SEVP Quarterly Report on International Students in the U.S.

Each quarter, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) releases a report that provides key data from the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) on the makeup of international students who study in the United States. A look at these quarterly reports can be useful in identifying trends and changes within the nonimmigrant student community. The latest report compares data from July 2015 to July 2016.

Background on SEVP and SEVIS

SEVIS is a web-based system that is used to track and monitor the status and activities of F-1 and M-1 international students, as well as J-1 exchange visitors. It includes information on enrollment, graduation, program compliance, and program transfer of nonimmigrant students. SEVP is a program within Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that oversees SEVIS. SEVP uses SEVIS to track and monitor the status and activities of nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors who enter the United States.

Over 5% Increase in Students and Exchange Visitors

Since July of 2015, the number of F-1 and M-1 students has increased by 5.5 percent, to a total of 1,112,554. Similarly, the number of J-1 exchange visitors has increased by 5.41 percent, to a total of 258,012. Once the dependents of these foreign nationals are factored in, the net result is a 4.99 percent increase when compared to data from the same time last year.

The top three countries of citizenship of these international students are China, India, and South Korea. 77 percent of all F and M students originate from Asian nations.

More Men than Women in F-1 and M-1 Status

The review indicates an overall gender divide of 57 percent male and 43 percent female. The proportion of male versus female students varies greatly by region of origin. Western Asia has a high percentage of male students (76%), whereas Eastern European F and M students tend to be mostly females (57%).

Most Popular Student Destinations: California, Texas, and New York

Schools in “the big 3” – California, Texas, and New York – account for 36 percent of the entire international student population in the United States. California leads the way with 189,589 students, and New York is second with 126,222. But look out, big 3! Since July 2015, there has been a 20 percent increase in the number of international students studying at schools in Arkansas, and a 19 percent increase for schools in New Hampshire.

Leading Universities: NYU and USC

New York University leads the way with 13,327 active F-1 students, while the University of Southern California is a close second with 12,703. Northeastern University, Arizona State, and Columbia round out the top 5. The states of California, New York, and Florida are responsible for 27 percent of all SEVP certified schools.

Top Majors: Business, Engineering, and CIS

Business is the most popular major among international students, followed by engineering: there has been a 10 percent increase in the number of F and M students enrolled in engineering degree programs since July of 2015. The third most popular major for international students is computer and information sciences.

Increase of International Students in STEM Programs

42 percent of all international students are enrolled in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) programs. 69 percent of the total international STEM students are male. 87 percent of international STEM students are from Asia; there has been a 17 percent increase in the number of STEM students from Asia since July of 2015. 83 percent of all international students from India pursue degrees in a STEM field.


The SEVP quarterly reports can help illuminate trends in the United States, as many foreign students and exchange visitors seek to remain in, or return to the U.S. following the completion of their respective educational or vocational programs. As worldwide demand continues to grow for highly educated workers, these foreign students can help to give the United States an edge in securing this much needed skilled workforce.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.