Vietnamese Enrollments in the US Holding Steady

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Vietnamese Enrollments in the US Holding Steady

12:03 04/11/2022

Vietnamese Enrollments in the US Holding Steady

Here are the latest Vietnam-related stats from the September 2022 SEVIS update. (You can also access these data for Vietnam and other countries using this interactive map.) There was a modest 4% decrease from May to the new school/academic year, which is to be expected as a short-term legacy of the pandemic. The good news is that there has been a resurgence of interest in overseas study among Vietnamese students and parents based on anecdotal and statistical evidence.

There are currently 22,861 students from Vietnam at all levels studying in the US, mostly in higher education vs. 23,809 in May 2022. Vietnam still ranks 6th among places of origin.

China: 251,680 (-2.23%)

India: 240,630 (+18.05%)

South Korea: 45,620 (+1%)

Canada: 29,376 (+.5%)

Brazil: 26,469 (-.47%)

Vietnam: 22,861 (-4%)

Taiwan: 20,795 (+5.27%)

Nigeria: 18,766 (+9.05%)

Saudi Arabia: 17,111 (-8.8%)

Japan: 16,538 (+6.16%)

Vietnam was one of four countries among the top 10 places of origins to experience a decline. The other three were China, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia. 2.23% of all international students in the US are from Vietnam.

Here are some points worth mentioning:

  1. Secondary School Enrollment Continues Its Downward Spiral: The number of boarding and day school students decreased by 27.44% from 1,913 in May 2022 to 1,388. They now comprise 6.1% of total enrollment at all levels, down from 8% in May 2022. This decline should be reversed in the coming year. Keep in mind that this number was 4,114 (13.4%) in March 2019. That’s a precipitous three and half year decrease of 66.26%. Takeaway: Boarding and day schools that recruit in Vietnam must be aggressive in their outreach efforts. One of the main causes of this s this multi-year decline is COVID-19. This market segment should recover in the coming year; whether it will reach pre-COVID levels remains to be seen.
  2. Community Colleges Decreasing in Popularity: Community college enrollment continued to decline from 3,932 in May 2022 to 3,262 in the latest update. That amounts to 14.3% of total enrollment. Takeaway: Those community colleges that have a strong brand presence and existing pipelines of students are likely to be the most successful in the new normal era.
  3. Shift to Four-Year Institutions Continues: The number of Vietnamese studying at four-year institutions was virtually the same at 12,234 (53.5%). The higher percentage is a reflection of the decline in CC enrollments and the ongoing shift from two- to four-year institutions. Takeaway: Since there are fewer students enrolling from boarding and day schools and transferring from community colleges, two important pipelines in recent years, four-year colleges and universities will have to rely more on direct recruitment from Vietnam.
  4. Graduate Programs Gain in Popularity: The number of Master’s students increased slightly from 2,657 in May to 2,807 in September. Doctoral students jumped by 7.39% from 1,813 to 1,947. Takeaway: We’ll have to wait for future updates, but this could indicate a shift in enrollments from undergraduate to graduate.

The number of students enrolled in language programs increased slightly to 612, or 2.7% of the total. There are two main reasons for the low number of Vietnamese studying English in the US: 1) it’s difficult to get a student visa; and 2) there are more and higher quality opportunities to study English at home now than in the past. English proficiency among overseas-bound Vietnamese is better than ever.

Here are the top 10 host states for Vietnamese students. It’s worth noting that WA, which has long ranked 3rd among host states, slipped to 4th behind MA last May and to 5th behind NY in the latest update. The most plausible reason is the steady decrease in the number of Vietnamese studying at WA community colleges, including in their high school completion programs. Nearly half (47%) of all Vietnamese students are in the top five states. (It used to be three states.)

California: 3,589

Texas: 3,217

Massachusetts: 1,502

New York: 1,305

Washington: 1,241

Pennsylvania: 1,116

Florida: 1,071

Ohio: 979

Illinois: 848

Georgia: 605

Finally, the gender gap remains virtually unchanged. 53.3% of all Vietnamese students in the US are female and 46.7% male.

Stay tuned for my next post is about US student visa issuances in Vietnam in FY2022. It places these numbers in context. F-1 issuances in FY2022 (from 10-1-21 to 9-30-22) were at 73% of the 2019 (pre-COVID) numbers.

Mark A. Ashwill, Managing Director and Co-Founder.


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