Tuesday, November 18, 2014

After 3-yr lull, Indian students rediscover lure of US degrees

The number of Indian students in the United States increased by 6% to 102,673 in the academic year 2013-2014, reversing a three year trend of their declining numbers at American campuses. But Chinese students continued to surge into the US, edging up to 300,000.

The annual `Open Doors' report on international student traffic in and out of the US shows that nearly one in three foreign students on US campuses is now from China (31%) compared to only around one in eight from India (12%). China, India, and Korea (8%) between them account for more than 50% of the 886,000 international students, who contributed $27 billion to the US economy .

The modest reversal in the Indian student inflow into the US belies earlier reports that there has been a 26% spike in their numbers. In fact, after peaking at nearly 105,000 in 2009-2010 academic year, Indian student population in the US dropped to 96,754 in 20122013 as other destinations like the UK, Canada, Australia, and Europe hawked their educational wares before the continuing US allure kicked in this year.

The US remains the preferred destination for foreign students, the report says, hosting more of the world's 4.5 million globally mobile college and university students than any other country in the world, with almost double the number hosted by the UK, the second leading host country .

Still, the Indian student inflow into the US story pales in comparison with that of the Chinese invasion over the past 15 years during which `Open Doors' has monitored the traffic. In 2000, China and India were not too far apart in terms of student traffic into the US, each having close to 45,000 students in the world's most favored destination. At one point in the 1990s, there were more students in the US from India than from China. China has since pulled away. There are now five times as many Chinese students on US campuses as were reported in Open Doors 2000; but only two times as many Indian students.

The last few years has also seen a massive spike in student inflow from Saudi Arabia (which, at 54,000 students) now stands 4th after China, India, and South Korea), mainly on the strength of government scholarships. Significantly, Pakistan, which used to send a large number of students to the US, now does not even feature in the Top 25.

New York University became the leading host university for international students this year, after 12 years during which University of Southern California was the leader. For the first time ever, four institutions broke the 10,000 mark: New York University, University of Southern California, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, and Columbia University, which each hosted more than 10,000 international students.

Source: The Times of India, November 18, 2014

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