There are more Indians than ever before at US universities

There are more Indians than ever before at US universities
Record-breaking. Source: Shutterstock

It’s also the fastest growing among the top 25 leading places of origin among international students in the United States.

There are as many as 186,267 students from India studying in the US, beating last year’s record of 165,918, according to recently released data from the Institute of International Education. This is more than triple it used to be in 2000/01.

Despite the deterring effects one may have expected from Donald Trump’s administration and their increasingly unwelcome stance towards foreigners, the number of Indian students grew a healthy 12.3 percent from 2015/16, the same trend observed in other popular higher education destinations in the world, such as Australia and Canada.

India is still second place behind China, the top leading country of origin for international students – this year Chinese students number a whopping 350,755, making up 32.5 percent of the 1,078,822 international students in America. India comprises 17.3 percent of the total figure.

This wasn’t always the case. India was the top sender of international students to the US from  2001/02 through 2008/09. It was only in 2009/10 that the rate of growth from India slowed down and China has sat at the top spot ever since.

Coming back to the present, what does the profile of the Indian students there look like for 2016/17?

The data shows that they are overwhelmingly made up of graduate students – more than half fall into this category (56.3 percent), with only 30.7 percent in Optional Practical Training and 11.8 percent in undergraduate studies.

Compare this with China, the bulk of which comprise of a good mix of undergraduate (40.7 percent) and graduate students (36.6 percent).

But more pressingly, let’s talk about money. Indian students are brought $6.54 billion to the US economy – in total, international student contributed $39 billion and supported 450,000 jobs (and priceless goodwill among nations) in the US economy, according to a recent report by NAFSA: Association of International Educators

Now, if that isn’t making America great again, we don’t know what will.

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