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Flow of Indian students to US sees 29% jump

Livemint:  November 17, 2015

New Delhi: The number of Indians studying in the US rose nearly 30% in 2014-15 even as that country earned some $30 billion from international students during the year.

The significant rise in the number of Indians pursuing education in the US comes after a lull of about five years.

From 102,673 students enrolled in US institutions in 2013-14, the number rose to 132,888 in 2014-15, data released on Monday showed.

The 2014-15 number is a record. Since 2010, the number of Indian students in the US has plateaued at 97,000-103,000 a year.

Greater economic stability in the US contributed to the increase in the number of Indian students going in search of quality education, Matthew K. Asada, first secretary at the US embassy in New Delhi, said while releasing the data.

In 2014-15, the US hosted 974,926 international students, a 10% increase over the previous year. India is the second leading place of origin for them, accounting for 13.6% of international students in the US, according to Open Doors, a database of students studying or teaching in the US and other countries.

“The number of students from India increased by 29.4% to a record high of 132,888. This is the highest rate of growth for Indian students in the history of the Open Doors project, which dates back to 1954-55,” the Open Doors report said.

China continues to be the biggest country of origin for international students enrolled in American institutions.

In 2014-15, 304,040 Chinese students were studying in the US, up from 274,439 the previous year.

The Chinese students’ numbers increased 10.8%.

“The continued growth in international students coming to the US for higher education has a significant positive economic impact,” the Open Doors report said. “International students contributed more than $30 billion to the US economy in 2014, according to the (US) department of commerce.”

Open Doors reported that about 73% of all international students receive the majority of their funds from sources outside the US, including personal and family sources as well as assistance from their home country governments or universities.

“Students from around the world who study in the US also contribute to America’s scientific and technical research and bring international perspectives into US classrooms, helping prepare American students for global careers, and often lead to longer-term business relationships and economic benefits,” the report added.

Apart from China and India, South Korea (third), Saudi Arabia (fourth) and Canada (fifth) are the other three countries which fill US educational institutions.

Among the Indian students in the US, about 80% are studying engineering, mathematics, computer science and business, the data show.

As many as 37.5% of Indian students are pursuing engineering, the highest for any stream.

Of the total number of Indian students, 12% are pursuing undergraduate studies, 64% are enrolled in graduate degree courses, and the rest are in non-degree, post-education training and allied courses.

Though some US universities are eager to take in students in non-STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) categories, they cannot ignore the preferences of students from India, said Adam J. Grotsky, executive director of the United States-India Educational Foundation.

Interestingly, while India sends over a 100,000 students a year to the US on average, 4,583 American students were pursuing their education in India in 2013-14. The data for 2014-15 is yet to be compiled.

The growth in the number of international students in the US comes at a time when it is going down in the UK, another popular destination.

In April 2014, The Guardian newspaper reported that “for the first time in 29 years the number of international students enrolling in England’s universities decreased. In 2013, there was a 50% drop in the number of postgraduate students coming from India and Pakistan, and close to a 25% drop in the number of students who enrolled from the European Union, compared with last year”.

The number of Indian students going to the UK fell from 18,535 in 2010-11 to 10,235 in 2012-13, according to a report by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

The decline in student flow to countries like the UK has benefited the US, said Vineet Gupta, managing director of Jamboree Education, an education training and counselling company.

“Post-economic recession, the US economy now is more stable and its preeminent position as a education destination has resulted in the growth of student flow in general, more so in engineering and computer science streams,” he said.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.