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David Comp

I appreciate your post on the number of international students in the United States. It’s always nice to see someone dig deeper into the IIE Open Doors data and, more importantly, into the OECD Education at a Glance data for further analysis and comparison. So often colleagues take only a superficial look at the data to learn the total number of international students studying in the United States, how their current and former institutions rank nationally and among their peer institutions and, in some cases, how their undergraduate alma mater fared in the survey. I agree with your interpretation of the data that the United States saw an increase in international students studying here but that there was a decrease in the overall market share.

Lloyd comments: Thanks for your comment, David. The data can be somewhat misleading if not read closely.


Interesting, although I strongly suspect that OPT growth numbers are simply a reflection of more assiduous efforts on the part of IIE and participating institutions to collect data on students availing themselves of this benefit. With the implementation of SEVIS in 2003 it's become easier, and actually from a regulatory standpoint necessary, to track which students are staying on to pursue post-completion training opportunities - in the pre-SEVIS environment tracking was difficult, and unnecessary. I can't really see counting OPT as a 'growth' category since this is a benefit of student status: one has to be counted as a student first in order to qualify for the benefit. Both a tighter regulatory framework introduced in 2007 and worsening economic conditions are likely to see numbers of students using OPT drop in the coming year or two.

Lloyd comments: Thanks Andrew for your comment. I agree that the numbers for OPT probably reflect counting changes. I also agree that counting OPT at all distorts the "international students in the US" statistics. Dropping that presents a much different picture of our desirability.

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