Text: Deutsche Welle China website (IIE, The PIE News, Washington Post, Nikkei News)

Data for the 2021/202 academic year for US universities was released on November 14. The number of international students has shown an overall recovery and is already close to the pre-pandemic level.

The Institute of International Education (IIE) released a related survey report, indicating that in 2021/22, the total number of undergraduate students studying in the United States will be 948,519, which is much higher than the 914,095 in the 2020/21 academic year, an increase of approximately 4%. Among them, there were 261,961 freshmen, a staggering 80% increase over the 145,528 students in the previous school year.

The Open Doors 2022 Report on International Educational Exchanges (Open Doors Report 2022) surveyed students enrolled in nearly 3,000 colleges and universities in the United States, including current students and students currently undergoing internships and related training.

Double effect in the cultural and economic fields

With more than a century of data, they’ve seen this kind of international academic exchange happen even during a pandemic, said Alan E. Goodman, president of the American Institute of International Education, and it’s grown rapidly since then. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Lee Satterfield also welcomed the increase.

The numbers are watched closely in the United States. The Washington Post reports that this academic exchange has a cultural and economic impact: international students are changing the educational experience for the American college students they study with. According to the US Department of Commerce, international students contributed $32 billion to the US economy in the 2021/22 academic year.

However, a report by PIE News, a well-known international education website in the United States, indicated that although this number increased by more than 10 billion US dollars compared to the previous academic year, it was still less than before. Epidemiological level.

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India, where the number of international students is rising, and China, which is declining

Countries with the largest increase in enrollment include India. In the 2021/22 academic year, the total number of Indian students in the United States increased by 19% year-on-year. The number of Indian students pursuing postgraduate studies in the US has increased by a whopping 48%. Currently, the total number of Indian students in the US is just under 200,000, making it the second largest source country for international students in the US (the largest source country is China).

The percentage of students from Western European countries such as Germany, Spain and France has also increased significantly. In addition, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Colombia and Nigeria also registered double digit growth.

A noteworthy phenomenon: The report shows that the number of Chinese students studying abroad has fallen sharply, with the total number in the 2021/22 academic year down 8.6% from the previous year. For the 2020/21 school year, there has already been an annual decline of 14.8%.

For many years, China has been the country that sends the largest number of international students to the United States. Currently, China remains the largest source of students, with a total of more than 290,000 students studying in the United States. And in 2019/20, there were more than 370,000 students from China in the United States.

Why is the number of Chinese students studying abroad declining?

According to the “Washington Post” report, Merca Martel, director of research, evaluation and learning at the American Institute of International Education, said that in the ten years leading up to 2020, the number of international students from China increased. She said the epidemic and its impact on overseas traveleffectsThis may be one of the main reasons why Chinese students cannot go to the United States and choose to postpone their studies.

A related Nikkei report indicated that visa issuance was a major concern for Chinese students, especially those involved in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. Former President Trump (Donald Trump) signed in 2020Presidential Decree No. 10043designed to prevent students in certain STEM fields from obtaining visas to study in the United States.

However, according to the report, Robert Batchelder, in charge of visa services in the US State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, said the order only affects “very, very few” Chinese citizens who want to study in the United States. “The visa application process for Chinese students, in terms of examination and difficulty, is really no more difficult or complicated than anywhere else in the world,” Batchelder said.

The Washington Post report also noted that when asked whether it would be difficult for Chinese students to obtain study visas, Batschild said that the vast majority of students who hope to study STEM in the United States can obtain visas and travel to the United States. without any serious delays or difficulties.

According to Batchelder, for the academic year from October 2021 to September 2022, the United States issued about 65,000 F-1 student visas to Chinese, about the same amount as the approximately 125,000 to Indians over the same period as half of the F-1 student visa.

“Of course in China, due to the COVID-19 epidemic (severe infectious pneumonia, new coronary pneumonia, and Wuhan pneumonia) and domestic travel restrictions, it is difficult for people to go to our (US) embassy or consulate. At the same time, there are fewer people who travel abroad,” Batchelder said.

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“America welcomes Chinese students”

According to PIE News, a US international education website, Ethan Rosenzweig, who is in charge of academic programs in the US State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, emphasized that China remains the focus for US university admissions.

He said that AUC puts the health, safety and well-being of all students first. “On this point, the Joe Biden administration has been clear: Chinese students are welcome here (in the United States).”

Rosenzweig also said that US universities will continue to attach importance to Chinese students and give priority to student recruitment in China. “As a person with two decades of experience in higher education, I look forward to China opening up to American universities soon, so that these universities can go to China to recruit students personally.”

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