1, 86, 267 Indian students enrolled in US universities in 2016-17 as India still remains the top second country as the source for overseas students. China is ahead as the number one source nation for overseas students to the US. US economy received a contribution of 6.54 billion US dollars from students from India in the previous fiscal year.
There was an increase of 12% for the overall growth of Indian students arriving in the US. However, the enrolment of fresh students from India was almost flat with just 1.3%. These statistics have been revealed by the yearly ‘Open Doors’ report on overseas education. The report was prepared by Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State and Institute of International Education, New York.
Center for Academic Mobility Research & Impact Director Rajika Bhandari at IIE said that the hike in a number of Indian students enrolled in US universities was mainly due to extended OPT. Optional Practical Training for a period of 36 months is offered to students in STEM subjects. This includes Math, Engineering, Technology, and Science.
Ms. Bhandari said that the overall figures may show growth of student numbers. However, the decline in enrolment of fresh Indian students in US universities is worrisome, added Rajika. It is too premature to conclude the reasons for the declining trends. The increase in the cost of higher education is a crucial factor, said the Director, as quoted by the Economic Times.
Several nations in the world now offer quality education at a lower price and shorter terms, elaborated the Director at IIE. The hardened immigration rhetoric by Trump is also one among the reasons for the decline in numbers of students. The travel ban on certain nations, delays in visas, personal safety issues are all responsible for this, explained Rajika Bhandari.
The State University of New York – University at Buffalo Vice-Provost for International Education, Professor Stephen C. Dunnett commented on the declining trend. There was a small decrease in the enrollment of undergraduates from India. The decrease in the numbers of graduates was still higher for Fall 2016 and 2017, said the Professor. This could be due to appreciating dollar and ambiguity with respect to H1-B visas, added Stephen C. Dunnett.
62, 537 new F1 visas were offered to students from India in 2016-17. This was a decrease of 16.43% when compared with the last year.
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