US: the overall number of foreign scholars increases by 13%

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Posted on February 12, 2024


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A total of 102,366 international scholars are involved in research, teaching, and clinical activities on campuses across the US, representing a 13% year-over-year increase in the number of these scholars.

According to Mirka Martel of IIE, the 2022–2023 Open Doors data exhibit a similar rebound tendency to the growth in the number of international students.

“We really had a steady growth of international scholars coming to the US prior to the Covid-19 pandemic,” the speaker stated.

Data from November of last year’s Open Doors revealed that the number of international students increased by 12% during the 2022–2023 academic year, returning the total to over a million. Although the 2028–19 peak of 136,000 international scholars has not yet fully returned, Martel said that the two years of growth are encouraging.

“This growth is a reflection of US higher education institutions’ ongoing commitment to welcoming scholars from around the world.”

According to the research, 10% of scholars spent less than three months in the nation in 2022–2023; 9% spent three to six months there; and 18% spent six months to a year there. 38% more spent one to three years in the US, while 25% more stayed longer than three years.

The percentage of foreign scholars in the nation for less than six months increased by 6%, according to the researchers, and this increase was “probably caused by the continued easing of Covid-19 travel restrictions and fewer institutions suspending new international scholar appointments.”

In the US, doctorate universities host about 92% of foreign scholars. 78% of the overseas scholars concentrated their efforts in the STEM fields, with Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, and Yale ranking as the top hosting universities for the year.

China and India, the top two countries of origin for overseas academics in the US, both experienced growth. China had 19,556 scholars (up 1% from 2022–2022), whereas India had 16,068 scholars overall in 2022–2023 due to an 8% increase.

India now has more members than before the pandemic, including Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, India, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, and Pakistan. As per the IIE report, Nigeria (+43%), Bangladesh (+36%), and Brazil (+36%) “saw the most robust growth rates.”

The top five places of origin were China, India, South Korea, Brazil, and Canada. Only the overall number of Canadian scholars fell in the most recent academic year—3,832 scholars, a 4% decrease from the previous year—among the top 25 locations of origin for scholars.