Indians top US list of international students


India sent more students to study in the United States than any other country in the 2001-2002 academic year, according to a study released by Institute of International Education in Washington. It accounts for 11.5 per cent of the total overseas students intake by American universities and colleges. The total number of Indian students is 66,836 while the number of Chinese students is 63,211 (10.8 per cent). The number of Indian students rose 22 per cent from the year before, according to the study which was funded by the US State Department's Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.

"We tend to forget that India is as large and developed as it is, and therefore has a huge middle class that values education highly. Both China and India have a shortage of seats. India's combination of mega-size universities, cash-strapped Government budgets and stretched resources means it cannot meet its educational demand.” Alan Goodman, Head of the Institute of International Education.

"The US is seen as an educational destination that builds a strong base for careers. Students who do not gain admission to India's premier institutions see the US as an alternative that will also open doors for them in the future" Jane Schukoske, Executive director of the US Educational Foundation in India.

The increase in the number of students does not necessarily mean that more students came from India this year. According to another set of data from India, the number of F1 Visas in 2002 is not greater than those issued in 2001. One possible explanation for the rise recorded in the US is the economic slowdown in this country. Perhaps several overseas students including Indian students are not finding optional practical training (OPT) opportunities and hence many of them are extending their US study period. Perhaps undergraduate students are continuing as graduate students and masters and doctoral students are simply not graduating. Of course, over the years, the enrolment of Indian students in America has been growing and has doubled in the last five years. Ms Deborah Hefferon of a private educational services company who was associated with a recent road show by American institutions in India said she found the response of Indian students in different cities including Bangalore very enthusiastic. She says the number of undergraduate students from India has been going up. At present, about 75 per cent of Indian students in the US study at graduate level. Many India students before coming to the US want to know about the ranking of different American universities but the US government does not undertake such an exercise though some media organs do. In the US, University of Southern California is the leading host institution for all international students. The most favourite destination for Indian students are University of Texas Arlington, Purdue and Arizona State University.

Courtesy: L K Sharma, DH News Service