Number of US-Bound Vietnamese Students Continues to Climb

Here are the latest Vietnam-related stats from the February 2023 SEVIS update. (You can also access these data for other countries using the interactive map.) This is a follow-up to my 10 January 2023 post with information about the November 2022 update. These are mid-year stats, which are usually not as dramatic and consequential as those for the new academic/school year. Kudos to the Biden Administration for updating these stats on a regular basis – in stark contrast with the previous administration. (I would be happy with quarterly updates!)

There are currently 25,198 students from Vietnam at all levels studying in the US, mostly in higher education vs. 24,763 in November 2022, a modest increase of 1.76% over November 2022. Vietnam still ranks 6th among places of origin.

India: 275,695 (+8.19%)

China: 266,109 (+4.8%)

South Korea: 48,701 (-.1%)

Canada: 32,067 (-.51%)

Brazil: 29,544 (+5.56%)

Vietnam: 25,198 (+1.76%)

Taiwan: 21,567 (+-.16%)

Nigeria: 20,668 (+5.3%)

Japan: 17,786 (-6.4%)

Saudi Arabia: 17,668 (2.57%)

Only three of the top 10 countries recorded decreases ranging from .1% to 6.4%. Not surprisingly, India displaced China to take the top spot.

Here is some analysis lite:

  1. Secondary School Enrollments on the Rise: The number of boarding and day school students now stands at 2,004. They comprise 8% of total enrollment vs. 7.4% in November 2022. Keep in mind that this number was 4,114 (13.4%) in March 2019. 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 the next couple of years. Whether it will reach pre-COVID levels is anyone’s guess.
  2. Community Colleges Decreasing in Popularity: Community college (CC) enrollment decreased slightly from 3,465 in November 2022 to 3,450. The continued 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 postThose 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 increased slightly to 13,254. 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 2,868 in November to 2,944, comprising 11.7% of total enrollment. Ph.D. enrollments remained steady with a negligible decrease decrease from 1,967 to 1,963. Vietnamese graduate students now comprise 19.5% of total enrollment. Takeaway: I will continue to monitor these numbers to see if this is indicative of a trend.

The number of students enrolled in language programs increased to 774, or 3.1% 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. 47.7% of all Vietnamese students in the US are enrolled at institutions in five states. (10 years ago, about half were in three states: California, Texas, and Washington.)

California: 3,899

Texas: 3,391

Massachusetts: 1,792

Washington: 1,538

New York: 1,398

Pennsylvania: 1,287

Florida: 1,168

Ohio: 1,097

Illinois: 1,028

Georgia: 632

Finally, the gender breakdown remains virtually unchanged. 53.6% of all Vietnamese students in the US are female and 46.4% male. 2.23% of all international students in the US are from Vietnam.

The marginally higher numbers indicate an ongoing recovery for study in the USA among Vietnamese students in the new normal era.

Stay tuned for the update that reflects enrollments for the 2023/34 academic and school years.

Shalom (שלום), MAA

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