Fewer Indian students going to America; Chinese, Saudi surge

Washington, Nov 13: Amid an all-time high international education exchanges, fewer Indian students are coming to America, while there is a surge of Chinese and Saudi students while more American students are going to India.

The number of students coming to America from India dropped for the second successive year, according to the annual “Open Doors” survey of international students in US released Monday.

Published by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the US State Department, the report shows 100,270 Indian students in the US in 2011/2012, a four per cent drop from previous year, after the number peaked at around 105,000 in 2009.

Meantime, number of students from China shot up from 157,558 in 2010/2011 to 194,029 in 2011/2012, a 23 per cent increase.

The top five countries from where the US is hosting international students are China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Canada. Saudi Arabia recorded a big 50 per cent surge, the number of its students going up from 22,704 in 2010/2011 to 34,139 in 2011/2012.

After trailing China for much of the 1990s, the number of students from India overtook the number of Chinese students in early part of last decade, but China has surged ahead since.

The study says factors behind the decline in the numbers from countries such as India and Japan may include global and home country economic issues, growing higher education opportunities at home, and stronger employment opportunities at home after graduation.Overall the number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by six percent to a record high of 764,495 in the 2011/12 academic year, while US students studying abroad increased by one percent.

This year, international exchanges in all 50 states contributed $22.7 billion to the US economy, the report said There were increases in the number of students from 12 of the top 25 places of origin, including Brazil, China, France, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, the United Kingdom, Venezuela, and Vietnam. At the same time, numbers declined from several major sending countries, including India (down four percent), South Korea, (down one percent), and Japan (down six percent).

In the 2010/11 academic year, 273,996 American students studied abroad for academic credit, an increase of one percent-an all-time high. US students studying abroad increased in 17 of the top 25 destination countries, including India. Twelve percent more students studied in India and Five percent more students studied in China than in the prior year.

The United Kingdom remains the leading destination for American students, followed by Italy, Spain, France and China – which remained the fifth largest host destination for the fifth year, the report found. There were significant increases in the number of Americans studying in several “non-traditional” destinations outside Europe: India, Brazil, China, Costa Rica and South Korea.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in )

IANS