United States of America remains top host of overseas students globally

United States of America – Admissions from the overseas students in the US breached one million mark for three years in a row, thus showing an upward tick of 1.5% to 1,0,94,792 million, citing a study conducted by 2018 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, which was released yesterday by the Institute of International Education (IEE) and the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), a PTI report said.

Impact of international education on the US higher education sector

As per the report, these new statistics highlighted the impact of international education on the US higher education sector, examining the numbers and profile of overseas students in the US in 2017-18 and the US students receiving academic credit for study abroad in 2016-17. According to the survey, America remained the top host of international students globally, noted the report.

International students made a significant financial impact on the US in 2017, contributing $42.4 billion to the country’s economy through tuition, room and board, and other expenses, citing the US Department of Commerce, the report said.

Marie Royce, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs said, “International students studying alongside Americans are a tremendous asset to the United States. We need to develop leaders in all fields who can take on our toughest challenges. We need people who can find solutions that keep us secure and make us more prosperous. We want to send a message that international education makes us stronger as a country.”

As for the American students, study abroad numbers rose by 2.3% as 332,727 Americans are studying in various overseas nations for academic credit at their home institutions in 2016-7. In other words, one in ten American students study abroad during their undergraduate career, the report said.

What is more, Open Doors 2018 shows that the profile of American students going abroad continues to diversify. The number of students who identify as racial or ethnic minorities who studied abroad in 2016-2017 was 29.2%. In 2005-06, racial and ethnic minorities accounted for only 17% of the study abroad population.

Dr Allan E. Goodman, president and CEO of IIE told the agency, “Expanding access to opportunity through international education helps us build stronger ties across the world. International students have more choices than ever before on where to pursue higher education. The dedication of American colleges and universities to students’ academic, professional, and personal success is one of the main factors in our international competitiveness.”

While overall numbers of overseas students increased, new student enrolments dipped by 6.6% in 2017-18, confirming findings from the 2017 fall enrolment survey and continuing a slowing or downward trend first observed in the 2015-16 academic year, the report pointed out.

OPT Training

Present gains in the total number of international students are due primarily to increased participation in the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, which allows international students to practice their skills in the US for up to twelve months during or after they complete their academic programs, or up to 36 months for students who have earned a degree in STEM fields, said a statement from IIE, concurred the report. “OPT participation grew by 15.8 per cent in 2017/18. Among enrolled students, drops were seen primarily at the graduate and non-degree levels,” quoting the IIE statement, the report said.

Number of Indian students increases

The number of Indian students studying in the US increased by 5% since 2018, coming second only to the Chinese students, a US Embassy official told on November 13. The growth, however, went downhill from last year’s 12%, indicating, to an extent, the cost-sensitivity of Indian students in choosing the US as their higher education destination, with a weak rupee causing a steep rise in the cost of living there, it said adding that the number of Indians studying across the US went up by 5.4% to 1, 96,271.

Indians constituted the second largest community of international students, comprising 18% of the total, with China topping the list with one-third of the total international students. However, during the same period, certain countries like Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Canada and Mexico registered negative growth.

“Looking at the past decade’s data, the number of Indians going to the US has doubled. The reasons are clear, Indian students are looking for a great education, and the US continues to offer this,” Joseph Pomper, Minister Counsellor for Consular Affairs, said at the report launch in New Delhi and added, “India provided the second highest amount of graduate students and fourth-most undergraduates. Also of note, the number of American students studying in India increased to 4,704 – 12.5% more than the year before. Top places of origin for international students studying in the US are China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, Mexico, and Brazil.”

The top host states are California, New York, Texas, Massachusetts, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio and Michigan.

“We are thrilled to see a significant increase in the number of American university students choosing India as a study abroad destination. The student exchange programs are one of the best ways to foster meaningful relationships and promote mutual understanding between American and Indian citizens,” said Adam Grotsky, Director of United States – India Educational Foundation (USIEF).

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