Indian students continue to be second leading community among worldwide students in United States, with a rise of 12% this year, says the 2017 Open Doors Report on global Educational Exchange by Institute of global Education (IIE) and the US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs released on Monday.
"It's definitely a wake-up call, but by no means is it a crisis, and it does not come anywhere close to the precipitous decline and plummeting of numbers that the entire sector had been predicting", said Rajika Bhandari, head of research, policy and practice for the non-profit group based in NY.
The number of foreign students in the USA increased by 3 per cent over the previous year and the number of Americans studying overseas grew by 4 per cent, according to the 2017 Open Doors Report on worldwide exchange data. The number of new global students, however, fell by almost 10,000 to about 291,000 last school year.
The report prepared by the Institute of International Education, a non-profit, and the US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, also revealed that the number of Indian students coming to the US has doubled over the last decade and now India is the second leading place of students, comprising 17.3 per cent of the total international students in the US.
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As per Open Doors data, in 2016-17, 62,537 got the F1 Visa, down from 74,831 students in the previous year, a 16.43% decline.
Meanwhile, Nepal and Bangladesh saw the biggest increases in students attending US colleges, though their overall numbers are still low. Reasons include a mix of global and economic conditions, and in some cases expanded post-secondary education opportunities in their own countries, as well as declining populations in their home countries.
"They may need to be more intentional in recruitment", he said. Numbers might also be skewed because some Chinese students are entering the U.S.to attend high school and then enrolling into college here.
That downturn took place before the presidential election and can be blamed on factors including the rising cost of tuition in the US, growing competition from schools in other countries, and political factors outside the United States, the institute's leaders said.
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The majority of Indian students in the United States study at the graduate level, the report said, adding in 2016-17, their breakdown was: 11.8 per cent undergraduate; 56.3 per cent graduate students; 1.2 per cent other; and 30.7 per cent OPT (Optional Practical Training) Last year, Indian students in U.S. colleges and universities contributed Dollars 6.54 billion to the USA economy, the report said, citing a Department of Commerce figure.
U.S. higher education is increasingly focused on preparing students to secure jobs after graduation in order to advance their careers, and research has shown that studying overseas helps students develop the skills needed to succeed in today's interconnected world.
The IIE president and CEO Allan E Goodman said countries and multinational employers around the world are competing to attract top talent.
"Institutions reported they are continuing to prioritise worldwide student outreach and recruitment in Asia, particularly China (67 per cent), Vietnam (51 per cent), and India (48 per cent)", the report said.
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