The Open Doors report, an annual collection of data from institutions around the United States, was recently released for 2023. Schools all around the country submit their numbers and figures for both incoming international students and scholars as well as outgoing study abroad participation from the previous year. The result is the robust and comprehensive Open Doors Report, which offers a snapshot of the state of international education in the US thanks to the committed participation of a large number of institutions. The survey is “sponsored by the US Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and supported in its implementation by [the Institute for International Education] IIE.”
It’s important to note the reported timelines when reviewing Open Doors Data. For the 2023 Open Doors Report, the following time periods were reported on:
- Fall 2022 total international student enrollment for the 2022-2023 academic year
- Fall 2021-Summer 2022 study abroad participation
This year’s data shows that international education is beginning to recover from the decimating impact of COVID. While study abroad participation is not yet back to pre-COVID levels, there was a major increase from the previous reported year (Fall 2020-Summer 2021), with a 1,197% increase. Of course, this is due to the drastic decrease in participation in the height of COVID (2020-2021), so we anticipate this number continuing to increase and eventually surpass pre-COVID numbers within a few years. Prior to 2020, study abroad numbers were in the 300,000s; this year’s report, for 2021-2022, shows that 188,753 students studied abroad for academic credit.
Meanwhile, the number of incoming international students, which is based on Fall 2022 enrollment, saw a nearly 12% increase from Fall 2021 with 1,057,188 reported international students. In the last reported year prior to COVID (2019-2020), there were 1,075,496 international students in the US. So, we are quickly returning to that high volume of international students, which has been steadily increasing since the 1960s.
In addition to overall numbers, the Open Doors Report also shows the top places of origin of international students and the top destinations for study abroad participants. This is helpful in understanding trends, preparing for student arrival, and understanding the student experience.
The top 5 places of origin of international students for 2022-2023 are: China, India, South Korea, Canada, and Vietnam. Do these closely match your most popular places of origin for your international students, or does our population look quite different from this?
For study abroad participation, the top 5 destinations for 2021-2022 are: Italy, United Kingdom, Spain, France, and Germany. South Korea was the only country in Asia that appeared on the top 25 destinations list, but this will likely change as we get further out from the effects of the global pandemic.
Overall, we at ISI are encouraged to see the numbers of international education participation increasing again after a tough couple of years. We are glad to see the entire world recovering from the global pandemic, and are eager to see more cultural exchange and educational experiences unfold as we all get back to a new normal.
For more information about the Open Doors Report, to review high level data, or to purchase the full report, please visit opendoorsdata.org.