In­dian stu­dents 2nd largest in US; con­trib­ute $6.5 bil­lion

Financial Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - LALIT K JHA

IN­DI­ANS reg­is­tered an im­pres­sive dou­ble-digit growth of 12.3 per cent in the last one year to be­come the sec­ond largest group of in­ter­na­tional stu­dents in the US af­ter China, con­tribut­ing $6.5 bil­lion to the coun­try's econ­omy in 2016, a re­port said on Mon­day. In the 2016-17 aca­demic year, 186,267 stu­dents from In­dia were study­ing in the US, said the an­nual Open Doors re­port of the In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion (IIE).

In­dia is the sec­ond lead­ing place of ori­gin for stu­dents com­ing to the US, com­pris­ing 17.3 per cent of the to­tal in­ter­na­tional stu­dents in the US, it said. China had a to­tal of 350,755 stu­dents, reg­is­ter­ing an in­crease of 6.8 per cent.

The ma­jor­ity of In­dian stu­dents in the US study at the grad­u­ate level, the re­port said, adding in 201617, their break­down was: 11.8 per cent un­der­grad­u­ate; 56.3 per cent grad­u­ate; 1.2 per cent other; and 30.7 per cent OPT (op­tional prac­ti­cal train­ing).

Last year, In­dian stu­dents in US col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties con­trib­uted $6.54 bil­lion to the US econ­omy, the re­port said, cit­ing a De­part­ment of Com­merce fig­ures.

Ac­cord­ing to the 2017 Open Doors Re­port on In­ter­na­tional Ed­u­ca­tional Ex­change data re­leased by the IIE and the De­part­ment of State Bureau of Ed­u­ca­tional and Cul­tural Af­fairs, the num­ber of for­eign stu­dents in the US in­creased by 3 per cent over the prior year, and the num­ber of Amer­i­can stu­dents study­ing abroad in­creased by 4 per cent from the prior year.

In 2016-17, for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year, for­eign stu­dents in US col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties, reached a record high of 1.08 mil­lion.

No­tably, the num­ber of new for­eign stu­dents -those en­rolled at a US in­sti­tu­tion for the first time in fall 2016 -- de­clined 3 per cent from the pre­vi­ous year to about 291,000. This is the first time that these num­bers have de­clined in the six years since Open Doors has re­ported en­rol­ments.

“In­ter­na­tional stu­dent ex­change is an es­sen­tial con­trib­u­tor to Amer­ica’s eco­nomic com­pet­i­tive­ness and na­tional se­cu­rity,” said Alyson L Grun­der, deputy as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of state for pol­icy in the Bureau of Ed­u­ca­tional and Cul­tural Af­fairs.

“The US higher ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor re­mains the global leader in wel­com­ing stu­dents from around the world, and at the same time, we are com­mit­ted to in­creas­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to study abroad for Amer­i­cans,” Grun­der said.

The IIE pres­i­dent and CEO Al­lan E Good­man said coun­tries and multi­na­tional em­ploy­ers around the world are com­pet­ing to at­tract top tal­ent. “As more coun­tries be­come ac­tive hosts of in­ter­na­tional stu­dents and im­ple­ment na­tional strate­gies to at­tract them, the com­pe­ti­tion for top global tal­ent in higher ed­u­ca­tion and the work­force will only in­ten­sify,” he said.

As stu­dents are at­tracted to the high qual­ity and di­verse op­por­tu­ni­ties of­fered by US uni­ver­si­ties, he said it was crit­i­cal for US in­sti­tu­tions to set strate­gic goals and be proac­tive in reach­ing out to stu­dents in the com­ing year, and for the US to keep its aca­demic doors open to stu­dents from all over the world.

The top places of ori­gin for for­eign stu­dents in the US were China, In­dia, South Korea, Saudi Ara­bia, Canada, Viet­nam, Tai­wan, Ja­pan, Mex­ico and Brazil.

The top host states were Cal­i­for­nia, New York, Texas, Mas­sachusetts, Illinois, Penn­syl­va­nia, Florida, Ohio, Michi­gan, and In­di­ana. For­eign stu­dents in each of these states in­creases in 2016-17.

The top host des­ti­na­tions for US stu­dents study­ing abroad in 2015/16 were the UK, Italy, Spain, France and Ger­many. The num­ber of Amer­i­can stu­dents in In­dia dropped from 4,438 to 4,181 with In­dia rank­ing 15.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, in­sti­tu­tions ex­press con­cerns about re­cruit­ing stu­dents from the Mid­dle East and North Africa (76 per cent) likely due to ad­just­ments in the Saudi Ara­bian gov­ern­ment’s schol­ar­ship pro­gramme and po­ten­tial con­cerns about travel re­stric­tions to the US.

Re­cruit­ing con­cerns were also re­ported for: Asia/ex­clud­ing China and In­dia (73 per cent), China (71 per cent), and In­dia (68 per cent).

With two-thirds of all for­eign stu­dents in the US from Asia, ap­pre­hen­sions are likely re­lated to the fact that any shifts in stu­dent in­ter­est would sig­nif­i­cantly im­pact over­all en­rol­ment, it said. “In­sti­tu­tions re­ported they are con­tin­u­ing to pri­ori­tise for­eign stu­dent out­reach and re­cruit­ment in Asia, par­tic­u­larly China (67 per cent), Viet­nam (51 per cent), and In­dia (48 per cent),” the re­port said.

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