The United States of America is leading all the way as the first choice for Indian students to study abroad, a government report states. According to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the Department of Homeland Security, the number of Indian students in US has increased by 28 per cent to 1,34,292 students. This makes India the second largest foreign student body in US after China.
Engineering, computer science, information technology and support services, and students in other STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields made up 79 per cent of the Indian students pursuing these subjects in America. Business, biology and medicine followed as the next popular field with the social sciences, humanities and liberal arts, and visual and performing arts being the least popular.
The gender balance of Indian students is similarly skewered with 89,561 male students against 44,731 female students.
According to Naveen Chopra, Chairman, The Chopras (an educational consulting group), one of the major reasons for this increase in student enrollment in US is the economy as it is growing now. This, he believes, has further resulted in a fall of the unemployment rate from 10 per cent to 6 per cent.
This increase reflects a greater trend for both Indian undergraduate and graduate students studying in the US. The total number of Indian graduate students enrolled there has jumped 26 per cent to 54,245 students, according to a new report by the American Council of Graduate Schools. This was the second consecutive year of double digit growth, building upon a 14 per cent increase last year, and a sharp reversal in trend from years past when Indian graduate school enrollment was actually decreasing.
The number of Indian students in Australia and New Zealand are also increasing. Australia, which registered a huge dip in Indian student enrollment in 2009 due to a series of racially motivated attacks on Indian students, has gained back momentum with total Indian student visa applications more than doubling from 2012 to 2013.
However, Indian enrollment in the United Kingdom has been plummeting, dropping 44 per cent from 2010-11 to 2012-13. As per the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Indian students’ enrolment has gone down from 18,535 to 10,235 students during the same period.
UK’s universities and sciences minister Nick Clark was recently in India on a 3-day visit to strengthen educational ties between the UK and India and to address “misconceptions” that Indian students might have about the difficulty of obtaining visas to the UK. During his visit he had announced a new five-year initiative to send 25,000 students from the UK to India.