The latest data from the Institute of International Education (IIE) highlights Chinese students maintain a strong presence in the US, numbering 289,526 during the 2022-23 school year, slightly down from the previous year. Despite concerns about heightened scrutiny for Chinese students at US borders, mainland China remains the top country of origin for international students in the US.

Over the past two years, the Chinese embassy in Washington reports that a minimum of 70 Chinese students, holding valid visas, faced ‘interrogation, harassment, and deportation’ upon entry by US law enforcement.

But while there has been some evidence that mainland Chinese, particularly those from non-elite backgrounds, are looking elsewhere for their studies, the US still hosts nearly double the number of Chinese students compared with the next largest host, Britain, according to the State Department.

The State Department issued about 91,000 visas this year to Chinese students, according to Brenda Grewe of the department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs.

Despite signs that mainland Chinese students, especially those from non-elite backgrounds, are exploring alternative study destinations, the US remains the top choice, hosting nearly double the number of Chinese students compared to the next largest host, Britain, as per the State Department. Approximately 91,000 visas were issued to Chinese students this year, according to Brenda Grewe from the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs.

Marianne Craven, also from the State Department, emphasized the priority and value of Chinese students to US universities, underscoring China’s significance in colleges’ recruitment efforts. However, mirroring a trend from the previous academic year, the number of Chinese students pursuing undergraduate studies dropped in 2022-23 to 100,349, reflecting an 8.4% decrease.

Continuing a trend from the previous year, Chinese graduate student enrollment in the US experienced a single-digit percentage increase. In the academic year 2022-23, the number of graduate students rose by 2.3%, totaling 126,028 and representing 43.5% of the Chinese student population.

Similar to the previous year, approximately half of Chinese students pursued studies in mathematics, computer science, engineering, and other STEM subjects.

In contrast, enrollment from India, the second-largest source of foreign students in the US, reached a record high in the 2022-23 academic year, surging by 35% to 268,923 compared to the previous year.