Number of Vietnamese Higher Education Students in the United States Increases for 18th Straight Year

Ho Chi Minh City, November 19, 2019 – The number of Vietnamese higher education students in the United States increased over the past year, marking 18 consecutive years of growth, according to the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) annual “Open Doors” Report released November 18. The report for the 2018-2019 academic year (AY) shows that Vietnam remains the sixth leading country of origin for all international higher education students in the United States, with 24,392 students studying at U.S. institutes of higher education, a 0.3 percent increase from AY 2017-2018. Vietnamese students contribute nearly $1 billion to the U.S. economy.

Of the 24,392 Vietnamese higher education students in the United States, 69.9 percent were undergraduates, 15.2 percent were graduate level students, 10.2 percent enrolled in Optional Practical Training (OPT), and the remaining 4.6 percent were pursuing non-degree programs. The data also revealed that Vietnam is becoming a more popular destination for American students. The number of American students studying abroad in Vietnam increased 7.1 percent, from 1,147 in AY 2016-17 to 1,228 in AY 2017-18.

According to the report, 1,095,299 international students were studying at U.S. higher education institutes during AY 2018-2019, a .05 percent increase over AY 2017-2018. The United States remains the top host of international higher education students globally with 21 percent of the total, double the number of students as the next closest competitor. Engineering, Math and Computer Science, and Business and Management remain the top fields of study for international students studying at U.S. higher education institutes in AY 2018-19. Agriculture was the fastest growing field of study with an increase of 10.3 percent from AY 2017-18, followed by Math and Computer Science with an increase of 9.4 percent from AY 2017-18. The top 10 states for international higher education students remain California, New York, Texas, Massachusetts, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana.

The Open Doors report is released annually during International Education Week (IEW), a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. The U.S. Mission to Vietnam is celebrating IEW 2019 by holding training workshops for university and high school guidance counselors in Danang and Ho Chi Minh City, and information sessions in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to promote study in the United States and provide information on U.S. government scholarship opportunities. Consul General Marie Damour also opened the American Hangout at An Giang University, the second in Vietnam after Can Tho, on November 18 to increase access for students in the Mekong Delta region to learn about the United States, English-language learning materials, and EducationUSA services.

On the eve of the 25th Anniversary of U.S.-Vietnam diplomatic relations, the Open Doors data is demonstrable proof that education remains a cornerstone of the bilateral relationship. With a total of approximately 30,000 Vietnamese students pursuing studies at all levels in the United States, the U.S. Mission to Vietnam will continue to promote opportunities for Vietnamese students to study in the United States through its EducationUSA services, American Centers in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and American Hangouts in Can Tho and An Giang.

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