For the 2018/19 academic year, the total number of international students enrolled in U.S. higher education increased by a very slight 0.05 percent to 1,095,299 according to the 2019 Open Doors Report on International Education Exchange published by IIE. It represents the highest total ever recorded and the fourth year in succession that the number of international students has surpassed one million. Students from abroad make up 5.5 percent of the total U.S. student population and they contributed $44.7 billion to the American economy in 2018.
Despite rising tensions and the trade war between Beijing and Washington, China remained the largest source country for international students with a grand total of 369,548 enrolled in undergraduate, graduate, non-degree and optional practicing training programs. India came second with 202,014 while South Korea came third with 52,250. Some of the strongest growth was recorded in emerging countries inlcuding Bangladesh (10 percent), Brazil (9.8 percent), Nigeria (5.8 percent) and Pakistan (5.6 percent). 51.6 percent of all international students in the U.S. are enrolled in STEM fields.