MUMBAI: Indian students going to the US went up by 29.4 per cent this year, a record high, revealed the Open Doors Report on International Education Exchange released on Monday.
From hosting around 1.02 lakh Indian students last year, US has been the destination for 30,000 more students in 2014-15 – the largest growth from a single country. The single-year growth rate for India is the highest in the history of open doors, since 1954-55, comparable only with the growth witnessed in 2000-01, when the jump was of 29.1 per cent. Experts attribute the jump to the surge in international schools in the country, which makes overseas education an attractive choice for Indian students, stabilizing rupee value, and liberal economic policies.
In the same period last year, the growth rate was just about 6.11 per cent. This was after the enrolment of Indian students in US universities dipped for three consecutive years between 2010 and 2013. Over the last 10 years, the number of students in the US has gone up by 73.7 per cent. Even as the number of Indian students pursing graduate studies went up by 39.3 per cent in the last year adding to the overall growth, the influx of international schools in the country has led to a good jump of 30.3 per cent among students pursuing undergraduate studies too. Maximum numbers of Indians pursue graduate studies (64 per cent) in the US, followed by optional practical training (22 per cent) and undergraduate studies (12 per cent). Texas emerged as the top study abroad destination for Indian students in the US, while California and New York are a close second and third.
The Open Doors report is annually published by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the US department of state’s bureau of education and cultural affairs.
While Open Doors does not compile region-wise data for their international students, Michael Evans, consular section chief, mentioned that Gujarat and Maharashtra make up the biggest students’ pool from the western region. “We have had the highest number of visa applications, including students’ visas, from these two states in the western region,” he said. The region also includes Chhattisgarh, Goa and Madhya Pradesh. In the last one year, there has been a 56 per cent rise in the students’ visas issued in the country, when the western region saw a jump of 89 per cent.
The US Consul General Thomas Vajda added that the consular section offers information sessions on the student visa process to schools and students across the five states. “US students coming to India to study for academic credit increased by five per cent to 4,583 this year, making it the 12th leading destination for US study abroad,” said Vajda. However, the numbers of US students travelling to India has not increased significantly over the last few years. Vajda added students from the US take into account a lot of aspects before moving to other countries, including programmes, issues of housing, etc. For US students, UK, followed by Italy and Spain remain the top study abroad destinations.
Science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) remained the most popular choice of study among Indian students. Of these, engineering was the top choice, with 37.5 per cent students pursuing it, followed by math/computer with 31.4 per cent students. Kamya Suri from the Indo-American Education Society said many students from Gujarat have been looking at options beyond STEM too. “There are students from international schools who are choosing non-STEM courses and opting for courses such as photography too. Students who are unable to get into STEM are looking at data analytics. The mindsets of parents have changed too,” said Suri.
Ryan Pereira, regional officer, US-India Educational Foundation, said apart from the stabilizing rupee, and international schools which are preparing students for study in the US, the education system also is preferred over other nations as it has flexible options; for example, a student can pursue doctorate after his/her undergraduate programme unlike in India, where a master programme is a pre-requisite.
Indian students in US up by record 29.4%
Posted on November 25, 2015