Vietnamese Student Enrollment in the US Drops by 9% in 2020/21

The US experienced a dramatic but not unexpected decline of 15% in its 2020/21 international student population bringing the total to under 1 million. The primary reason cited is the COVID-19 pandemic. Another important reason is the Trump administration. IIE probably didn’t introduce this rather large (orange) elephant in the room because Open Doors (OD) is funded by the US State Department. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you or whose bread I eat, his song I sing.

Looking on the bright side, the one-year decrease for Vietnamese students was 9.0%, the third lowest among the top 10 places of origin. Vietnam ranked 6th among sending countries with 21,631 students enrolled in higher education. (OD does not include secondary students.) Of those, 15,282 (71%) were undergraduates, 3,375 (15.6%) were graduate students, 348 (1.61%) non-degree (e.g., English training), and 2,626 (12.14%) in Optional Practical Training (OPT). Those categories of students saw one-year decreases of 7.9%, 7.5%, 57.7%, and 3.4%.

Looking ahead to the current academic year, I think we can expect to see a modest rebound in the number of young Vietnamese studying in the US. As of June 2021, using the SEVIS Data Mapping Tool, the total was 25,816, including 2,600 secondary (boarding and day school) students who are not included in the OD data.

Once again, business/management remains the most popular major for Vietnamese students (26.9%), exceeded only by Germany (27.3%).

Shalom (שלום), MAA

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