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Number of Indian students in US on rise again, surpassing the Chinese

The numbers assume more significance when compared to China, which continues to account for the largest cohort of international students in the US with a share of 31 per cent, but with a slower decadal growth rate as its share was already 29 per cent in 2012-13, a look at past data showed.

The growth rate of Indian students heading to the US is likely to surpass China in 2022-23 as well, with 82,000 visas issued between June and August this year — the highest number among all countries. (Representational image)

In the last one decade, the number of Indian students annually picking the United States for higher education has more than doubled, with the country’s share in the total number of international students going up from 11.8 per cent to 21 per cent, according to the Open Doors Report 2022 released Monday.

The numbers assume more significance when compared to China, which continues to account for the largest cohort of international students in the US with a share of 31 per cent, but with a slower decadal growth rate as its share was already 29 per cent in 2012-13, a look at past data showed.

The growth rate of Indian students heading to the US is likely to surpass China in 2022-23 as well, with 82,000 visas issued between June and August this year — the highest number among all countries. The corresponding period in 2021-22 saw 62,000 student visas being issued, said Don Heflin, Minister Counsellor for Consular Affairs at the US embassy in New Delhi.

Overall, the total number of international students pursuing higher education in the US rose from 9.14 lakh in 2020-21 to 9.48 lakh in 2021-22. “The increase is not just limited to Indians. The numbers show that the US remains the top destination for students looking for higher education options and that also demonstrates that the country continues to offer future opportunities,” Heflin said, adding that the “bulk” of the Indian students are registered for master’s programmes.

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In 2021-22, China and India collectively accounted for 52 per cent of all international students in the United States. The Open Doors report, which is a survey of international exchange activity in the United States, is sponsored by the US Department of State and implemented by the non-profit Institute of International Education (IIE).

In absolute numbers, 1,99,182 students with India as their place of origin were pursuing higher education in the US in 2021-22, as against 1,67,582 in 2020-21, which translates to a 19 per cent increase. In 2012-13, there were 96,654 Indian students in higher education in the US.

The numbers show that India has left behind the slump that had set in the year before the pandemic (2019-20). For two successive years, between 2018-19 and 2019-20, as well as 2019-20 and 2020-21, the number of Indian students enrolled in US universities had fallen by 4.4 per cent and 13.2 per cent respectively.

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China, meanwhile, registered a drop of 9 per cent in the latest round, with the number of Chinese students pursuing higher education in the US declining from 3,17,299 in 2020-21 to 2,90,086 in 2021-22. Between 2019-20 and 2020-21, it had fallen by 14.8 per cent respectively.

A decade ago, there were 2,35,597 Chinese higher education students in the US.

Gloria Berbena, Minister Counselor for Public Diplomacy at the US embassy, said: “It is clear that Indian students and their parents recognise the value of a US education, one that prepares them to leverage their newly gained know-how to tackle the world’s challenges.”

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While a course-wise break-up of students was not available, the majority of Indian students chose Math and Computer Science, Engineering and Business, and Management, said another official.

Notably, according to the latest UK immigration statistics released in August, India now accounts for the largest share of study visas issued by the United Kingdom, overtaking China. In the year ending June 2022, the UK issued 4,86,868 sponsored study visas, of which Indian nationals accounted for 1,17,965 — an 89 per cent increase from the previous year. Chinese nationals, meanwhile, were granted 1,15,056 study visas.

First published on: 15-11-2022 at 04:12 IST
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