More US students headed for India

Numbers of American students rushing to Indian for higher professional courses have gone up by 20%. This vindicates that the standard of higher education has gone up in India to attract students from western countries at a reasonable fees.

While Indian students are making a beeline for the US, their counterparts in America, too, are increasingly heading out this way. The numbers may not be on the same scale as that of Indians on American campuses, but it’s clearly looking up.

According to a recent survey that monitors student flow, the population of Indian students in the US went up by 10% from 76,503 in 2005-’06 to 83,833 in 2006-’07. In the reverse direction, the number of American students coming to India has gone up by 20%, taking the figure to 2,200

Earlier Americans would come down to pursue educational n traditional fields like Sanskrit, religion and South Asian history. Now they come here to study environment, IT and even management.

The reverse flow has also been attributed to growing collaborations between Indian and American academic institutions. The arrangement is seen to be mutually beneficial: students from US colleges get an opportunity to spend a year in India and broaden their experience, while Indians are often able to easily switch to partner American university. American students usually spend a year in India and then go back home for the final year to get their degrees from the home university.

However, the number of US students in India still remains a miniscule percentage compared to Indians studying in American institutions. According to the latest data, the international student population in the US has risen from 5.64 lakh in 2005-’06 to 5.83 lakh in 2006-’07. For the sixth year in a row, Indian students account for the largest chunk. Following a 5% drop last year, the flow of Indian students to has gone up by 10% in this academic season.

China as in the previous year is in second place. It sent over 62,582 students to America, up by 8% from the previous year. The increase in the flow of Indian students could also be reasoned to America now accepting the three year bachelor degree program as a valid one for entry to their graduate schools.

Earlier, the US accepted students in its graduate schools only they completed 16 years of formal education (12 + 4). Indian students were required to study one year of post-graduation before they could take any entrance test to American universities. The change in rules was targeted towards opening the doors of higher studies in American varsities to a massive Indian pool of BA, BCom, BSc degree holders.

Owen’s office, which handles the western Indian region alone, issued 14,143 student visas in 2006-’07 up from 11,457 in the previous year. According to the data released, a whopping 71.1% of Indian students in the U(S are enrolled to a graduate program, followed by 15% to undergraduate courses.

In fact the US has now begun tapping secondary Indian cities to woo more students. Out reach programs that speak of the US study experience have turned to small towns like Patna, Rajkot, Indore, Raipur, Nashik and Bhopal. Owen said a documentary film on students’ experience in the US was also being put together.

This will be released early in 2008 and it will give an idea to prospective students about what it means to study in the US as also live in dormitories, the adaptations they need to make and the opportunities available. A website,, is being set up and the documentary will be available there.

In conclusion we say the Indian brain drain will drastically reduce during the next 5 years and it is no surprise to see more and more of American students in Indian Management Universities and at the same time seeking jobs in India.

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