IIE 2017 data show decline in international student enrollments for English training

 IIE Releases Intensive English Program (IEP) Data on 2017 International Student Enrollments

Overall, 86,786 international students participated in an intensive English program (IEP) in the United States in 2017, according to recently released IIE data. IEP programs in United States are offered by higher education institutions and independent providers, and are one way for international students to initiate their education in the United States. In 2017, 51 percent of IEP students intended to further their study in the United States following the completion of their program.

The latest figures represent a 20 percent decline in IEP enrollment from 2016 to 2017, following a decline of 19 percent the year prior. IEP students studied in the United States for an average of 14 weeks in 2017, consistent with the average of 14 student-weeks in 2016. Fluctuations in IEP enrollments are contingent on a variety of factors, but the sharpest declines can be traced to changes in foreign government-funded scholarship programs.

The number of IEP students from Saudi Arabia, the top-sending place of origin from 2010 to 2015, fell by 46.5 percent from 2016 to 2017. Declines in Saudi enrollments are attributable to changes in Saudi Arabia’s government scholarship program. Mexican IEP student enrollments also fell by 58.6 percent, after growing 40 percent from 2015 to 2016.

China is currently the leading place of origin for IEP students, sending 19,756 students in 2017, despite a 7.7 percent drop in enrollment numbers. Of the top-10 sending countries, Brazil was the only place of origin to see an increase in enrollments at 11.1 percent, a reversal from the previous two years of declining Brazilian IEP enrollments after the end of Brazil’s Scientific Mobility Program.
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