to travel or study abroad
  • The expectation is that the market will decline this year but there are surprising and important areas of demand, particularly in the form of students who are committed to improving their skills for better employment prospects
  • Demand is also shifting to more affordable English-speaking destinations, notably Malta, South Africa, and Ireland


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