Number of Indian students enrolled in US colleges falls in 5 years

14 Nov

NEW DELHI: The number of Indian students enrolled in the US colleges and universities fell for the first time in five years in academic year 2010-11, according to a US report.

Indian students, the second largest international cohort in the US, decreased by 1% to 104,000 while the Chinese grew to 158,000, or nearly 22% of the total international student population, the Open Doors report said. International students at US colleges and universities rose 5% to 723,277.

For Institute of International Education, the organisation which publishes the Open Doors report in partnership with the US department of state’s bureau of educational and cultural affairs, the fall in numbers of Indian students in the US is not very significant. IIE president & CEO Allan Goodman said there are twice as many Indian students enrolled in higher education in the US than in the next leading host country, the UK.

They include the total number of Indian students who are currently in the US, including those who finish one level and move on to the next, and others who are on their two-year optional practical training period.

“A drop in this number shows among other things, a larger number of students leaving the US after their higher studies and a drop in the total graduate enrolments from India,” says Vijaya Khandavilli, an education consultant in Delhi. She said students going to US are now becoming more cost-conscious, choosy and brand aware.

Goodman said the trend was probably a result of the economic slowdown and low employment rates in the US.

“The US economy is now picking up and so are international student enrolments in the US. This is likely to show up in next year’s report,” says Rahul Choudaha, a New York-based education expert.

The report said China stood first for the second year in a row. South Korea came third with more than 73,000 students. “One reason for an increased flow of Chinese and Korean students to the US is probably their willingness to fund their own studies. Indian students, who enjoy a huge advantage over most other countries, in terms of English language skills, however are looking for scholarship options and could sometimes drop plans to study in the US if funds are not available,” says Daniel C Levy, distinguished professor at the University of Albany. For the 10th straight year, the University of Southern California topped with 8,615 international students in 2010-11.

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