As of June 2021, there were 25,816 Vietnamese students in the US, most enrolled in the nation’s colleges and universities, according to the latest SEVIS update. That’s an increase of 5.23% over March 2021. There are now nearly as many as there were last September, a positive sign.
If you add language training (802) to the mix, there are 18,189 Vietnamese undergraduates comprising 70.86% of total Vietnamese enrollment. Among community college (6,045) and four-year students (11,342), the breakdown is 34.77% and 65.23%. This gap has been widening in recent years because of more choices and lower price points for both private and public four-year institutions, with and without scholarship and financial aid packages.
Viet Nam currently ranks fifth among the top 10 sending countries. All of the these countries saw increases over the past three months except India (-2.42%) and Nigeria (-4.88%).
South Korea: 43,773
Viet Nam: 25,816
Saudi Arabia: 23,313
Here’s one way to look at Chinese vs. Vietnamese enrollment. Viet Nam’s population of 98 million is 7% of China’s population of 1.4 billion. The percentage of Vietnamese vs. Chinese students in the US in proportion to the population of each country is 9.35%.
There is also some forward momentum on the student visa issuance side, according to the US State Department’s Monthly Nonimmigrant Visa Issuance Statistics. In May 2021, the US Mission in Viet Nam, the Embassy in Hanoi and the Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), issued 514 F-1 visas. That’s a 1185% increase over May 2020 when only 40 were issued at the beginning of the global pandemic. More importantly, for the purpose of comparison, it’s a 58% decrease over May 2019 (1223) and a 53.69% decline over May 2018 (1110) in the pre-COVID era. Those are the benchmarks we need to focus on in the coming year.
One issue that is having an adverse impact on the ability of the US Mission in Viet Nam to issue student and other visas is that the consular section of the US Consulate in HCMC is currently closed because of a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in that city and vicinity, and only scheduling emergency appointments. The US Embassy in Hanoi remains open. The current visa appointment wait times are 46 and 32 calendar days for HCMC and Hanoi, respectively.
Shalom (שלום), MAA