International student enrollment at U.S. colleges and universities has largely rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, but community colleges haven’t shared in that uptick as their international student enrollment dropped by -12.5% in 2021-22, on top of a -24% decrease the previous year, according to the 2022 “Open Doors” report from the Institute of International Education (IIE).
Overall, international enrollment at community colleges — comprising roughly 1% of U.S. community colleges’ total enrollment — has seen a steady decline since 2017-18, which coincided with the start of the Trump administration. Until then, enrollment edged up slightly each year, hitting a high point in 2016-2017 at 96,472, according to IIE data.
China (10%), Vietnam (9.5%), Japan (6.2%), Mexico (5.8%) and South Korea (5.5%) had the highest percentage of students who attended U.S. community colleges in 2021-22. More than half (52.5%) of international students at U.S. associate institutions were women, compared to 45.2% among international students at all U.S. institutions.
The five community colleges with the most international students were: Lone Star College System in Texas (3,128), Houston Community College System (2,972), Santa Monica College in California (2,115), De Anza College in California (1,415) and Valencia College (1,314) in Florida.