The number of Indian students in the United States Of America pursuing postgraduation increased 53 percent to 1.65 lakh in the academic year 2022-2023 and has surpassed the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) for the first time in 15 years to become the largest number and source of international graduate students in America. During the academic year (2022-2023), there were 1.26 lakh Chinese students.
The Open Doors Report
The Open Doors Report, an annual survey examining international student activity in the United States of America is funded by the Department of State (US) and conducted by the non-profit Institute of International Education (IIE).
According to the latest Open Doors Report released on November 13, 2023, 2.68 lakh Indian students were studying in the US last year at the undergraduate and post graduate levels including those enrolled into Optional Practical Training programs, that allow foreign graduates with F-1 visas or student visas to engage in paid or voluntary work for upto three years. This is more than 35 percent more than 2 lakh students recorded in 2021-2022 and represents the largest single year jump in at least 23 years. India and China constitute together account for 52 percent of the total international cohort in America.
The latest edition shows the India has left behind the slump that had set in the year before the pandemic. For two successive years, between 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 as well as 2020-2021 there was a decline of 4.4 percent and 13.12 percent respectively in the number of Indian students studying and enrolled in American Universities.
Change in Demography
The milestone also represents a significant shift in the demographic composition of international students in the US and India’s hare has doubled over the decade rising from 12 percent in 2012-13 to 25 percent in 2022-2023, just shy of the current Chinese share which stands at 27 percent. A decade ago, China’s share was 31 percent. Students from India now outnumber the number of students from China in 24 states of the US such as Illinois, Texas and Michigan which are top destinations for international students.
Popularity of Other Disciplines
In a continuing trend, engineering is no longer the most popular choice of Indian students studying in the US. Programmes in mathematics and computer science have seen a sharp increase in popularity with 41.2 percent of total Indian students studying these subjects up from 26 percent, a decade ago. In fact, mathematics and computer science are steadily eroding the share of engineering disciplines which has decreased from 38 percent a decade ago to 26.9 percent in 2022-2023.
Commenting on the record of the number of Indian Students in America, US ambassador to India Eric Garcetti has said in a statement, “The decision to study abroad and your choice of choosing the United States of America represents a valuable investment by you and your families. We also look forward to balancing these record numbers. We want to see equal numbers of women pursuing studies in the US and see more US students coming to experience all that India has to offer.
Overall, international students make up just 5.6 percent of all college students in the US in 2022-2023, but they are a crucial source of revenue of American universities as they are usually charged higher tuition rates than local students. After India and China, the countries that send most of the students are South Korea, Canada, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Nigeria.