For the third consecutive year, the number of stu- dents from India opting to pursue higher studies in the United States recorded a decrease — 3.5 percent for 2012-13, on the heels of the 4 percent drop the previous year.
This year, for the first time since 2008-09, the number
also fell below the 100,000 mark.
China, which had retained the lead from India three
years ago as the largest supplier of international students to
the US, kept galloping ahead.
There was a whopping 21.4 percent increase of students
from China in 2012-13, with 235,897 students (194,000 the
previous year) compared to India’s 96,754, according to the
annual Open Doors report, published by the International
Institute of Education in collaboration with the
Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural
China, India and South Korea (70,627 students) constituted 49 percent of all international students in the US in
2012/13, but also a major driver which contributed to an
increase of 55,000 more students in this period was Saudi
Arabia (44,566 students) with a jump of 30.5 percent over
the previous year.
International student numbers grew by 7.2 percent to an
all-time high of 819,644 in 2012-13, the Open Doors report
noted. Per Department of Commerce estimates, that boosted American coffers by more than $24 billion.
Rajika Bhandari, and co-author of the Open Doors
report, told India Abroad the continuing dip in Indian students was apparently a consequence of the rupee devaluation vis-à-vis the dollar, which made education costs in the
US rather prohibitive.
She also acknowledged that China offers financial assistance and funding for a good many undergraduate students pursuing higher studies
overseas, while there is no such funding for
students in India.
India had been the leading country of origin for international students in the US
from 2001-02 through 2008-09. In 2000-
01, Open Doors had found a 30 percent
surge of enrollments from India, followed
by two more years of strong growth — 12
percent in 2002-03, and 7 percent in 2003-
04. The increase tapered off in 2004-05,
and decreased slightly for the next two
In 2009-10, the increases leveled off and
China retained its lead as the top sender of
students to the US, a position the country
has maintained since.
Open Doors noted that majority of Indian
students study at the graduate level with the
breakdown for 2012-13 being 13.2 percent
undergraduate and 56.4 percent graduate
students, 1.6 percent other, and 28.8 per-
cent choosing Optional Practical Training,
which is the one year students are allowed
to remain in the US after completing their
degree to work in a field of their study. After
that they have to return to their respective countries, unless
they obtain an H-1B work visa and/or are sponsored by a
company or institution for a Green Card.
Perhaps the fact that majority of students from India
study at the graduate level led to a survey by the Council of
Graduate Schools, which found a dramatic 40 percent
surge in new graduate admissions from India this fall.
China scored a 5 percent increase.
‘While the substantial increase in first-time enrolments
of Indian students is positive,’ Debra Stewart, the CGS
president, was quoted as saying, ‘the fluctuation in India
enrolment in recent years makes it difficult to confirm a
Bhandari said the stark contrast between the IIE num-
bers and the CGS survey was because the Open Doors
report included undergraduate students. Also, the Open
Doors report did not include the fall 2013 semester.
Bhandari acknowledged that the CGS figure was indeed a
dramatic increase, but declined to go into the accuracy or
validity of the CGS survey, and its methodology.
Jeff Allum, director of research and policy analysis at
CGS, was quoted as acknowledging that it was difficult to
reconcile the large surge in students from
India that CGS saw at the graduate level
with the overall declines recorded in a snap-
shot survey —on which the CGS collaborat-
ed with the IIE, and which found India had
recorded an overall decline of 10 percent.
‘My only explanation is we have a slightly
different sample pool and a different questionnaire,’ he was quoted as saying. ‘What I
can say is I’m very confident in the numbers
Over three separate surveys, the CGS
found growth in interest from Indian students at every step in the graduate application process. Total applications to US graduate schools from Indian students increased
22 percent this fall, offers of admission
increased by 30 percent, and new enrollments rose by 40 percent.
Meanwhile, American students studying
in India recorded a 5.7 percent increase to
a total of 4,593, but still the preferred
countries of overseas study for US students remained Europe, specifically the
United Kingdom, with 34,660 students
for an increase of 4.5 percent over the previous year.
Country Number of Students change from 2011-12
1. China 235,597 21.4
2. India 96,754 -3.5
3. South Korea 70,627 -2.3
4. Saudi Arabia 44,566 30.5
5. Canada 27,357 2
6. Taiwan 21,867 -5.9
7. Japan 19,568 -2
8. Vietnam 16,098 3.4
9. Mexico 14,199 2.2
10. Turkey 11,278 -5.8
11. Brazil 10,868 20.4
Source: Institute of International Education
Top countries of origin for international students in the US in 2012-13
The Indian student fall continues, or does it?
Indian students opting for higher
studies in the US drops 3.5 percent,
says Open Doors report. Council
of Graduate Schools survey finds
40 percent jump in graduate
students from India.
Aziz Haniffa clears the air
At the annual Diwali celebrations in Princeton University.