Overall, foreign student enrollment at U.S. colleges jumped 10% in 2014-15 to a record 974,927. China supplied nearly one-third of last year’s tally, but build its own education infrastructure to keep students at home.
New-student enrollments by foreign students at U.S. colleges and universities fell 3.3% in 2015 – 2016, the first decline in a decade. Overall international-student enrollments rose by 3.4%, to 1.08 million, a record high but the smallest year-over-year gain since 2009. Many institutions have grown reliant on a steady stream of students from other countries to counter tight state funding and high tuition discounts that are now the norm for local students.
In the year 2016- 2017 ending Sept. the State Department issued 393,573 student visas, known as F-1s. That was down 17% from the previous fiscal year and nearly 40% below the 2015 peak. The drop-off was particularly dramatic among Indian students this year, with a 28% decline in visas from the second-biggest feeder of foreign students at U.S. colleges.
There was also a big drop from China—down 24% last year and the No. 1 source of foreign students in the U.S. China has invested heavily in its local institutions in recent years, pushing to keep intellectual talent close to home.