This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Loan Huynh, Fredrikson Immigration Department Chair, is a member.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) reported a drop of 72 percent in new international student enrollment in U.S. schools in 2020 as compared to calendar year 2019. Decreases were attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and Trump-era immigration policies. The annual report, which presents data from the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, also noted that international students chose business administration as a major most often in 2020, followed by second-language learning and computer science.
Also, according to the report:
- The total number of SEVIS records for active F-1 and M-1 students was 1,251,569 in calendar year 2020, a decrease of 17.86 percent from calendar year 2019.
- There were 122,699 pre- and post-completion optional practical training (OPT) students with an employment authorization document who reported working for an employer in calendar year 2020, compared to 138,898 in calendar year 2019—a nearly 12 percent decrease.
Chinese student enrollment declined in 2020 compared with 2019 (down by 91,936). Indian student enrollment also decreased (down by 41,761 in 2020 versus 2019).