Top 10 Host States for International & Vietnamese Students

top 10 intl students

Rajika Bhandari, head of research, policy and practice at IIE, says there are a variety of reasons certain parts of the country generally appeal more to international students, such as population diversity and proximity to industry.

The latter partly explains the appeal of Texas, she says, which is the No. 3 most popular state for international students and a hub for engineering and technology. Opportunities for internships and jobs are a big factor for international students when deciding where to study, says Bhandari.

US News & World Report recently published an article about the 10 states that attract international states, based on the latest Open Doors 2017 report.  If you look at where most Vietnamese are studying, as of May 2017, there is an overlap of seven (7) states, including CA, NY, TX, MA, IL, PA, and FL.

Some of the reasons for this overlap are similar to what appears in the above quote, i.e., population diversity, proximity to industry, engineering and technology hubs, and opportunities for internships.  Others are also related to family ties, the result of the American War in Viet Nam and various waves of pre- and post-war emigration. 

The reason WA ranks 3rd is because of the popularity of its community colleges, many of which offer degree and high school completion programs, and their work recruiting in Viet Nam long before the market heated up.  (It ranks 11th among all international students, using Open Doors data.) 

Vietnamese students ranked 2nd (8.2% or 2,280), after their Chinese peers, in the number of international students in WA last year.  This means that just over 10% of all Vietnamese students in the US in 2016/17 were in WA.  That figure drops to 8.2%, as of May 2017, if you use SEVIS data, which include all levels and types of education, but primarily higher education.

The numbers for Vietnamese students are as follows.  About 72% are in 10 out of 50 states, which means that the bar is set higher for institutions in the other 40 states, 


VN student population by state
The darker the blue, the more Vietnamese students there are in those states.  Source:  SEVIS (DHS)


  1. CA: 6171
  2. TX: 5221
  3. WA: 2485
  4. MA: 1686
  5. NY: 1328
  6. FL: 1193
  7. PA: 1187
  8. IL: 915
  9. VA: 886
  10. GA: 677

TOTAL: 71.7% rounded up (21722/30,279)