Education, Headline, Immigration

Record 200,000 Indian students chose US for higher studies

Photo credit: Humber College

With 19% increase, Indians make up one fifth of over one million foreign students in US

For the second year in a row, a record number of almost 200,000 Indian students chose the United States to pursue higher education, in the 2021-22 academic year, according to the Open Doors Report.

This marks a 19% increase over the previous year, according to the annual report released on Nov 14. Indian students now make up nearly 21% of the over one million foreign students studying in the US.

Read: US remains top choice for Indian students for study abroad (November 16, 2021)

In 2012-13, there were 96,654 Indian students in higher education in the US, noted the report published by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in partnership with the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

In 2021-22, more than double that number — 1,99,182 — of Indian students were pursuing higher education in the US, as against 1,67,582 in 2020-21, according to the report.

Open Doors 2022 report includes international students enrolled at US higher education institutions in the US and online from abroad, and those on Optional Practical Training (OPT) from Fall 2021 to Spring 2022.

“Congratulations to India on leading the globe in the number of students choosing the United States,” said Gloria Berbena Minister Counselor for Public Diplomacy at the US embassy in New Delhi.

“It’s clear Indian students and their parents recognize the value of a US education, one that prepares them to leverage their newly gained know-how to tackle the world’s challenges and readies them for future opportunities, whether that’s in artificial intelligence, emerging technologies, or entrepreneurship and innovation,” she said.

Read: US remains top choice for Indian students; UK sees massive jump (September 27, 2021)

The rise in Indian students moving to the US is likely to overtake China in 2022-23, with 82,000 visas issued between June and August — the highest number among all countries as against 62,000 student visas issued in 2021-22, according to Don Heflin, Minister Counsellor for Consular Affairs.

In contrast, China fell behind India as strict quarantine norms and travel restrictions due to Covid made it harder for Chinese students to acquire visas. Heflin said that around 110,000-120,000 visas are issued to Chinese students, which fell to around 50,000.

In 2021-22, China and India collectively accounted for 52% of all international students in the US, according to the Open Doors report.

China showed a drop of 9% in the latest round, with the number of Chinese students pursuing higher education in the US going down from 3,17,299 in 2020-21 to 2,90,086 in 2021-22.

A decade ago, there were 2,35,597 Chinese higher education students in the US. The rise in Indian numbers came after the slump caused by pandemic years.

Read: Over 200,000 students went to US for higher studies in 2021-22: Report (November 14, 2022)

Between 2018-19 and 2019-20, as well as 2019-20 and 2020-21, the number of Indian students enrolled in US universities had fallen by 4.4% and 13.2% respectively.

The 19% increase in Indian students studying in America was largely driven by graduate students, Heflin said. A majority of Indian students chose Math and Computer Science, Engineering and Business, and Management.

Overall, the total number of international students pursuing higher education in the US went up from 914,000 in 2020-21 to 948,000 in 2021-22.

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