ICE releases report on foreign students and exchange visitors in the U.S.

In August 2015, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a quarterly report on the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). The report, SEVIS by the Numbers, reveals details about the program.

As background, foreign students are admitted to the United States as nonimmigrants for the purpose of pursuing their studies at United States educational institutions. Students pursuing higher education are admitted in F-1 status and students pursuing vocational studies are admitted in M-1 status.

The Department of State has an Exchange Visitor program, which is multi-faceted and provides opportunities for nonimmigrant foreign nationals in diverse areas through programs for university students, professors and researchers, physicians, short term scholars, teachers and many others. Exchange visitor program participants are admitted to the United States in J-1 status.

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) maintains information about all F-1, M-1 and J-1 nonimmigrants in the United States and the report draws its data from SEVIS.

The following are highlights of the report:

  • There are presently 1.05 million students in the United States in F-1 or M-1 nonimmigrant status.
  • There are presently 244,766 exchange visitors in the U.S. in J-1 status.
  • More than 300,000 F and M students in the United States are from China.
  • More than 150,000 F and M students in the United States are from India.
  • SEVP has certified 8,887 United States schools to have international students enrolled.
  • 77% of all schools certified by SEVP have 50 or less F and M students.
  • 74% of F and M students are in doctoral, master’s or bachelor’s programs.
  • The fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) account for 405,314 F and M students.
  • 38% of all F and M students in the United States are studying in STEM fields.
  • Engineering, computer sciences and biological and biomedical science programs account for 75% of all F and M STEM students.
  • In Texas, 24% of F and M students are from India and 17% are from China.
  • The number of active J-1 exchange visitors increased 21.9% from February 2015 to July 2015, from 200,779 J-1s to 244,766.
  • The number of F and M students decreased 6.9% in the same time period, from 1,132,636 to 1,054,505.