Students from India studying in the USA increase by 25% to 165,918

The USA – The number of international students at American colleges and universities surpassed one million for the first time during the 2015-16 academic year—an increase of 7% from the previous year to a new high of nearly 1,044,000, representing five per cent of the total student population at U.S. institutions.  Citing the 2016 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, released recently, a statement issued by the US Embassy in India said. This strong growth confirms that the US remains the destination of choice in higher education.

The US hosts more of the world’s 4.5 million globally mobile college and university students than any other country in the world, more than double the number hosted by the UK, the second leading host country. In 2015-16, there were nearly 69,000 more international students in US higher education compared to the previous year. The Open Doors® report is published annually by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, said the statement.

The record number of Indian Students

The new report indicates there were a record 165,918 students from India, a 25% increase on the year before, making it the second leading country of origin among international students in the US. This was the highest absolute increase of students ever and followed the previous year’s record growth.

Richard R Verma, the US Ambassador to India is quoted as saying by the statement, “Higher education continues to be the bedrock of our people to people ties. More students from India studied in the United States than ever before – at all levels – and I am especially pleased to see the record back-to-back, year-on-year growth in student numbers. With efforts such as our Passport to India initiative, we are also seeing the number of American students in India beginning to grow.”

New High

Stating that India accounts for one out of every six international students in the US, the report said that an estimated three-fifths of Indian students were at the graduate level and three-fourths were in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Open Doors also reports that more than 313,000 American students received credit last year for study abroad during 2014-15, an increase of nearly three per cent over the previous year. India is ranked 13th among the top 25 destinations of U.S. study abroad. The number of U.S. students going to India to study for academic credit at their home university in the United States decreased by 3.2 per cent to 4,438, although this number has remained relatively flat across the last five years at 4,500.

The release of the new Open Doors data marks the celebration of International Education Week, a joint initiative of the US  Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from other countries to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.

To mark International Education Week, the U.S. Embassy is rolling out a series of short social media videos with Indians who have returned from studies in the United States and highlighting the activities of its seven Education USA centres in the country.  The Consulates are “Bringing Education to You” through a series of outreach events partnering with chambers of commerce, local universities, television stations, and other diplomatic missions. The U.S. Embassy’s Foreign Commercial Service has a trade mission of twenty U.S. higher education institutions visiting Kathmandu, New Delhi, Kolkata and Thiruvananthapuram from November 14-19, including university fairs in each city.

Evan Ryan, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State said, “We need to empower more of America’s future leaders to experience the world beyond our borders. International education helps people develop the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in today’s global economy, and creates networks across borders that improve international understanding and strengthen the national security of the US.”

The IIE President Allan Goodman said, “The Open Doors findings show that international students value the quality, diversity and strong reputation of US institutions and recognise that these institutions will give them opportunities that can help them not only in their education but also in their careers. At the Institute of International Education, we believe American colleges and universities offer a premier education and valuable training to students from around the globe and that students from other nations also teach us a lot about the world we share. The more we can open doors to other cultures for our students, the better off our country and our world will be.”

There are now 85% more international students studying at American colleges and universities that were reported a decade ago, and this marks the tenth consecutive year that Open Doors said expansion in the total number of international students in US higher education. International students now constitute just over five per cent of the more than 20 million students enrolled in US higher education, up from around four per cent in previous years. This increase is due to both the growing numbers of international students and the declining number of American students enrolled in US higher education, added the statement.

Image source: Joey Csunyo

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