Monday, November 15, 2010

India loses top spot in U.S. universities to China

A popular wisecrack goes that Indian students particularly engineers catch a flight to the U.S. for higher education immediately after their graduation ceremony. There's always been some truth in that humorous exaggeration; from 2000, particularly, there have been more Indian students on U.S. campuses than from any other country. But in 2010, China seems to have upstaged India on campus.

In the late 1990s, Chinese students dominated the foreign student population in the U.S. before being overtaken by Indians. This year, data released by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) reveals that after a year of zero growth, when U.S. universities saw no rise in the number of foreign students, international enrollments are up marginally. But the largest contributor has been China. In fact, this year, the U.K. has issued 57,500 visas to Indian students, almost double the 32,000 visas issued by the U.S.

The CGS data shows that in 2009 and 2010, fresh enrolments from India fell sharply. This year, the United Kingdom seems to have replaced the U.S. as the favourite education destination for Indians.
Findings on fresh admissions reveal that both offers of admission to prospective students from India as well as admissions have fallen in 2010, the former by 5% and the latter by 3%.

The council's findings on fresh annual enrollments are different from those released by the International Institute of Education (IIE) --- the latter maps all of the total international students on campuses in the U.S., irrespective of their year of arrival. But it is CGS's figures that give the real indication of annual student movement to the U.S. According to CGS, China, India, South Korea and the Middle East, and Turkey, in that order, now make up the key student-sending countries to the U.S.

While first-time graduate enrolments declined 3% for both South Korean and Indian students in 2010, the free fall that occurred last year has slowed, the report notes. But even after three consecutive years of decline in first-time enrolment numbers from India, there are more Indian students in U.S. graduate schools today than there were in 2005.

In fact, the dropping enrolments forced the IIE to conduct a survey on Indians perceptions of the U.S. as an educational destination. The weaknesses listed included the soaring cost of tuition, cost of school application process and the fact that the U.S. was further from home as compared to the U.K.

Source: The Times of India, November 15, 2010
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