Viet Nam Is One of Two Top 10 Sending Countries With An Increase In Latest SEVIS Stats

study in the states logoIn the latest SEVIS by the Numbers update in March 2018, only two (2) among the top 10 sending countries recorded an increase in the number of students studying in the US:  Brazil and Viet Nam.   The other eight (8) saw decreases ranging from 4.43% to .28%.  Brazil jumped two places from 9th to 7th.  Taiwan surpassed Japan to take 8th place because its enrollment decrease was less than that of Japan, which slipped to 9th place.  The downward trend continued for Saudi Arabia and Mexico.

Viet Nam, with a nominal increase of 224 students (.71%), is treading water, statistically speaking.  The most notable increases and decreases among Vietnamese students were for secondary schools, i.e., boarding and day (from 4,129 or 13.2% to 4,448 or 14.1%), and language training (from 2,754 or 8.5% to 2,398 or 7.6%), respectively. 

Since I’ve heard of modest decreases in Vietnamese visa applications across-the-board, including student visas, I don’t expect this situation to change between March and the end of the fiscal year.  What happens this summer, the peak season for F-1 issuances, will tell the story for this year.  Stay tuned.

Keep in mind that probably about 9% of the F-1 Vietnamese higher education enrollment is for the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, based on IIE Open Doors 2017 data, meaning these are recent graduates who are currently working. 

Top 10 Sending Countries as of March 2018

Country Dec-17 Mar-18 Percentage Change
China 382,908 377,070 -1.52%
India 212,288 211,703 -0.28%
S. Korea 68,128 67,326 -1.18%
Saudi Arabia 49,298 47,707 -3.23%
Viet Nam 31,389 31,613 +0.71%
Canada 30,034 29,750 -0.95%
Japan 24,809 23,710 -4.43% (9th in 3-18)
Taiwan 24,110 23,810 -1.24%  (8th in 3-18)
Brazil 23,901 24,858 +4.00%  (7th in 3-18)
Mexico 16,212 15,511 -4.32%
Peace, MAA
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The Wave Continues to Build: Vietnamese Students in the USA

vn 12-17
Source:  SEVIS (DHS)

According to the latest Mapping SEVIS by the Numbers update from last month, there are currently 31,389 Vietnamese students in the US at all levels of the education system.  (2.59% of all international students in the US are from Viet Nam.)  

Viet Nam remains in 5th place sandwiched between Saudi Arabia, which experienced the sharpest decline among the top 10 sending countries, and Canada, which saw a small increase from May 2017.  

Country          May 2017       December 2017         
 
China                362,370          382.908                      
India                 206,708          212,288                      
S. Korea            71,206            68,128                        
Saudi Arabia   55,810            49,298                        
Viet Nam         30,279            31,389                        
Canada             29,536            30,034                        
Japan                24,837            24,809                        
Taiwan             22,803            24,110                        
Brazil                21,768            23,901                        
Mexico              16,207            16,212                        

Here are two changes from the end of the 2016/17 academic year to now that likely signal trends:

1)  A decrease in the percentage of Vietnamese students enrolled in “language training” from 10.7% to 8.5%.   

2)  An increase in the percentage of Vietnamese undergraduates enrolled in four-year schools from 29.7% to 31.8%.  (To put this in perspective, 90% of all Vietnamese undergrads in the US were enrolled in a community college in 2009/10.)  

level of study vn 12-17
Source:  SEVIS (DHS)

The top 10 host states remained the same.  The only change is that Pennsylvania displaced Florida.  Massachusetts, which remained in 4th place, saw the most significant increase. 

student population by state 12-17
Source:  SEVIS (DHS)
  1. CA: 6175
  2. TX: 5232
  3. WA: 2548
  4. MA: 1815
  5. NY: 1396
  6. PA: 1276
  7. FL: 1223
  8. IL: 967
  9. VA: 889
  10. GA: 712

While there are Vietnamese students in all 50 states, 71%, rounded up, are studying in these 10 states, a statistically insignificant decrease from May 2017.  This, of course, means that 29% are in the remaining 40 states and Puerto Rico, which has one (1). 

To drill down a bit deeper, 44.45% are in California, Texas, and Washington state.  I discuss some of the reasons for this in a September 2017 article I wrote for VNExpress International.  (The bluer the state, the more Vietnamese students are studying there.)

Stay tuned for a post in which I analyze this information in light of other trends in what I refer to as the perfect storm of converging factors that include the recent spike in the number of Vietnamese students studying in Canada, increasing competition within and outside of the US, and various sociopolitical factors.

MAA

US Community Colleges Still Popular Among Vietnamese But Gap Has Closed with Four-Year Schools

top 10 CC enrollment
IIE Open Doors 2017

According to IIE’s Open Doors 2017 report, based on a survey administered in fall 2016, Viet Nam ranks 2nd in the number of international students enrolled at US community colleges (CCs) at 9.9% of the total (96,472). 

Open Doors 2017 cover
Open Doors 2017 Cover (IIE)

There are a total of 9,551 Vietnamese studying at two-year institutions, many in California, Texas, and Washington, and most with the intention of following the 2+2 model, transferring to a four-year institution after two (2) years and completing a bachelor’s degree. (That number had decreased to 9,077 by the end of the 2017 academic year, according to the May 2017 SEVIS update.)

Since the total number of Vietnamese at US colleges and universities was 22,438 last year and 68% of them were undergraduates, this means that 63% were CC students.  There has, however, been a sea change in the overall enrollment picture over the last seven years.  In 2009/10, 90% of all Vietnamese undergraduates were enrolled in a CC.  (Going back another five years, there was little to no awareness of the advantages of beginning one’s US higher education experience at a CC in 2005.)  

Reasons for this dramatic shift from CCs to four-year schools include greater numbers of Vietnamese studying in the US – from 13,112 in 2009/10 to 22,438 in 2016/17, a 42% increase in six years, more four-year institutions with lower cost, and a growing ability to pay among parents.

VN students 5-17
May 2017 SEVIS by the Numbers

While there is still considerable interest in US community colleges for the usual reasons, including the high school completion program in WA, and CCs remain an important source of students for four-year institutions, the gap is closing.  As of May 2017, using SEVIS numbers, CCs and four-year schools were almost even at 30% and 29.7% of degree-seeking undergraduate enrollment, respectively. 

MAA