Indian students pull back from US; China races ahead
Posted on November 15, 2012
WASHINGTON: Fewer Indian students are studying in America these days. The number of students from India in the United States dropped for the second successive year even as there was a surge of Chinese students amid an overall increase of foreign students coming to America.
The annual ”Open Doors” survey of international students in US released this weekend showed 100,270 Indian students in the US in 2011/2012, a 3.5 per cent drop from previous year, after the number peaked at around 105,000 in 2009. Meantime, number of students from China shot up from 157,558 in 2010/2011 to 194,029 in 2011/2012, a 23 per cent increase.
Overall, the number of foreign students in the US in 2011/2012 was 764,495, up from 723,277 the previous year, a 5.7 per cent increase, as US universities strove to attract more international students in what the US Commerce Department estimates is a $ 22.7 billion windfall for the American economy.
Open Doors 2012 reports that more than 70 percent of all international students receive the majority of their funds from sources outside of the United States, including personal and family sources as well as assistance from their home country governments or universities.
The top five countries from where the U.S is hosting international students are China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Canada. Saudi Arabia recorded a big 50 per cent surge, the number of its students going up from 22,704 in 2010/2011 to 34,139 in 2011/2012.
After trailing China for much of the 1990s, the number of students from India overtook the number of Chinese students in early part of last decade, but China has surged ahead since.
The study says factors behind the decline in the numbers from countries such as India and Japan may include global and home country economic issues, growing higher education opportunities at home, and stronger employment opportunities at home after graduation.
The survey reveals that California, New York, Texas, Massachusetts, and Illinois are the top five states for foreign students. The top five universities, each hosting more than 8000 international students, include University of Southern California, Los Angeles; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; New York University, Purdue University; West Lafayette; and Columbia University, New York.
Nearly 50 per cent of foreign students in the U.S study Business and Management (21.8 per cent), Engineering (18 per cent), and Math and Computer Science (9.3 per cent). Humanities and Agriculture are at the bottom of the list.
Nearly 60 per cent of students Indian students in US are in the engineering (36.7 per cent) and math and computer sciences (21.7 per cent) fields. The corresponding number for China is 19.6 per cent and 11.2 per cent. Surprisingly, there are twice as many Chinese students (28.7) per cent pursuing business/management as Indian students, 14.1 per cent of whom are in U.S b-schools.
This 2011/12 data marks the sixth consecutive year that Open Doors reported expansion in the total number of international students in US higher education; there are 31 percent more international students studying at US colleges and universities than there were a decade ago.
Large increases in undergraduate students from Saudi Arabia, funded by Saudi government scholarships, also help explain why international undergraduates studying in the United States now outnumber international graduate students, for the first time in 12 years.
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