NEW DELHI: For the first time in many years, fewer Indian students are going to the US for higher study, while the number of Chinese students has jumped. But, also for the first time, the number of US students in India has jumped by over 44%.
According to the Open Doors annual survey by the US’ International Institute of Education(IIE), students from India decreased by 1% to a total of 104,000. “Yet, India, as a destination for US students study abroad, increased 44.4%,” said the survey. Despite the decline though, Indian students represent 14% of all international students in US higher education and the nation is by far the favourite destination for Indian students overseas.
The spike in Chinese students in the US, the survey said, is largely responsible for the country registering a 5% growth in international students in its colleges and universities during the 2010-11 academic session. China has increased its student population in the US to about 158,000 by 23%, pushing it to the top of foreign sources of students in the US.
Interestingly, India has jumped to 14th place as a destination for US students going overseas. At 3,884, US students in India have climbed by 44%, moving India up from the 21st spot the year before. China remains a greater favourite, with 13,910 US students in China, or a rise of 2% from last year. The beeline for India and China is explained by the global interest in these two rising nations.
According to the study, the college campuses that reported increases in the international student intake also recorded more foreign government sponsorships. This applies for a large number of students from China, said others familiar with the flow of international students to the US. Indian students are overwhelmingly private citizens and depend on funding from scholarships and teaching assistantships. After the recession, many of these have dried up, and this may have had an effect on the student flow, they believe. The Open Doors survey said almost 70% of the funding for international students comes from outside sources.
Usually, the number of international students at colleges and universities in the US increased by 5% to 723,277 during the 2010-11 academic session. It said, this was a record high number of international students in the country, the fifth straight year of student increases – fast emerging as a major service sector earner for the US. “Higher education is among the United States’ top service sector exports, as international students provide significant revenue not just to the host campuses but also to local economies of the host states for living expenses, including room and board, books and supplies, transportation, health insurance, and support for accompanying family members,” the survey said.
The top 10 most popular fields of study for international students in the US continue to be business and management (22%), engineering (19%), mathematics and computer science (9%), physical and life sciences (9%), social sciences (9%), fine & applied arts (5%), health professions (5%), intensive English language (5%), education (2%), humanities (2%) and agriculture (1%).