US-bound M’sians third highest among SEA students

MALAYSIA has been ranked third among South-East Asian (SEA) countries for having the most students heading to the United States for the 2019/20 academic year.

According to official figures, a total of 6,910 Malaysians headed to the US to pursue their higher studies in that period.

Vietnam topped the list with 23,777 students while Indonesia ranked second with 8,300 students in the same year.

Despite the ranking, Malaysia has seen a decrease in the trend over the last three years, with the 2019/20 academic year recording a decline of 10 per cent compared to the preceding year, which saw an enrolment of 7,709 students.

This was a downward slide from 8,271 Malaysian student enrolments in the US in the 2017/18 academic year, reported artificial intelligence-backed education search platform in a press release on July 26. is based in Pristina, Kosovo, with branches across Europe.

Official data also revealed that 1,075,496 international students made the US their study destination during the 2019/20 academic year.

This number accounted for 5.5 per cent of all student population in the US, despite a slight decline of 1.8 per cent.

Other SEA countries with students heading to the US in the said academic year were Thailand (6,154); Singapore (4,504); the Philippines (3,295); Myanmar (1,828); Cambodia (742); Laos (131); Brunei (54); and Timor-Leste (30).

Malaysia recorded the highest number of student enrolments in the US, totalling over 21,000, in the 1984/85 academic year.

US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur spokesperson Michelle Kevern said studying in the US continues to be a popular choice among Malaysians because of the quality of the country’s higher education institutions and the wide range of options available. “The ties and friendships these students make during their studies are so important to the relationship between the US and Malaysia, and strengthen our ability to work together in the long term.

“Malaysians looking for information on studying in the US can reach out to EducationUSA Malaysia for free advising services via its website (,” she told StarEdu.

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