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International Student Numbers at U.S. High Schools Decline

November 12, 2020

A total of 69,518 international students were enrolled in U.S. high schools in fall 2019, a 6 percent decline from the prior fall and a 15 percent decline from a peak of 81,981 international high school students in fall 2016, according to a new report from the Institute of International Education and the AIFS Foundation. Many colleges have focused recruitment efforts on this pool of international students enrolled at U.S. high schools.

An estimated 68 percent of international students were seeking U.S. high school diplomas, while the remainder were participating in up to yearlong cultural exchange programs. The declines since 2016 have largely been among diploma-seeking students, while the number of students on exchange visas has stayed fairly stable.

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Elizabeth Redden

Elizabeth Redden, Senior Reporter, covers general higher education topics, religion and higher education, and international higher education for Inside Higher Ed. She has more than a decade of experience as an education journalist. She holds an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing from Columbia University.

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