More Vietnamese Studying in the USA

Vietnam Still Primarily an Undergraduate Market But with Growing Interest in Graduate Study

Here are the latest Vietnam-related stats from the November 2022 SEVIS update. (You can also access these data for other countries using the interactive map.) This is a follow-up to my 31 October 2022 post with information about the September 2022 update.

There was a healthy 8.32% increase from September to November 2022. The good news is that the resurgence of interest in overseas study among Vietnamese students and parents continues unabated.

There are currently 24,763 students from Vietnam at all levels studying in the US, mostly in higher education vs. 22,861 in September 2022 and 23,809 in May 2022. Vietnam still ranks 6th among places of origin.

China: 265,980 (+5.68%)

India: 254,828 (+5.9%)

South Korea: 48,708 (6.77%)

Canada: 32,230 (+9.72%)

Brazil: 27,987 (+5.74%)

Vietnam: 24,763 (+8.32%)

Taiwan: 21,601 (+3.88%)

Nigeria: 19,624 (+4.57%)

Japan: 19,002 (+14.90%)

Saudi Arabia: 17,225 (+.67%)

All top 10 countries recorded increases ranging from a negligible .67% for Saudi Arabia to nearly 15% for Japan.

Here is some analysis lite:

  1. Secondary School Enrollments on the Rise: The number of boarding and day school students now stands at 1,836, a 32.38% increase over September 2022. They comprise 7.4% of total enrollment, up from 6.1%. Keep in mind that this number was 4,114 (13.4%) in March 2019. That’s a dramatic three and half year decrease of 55.37%. Takeaway: Boarding and day schools that recruit in Vietnam must continue to be aggressive in their outreach efforts. One of the main causes of this multi-year decline is COVID-19. This market segment should continue its recovery in 2023 and beyond. Whether it will reach pre-COVID levels is anyone’s guess.
  2. Community Colleges Decreasing in Popularity: Community college (CC) enrollment rebounded slightly, inching up from 3,262 to 3,465 in the latest update, an increase of 6.22%. However, CC statistics as a percentage of total Vietnamese enrollment decreased from 14.3% to 14%, an indication that the shift to four-year institutions continues, along with greater interest in graduate study. The preference for four-year institutions is probably because there are more of them than ever recruiting in Vietnam with attractive price points – with or without scholarships or financial aid. Many are in the upper range of community colleges. Another reason could be that some parents who used to send their kids to US community colleges are enrolling them in local international universities, e.g., RMIT, because of the lower cost. This is a result of the adverse economic impact of the pandemic. Same takeaway as in my 31.10.22 post: Those community colleges that have a strong brand presence and existing pipelines of students are likely to be the most successful in the new normal era. New “kids on the block” have to develop a medium-term strategy and invest in recruitment.
  3. Shift to Four-Year Institutions Continues: The number of Vietnamese studying at four-year institutions jumped to 13,225, a 8.1% increase over the last update. Same takeaway as in my 31.10.22 post: Since there are fewer students enrolling from boarding and day schools and transferring from community colleges, two important pipelines in recent years, four-year colleges and universities will have to rely more on direct recruitment from Vietnam for the foreseeable future.
  4. Graduate Programs Continue to Gain in Popularity: The number of Master’s students continues its upward trend from 2,657 in May and 2,807 in September to 2,868 in November, comprising 11.6% of total enrollment. Ph.D. enrollments recorded a modest increase from 1,947 to 1,967. Vietnamese graduate students now comprise 19.53% of total enrollment. Takeaway: We should continue to monitor these numbers to see if this is indicative of a trend.

The number of students enrolled in language programs increased to 652, or 2.6% of the total. The two main reasons for the low number of Vietnamese studying English in the US remain the same: 1) it’s difficult to get a student visa; and 2) there are more and higher quality opportunities to study English at home now than in the past. English proficiency among young Vietnamese is better than ever.

Here are the top 10 host states. One notable change is that the number of young Vietnamese studying in WA jumped 23% (rounded up), probably the result of increased community college enrollment, including high school completion programs.

California: 3,885

Texas: 3,306

Massachusetts: 1,772

Washington: 1,524

New York: 1,363

Pennsylvania: 1,281

Florida: 1,140

Ohio: 1,051

Illinois: 848 1005

Georgia: 609

Finally, the gender breakdown remains virtually unchanged. 53.4% of all Vietnamese students in the US are female and 46.6% male.

As predicted, the higher numbers indicate a new normal era recovery for study in the USA among Vietnamese students. 2.26% of all international students in the US are from Vietnam.

Shalom (שלום), MAA

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