Wednesday, November 25, 2009

US, UK see 25% drop in student visa applications

The US and UK may not be top destinations for higher education anymore. Over the past one year, the number of Indian students going to these countries has fallen by as much as 20-30%, reports CNBC-TV18's Neeyati Shah. Getting educated on foreign shores seems to be losing its charm. The US, which has been the most popular study destination, has seen a 25-30% drop in the number of visas being granted to Indian students. Visas to the UK have fallen 20-25%, and Australia, which is the least expensive, has been the worst hit with a 50-60% drop.

Experts say there is a sharp fall in the number of visa applications being filed, possibly because scholarships are difficult to come by. Karan Gupta, International Education Consultant, Karan Gupta Consulting, says, "Scholarships have come down. Many business schools are now reluctant on giving large funds to students. Where previously a student could even get 50-80% of the tuition fee as scholarship, those numbers have really come down. Schools don't have that many awards to give. They don't have that many funds at their disposal. We have also seen that student loans have become very difficult to get."

Last year, the inflow of Indian students contributed about USD 3 billion to the US economy. But this number will now fall steeply, as only 30% of US institutions have seen an increase in enrolments by Indian students. Experts say an uncertain job environment is also to blame.

David Johnson, Dean, St Antony's College, Oxford University, says, "A lot of the jobs as we understood them to be in the past are much more virtual. Where there are necessary jobs for the economies of the United Kingdom, United States, Germany, and other parts of Europe are already being done in India because they are outsourced, so jobs are virtual."

The US International Education Foundation says another reason for this low interest is the sharp rise in the number of international schools in India. But countries like the UK are confident that numbers will become better. They expect a standard 15-20% increase in the number of students choosing to study on British shores.

Source: CNBC India

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