Annual Report on English Language Programs in the USA

EnglishUSA and BONARD release results of the inaugural annual report on English Language Programs in the United States

August, 2023

See the executive summary

August, 2023 – A pioneering report sheds light on US English language programs (ELP), highlighting the vital role of data in shaping the sector’s future.

The results not only reveal crucial insights, but also underscore the awaited necessity for this data in the country. The study engaged a diverse range of 289 US ELPs, signaling a substantial demand for data, who took part because they were keen to enhance their understanding of English language student preferences and refine their student recruitment processes accordingly.

“This data will complement the IIE IEP Open Doors annual reports and SEVIS by the Numbers reports by providing additional enrollment details on age groups, student sources, course types, visa types, and more,” said Cheryl Delk-Le Good, EnglishUSA’s Executive Director. The insights provided in this report will also strengthen advocacy efforts, enabling EnglishUSA to better represent and support its membership and the entire ELP community.

The report introduces previously unavailable market statistics and trends including student breakdowns by age group, recruitment channel, visa type, and course type.

“The partnership with BONARD, known for its successful IEP enrollment data collection efforts in other countries, ensures that we will develop an internationally recognized standard data set tailored to meet the industry’s specific needs,” said Delk-Le Good.

Moreover, according to Ivana Bartosik, International Education Director at BONARD, the new knowledge will enable the US to “effectively benchmark its global standing in the ELP industry against other key destinations.”



Key findings include:

  • 70,579 students enrolled with responding ELPs in 2022: These English language students collectively studied for over 714,000 student weeks, with an average length of stay of 10.1 weeks.

  • 16% of all English language learners are juniors: The US market is dominated by adult English language learners (84%).

  • Direct enrollment and agents are the primary recruitment channels: Almost half of the students (45%) opted for direct enrollment through their chosen providers, but education agents also wield substantial influence, representing 21% of total bookings.

  • Most ELP students enroll on F-1 visas: 62% of students opt for F-1 visas, and 25% of students are visa-exempt, representing categories such as ESTA recipients, citizens, residents, and asylum seekers.

  • The ELP sector is estimated to contribute $1 billion to the US economy: The direct economic contribution of English language students at the responding programs was valued at $0.8 billion.

For more key insights, please refer to the executive summary available below:





Executive summary


Data collection and reporting were partially funded by the Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration’s Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) grant that EnglishUSA received in October 2022. The MDCP project “Promoting and Supporting English Language Programs (PASELS)” comprises several initiatives, and the enhanced data collection in this report will inform future endeavors.

The research was conducted by means of an online survey administered between February 2023 and April 2023 that gathered data from a diverse sample of 289 ELPs of all types (private, university-governed, college-governed, and community college-governed).

EnglishUSA is the largest and most diverse professional association of intensive English, pathway, and support programs and courses in the U.S. with a membership of over 215 accredited English language programs. Since 1986, EnglishUSA has been supporting the professional development of ELP leaders and staff, representing its constituents among multiple international education associations and with government agencies, and increasing the visibility of English language study in the U.S. For more information, visit

BONARD is a market research provider with 15 years of experience in the international education sector. Leveraging evidence-based solutions, BONARD assists governments, destinations, and individual providers in developing tailored strategies and policies. With researchers who are members of ESOMAR World Research, BONARD is committed to delivering reliable market insights. Learn more about BONARD at

For more information about the report, please contact:

Cheryl Delk-Le Good, EnglishUSA Executive Director,

Ivana Bartosik (Slobodnikova), BONARD’s International Education Director:


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