US Colleges See Largest Influx of International Students in Over 40 Years

The Open Doors 2023 Report, released on November 13th, 2023, illuminates the resurgence of international student mobility to the United States. The United States, renowned for its world-class education system, witnessed over 1 million international students from more than 210 different locations enrolling in its institutions during the 2022/23 academic year. This remarkable 12% increase from the previous year is the fastest growth rate in over 40 years, indicating a strong rebound and the appeal of the U.S. as a premier destination for international study. 

Key Findings: 

The United States hosted over 1 million international students during the 2022/23 academic year. 
This represents a 12% increase from the previous year, the fastest growth rate in over 40 years. 
Setting Earlier Deadlines: Implementing earlier application and deposit deadlines to better manage admissions and enrolment. 
New international student enrollment surpassed pre-pandemic levels, increasing by 14% to 298,523. 
Graduate student enrollment saw the most significant rise, especially among master’s students. 
For the first time in five years, undergraduate student enrollment grew. 
China and India remained the top two places of origin for international students. 
53% of all international students in 2022/23 were from China and India. 
The total number of international students increased in 23 of the top 25 places of origin. 
Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly Ghana, had the highest rate of growth among world regions. 
The majority of international students (55%) pursued STEM fields, with math and computer science being the most popular. 
Other popular fields included business and management, social sciences, and the fine and applied arts. 

Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Lee Satterfield emphasized the significance of international education as a vehicle for promoting peace and cross-cultural connections, shaping the leaders of the future. Allan E. Goodman, CEO of the Institute of International Education (IIE), highlighted that the U.S. remains a destination of choice, supporting global innovation, collaboration, and peace. 

The report reveals a surge in new international student enrollment, surpassing pre-pandemic levels. The 2022/2023 academic year saw a 14% increase in first-time enrolments, reflecting a diverse and growing interest across all academic levels. Graduate student enrollment witnessed the most significant rise, particularly among master’s students, marking the highest total of international graduates ever recorded. For the first time in five years, there was also growth in undergraduate student enrollment, particularly among freshmen and associate degree students. Additionally, the number of students pursuing Optional Practical Training (OPT) increased, indicating a growing interest in post-study work opportunities in the U.S. 

China and India continue to be the leading places of origin, with over half of the international students coming from these two countries. However, the dynamics are changing, with India seeing a 35% increase, reaching an all-time high in student numbers. The majority of the leading places of origin experienced rebounds, and eight countries, including Bangladesh, Colombia, Ghana, and Spain, reached all-time highs in international student numbers. 

Leading places of origin of international students 2022/23

Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly Ghana, showed the highest rate of growth among world regions. This diversification signifies the expanding reach of U.S. higher education. Interestingly, the majority of international students pursued STEM fields, with significant numbers in math, computer science, and engineering. Business and management, social sciences, physical and life sciences, and the fine and applied arts were also popular fields of study, reflecting the varied interests of international scholars. 

The Open Doors 2023 Report, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and supported by IIE, underlines the resilience of international education and its crucial role in fostering global connections and innovation. EducationUSA, a network of over 430 international student advising centers, and USA Study Abroad, a U.S. Department of State entity, are instrumental in promoting the diversity of U.S. higher education and expanding study abroad opportunities for U.S. students. These initiatives contribute significantly to the global educational landscape, supporting the interests, safety, and economic prosperity of the American people and international students alike. 

How MyFutureChoice is helping students around the world 

As the influx of international students to U.S. universities continues to grow, the role of comprehensive career and educational guidance services like MyFutureChoice becomes increasingly crucial. These programmes can significantly aid international students in navigating the complexities of studying abroad. MyFutureChoice offers a range of services, including MyCareerChoices and MyUniChoices, designed to align students’ abilities, interests, and aptitudes with suitable career and university options. 

For international students, MyFutureChoice’s psychometrically validated career guidance and aptitude tests can be particularly beneficial. These tests offer insights into students’ academic potential, helping them choose courses and universities that match their skills and interests. Additionally, the MyFutureChoice programmes provide resources for systematic research and action planning, aiding students in making informed decisions about their education and career paths in the US. These services can be instrumental in helping international students maximise their educational experiences abroad, aligning with their long-term career goals and aspirations. 

For more detailed information and data on international students in the United States, including enrollment trends, academic levels, and fields of study, visit the International Students data portal at

The full Open Doors 2023 Report on International Educational Exchange provides comprehensive insights into international student trends and their impact on global education and cultural exchange.