According to a recent report from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program ("SEVP"), there are currently 1.2 million international students using an F or M visa to study in the U.S. across 8,803 certified academic schools and universities, as well as 201,800 J-1 exchange visitors. Thirty-nine percent of these international students (approximately 466,900 individuals) are enrolled in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) courses.
The U.S. maintains the world's largest international student population. According to a Wall Street Journal article from March 24, 2015, "Amid rising costs, shrinking state support and student resistance to tuition increases, foreign students have become crucial to many public universities. Some hire foreign consultants to recruit students overseas, while others send their own staff on scouting missions. Officials at many state universities say the higher-paying students essentially subsidize in-state students." The U.S. international student population adds to the vibrancy and diversity of student bodies and college towns and brings in billions of dollars of economic revenue to the U.S. - and not just in terms of tuition dollars, as students in the U.S. also pay for housing, food, household supplies, personal and professional services, and entertainment.
To read more statistics from the SEVP, visit: https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/sevp-releases-quarterly-international-student-data