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India Overtakes China as Leading Source of International Students in US: Report

For the first time in over 15 years, India has eclipsed China as the country from which the majority of foreign graduate students travel to study in the US, with 1.65 lakh Indians seeking postgraduate degrees in the US for the academic year 2022–2023.

During the same time period, there were 1.26 lakh Chinese graduate students studying in the US.

In addition to enrolling in Optional Practical Training (OPT) and other non-degree programs, 2.68 lakh Indian students studied at the undergraduate and graduate levels in the US last year, according to the most recent Open Doors Report, which was made public on Monday.

This marks a 35 per cent increase over the 1.99 lakh students recorded in 2021-22, representing the largest single-year jump in at least 23 years, as shown by data analysed by The Indian Express. 

The previously mentioned achievement also signifies a notable change in the demographic makeup of foreign students enrolled in US universities.

India’s share has doubled over the past decade, rising from 12 per cent in 2012-13 to 25 per cent in 2022-23 — just two percentage points shy of the current Chinese share, which stands at 27 per cent. A decade ago, China’s share was 31 per cent.

In 24 US states, including Illinois, Texas, and Michigan, which are among the most popular states for international students, the number of Indian students now surpasses that of Chinese students.

The US Department of State funds the non-profit Institute of foreign Education (IIE), which conducts the annual Open Doors study that examines foreign student exchange activity in the US.

According to the most recent edition, India has significantly moved over the downturn that had begun in the year prior to the epidemic. For two years in a row, the percentage of Indian students enrolling at US institutions fell by 4.4% and 13.2%, respectively, between 2018–19 and 2019–20 and 2019–20 and 2020–21.

As a continuous trend, engineering is no longer the most popular major chosen by Indian students going to US universities. Programs in computer science and mathematics have been increasingly popular; ten years ago, just 26% of Indian students enrolled in US universities studied these disciplines. presently 41.2% of Indian students study these courses. Actually, the percentage of engineering disciplines that comprise computer science and mathematics is gradually declining; it was 38% ten years ago and will only be 26.9% in 2022–2023.

American Ambassador Eric Garcetti issued a statement in response to the record number of Indian students studying in the US, saying, “The decision to study abroad, and your choice of the United States, represents a valuable investment by you and your families. You are bringing our countries closer together and leading us towards a bright future. We celebrate the strength of the Indian educational system that prepares students to compete globally and look forward to seeing India continue to lead.”

“We also look forward to balancing these record numbers. We want to see equal numbers of women pursuing studies in the United States and see more U.S. students coming to experience all that India has to offer,” he further said.

Even though, as of the academic year 2022–2023, only 5.6% of US college students were foreigners, they represent a significant financial source for US universities because their tuition is typically far higher than that of students from their countries. Together, China and India make up 52% of all international students studying in the United States. Following them in order of highest student sending countries were South Korea, Taiwan, Canada, Vietnam, and Nigeria.

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Source: The Indian Express

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