Number of Indian Students in the U.S. Grows 5.4% in 2018 to 196,271

This is the fifth year in a row that the number of Indian students pursuing higher degree in the U.S. has grown.


The number of Indian students studying in the U.S. has increased 5.4 percent from last year to an all-time high this year to 196,271, according to the 2018 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. The report also says that the number of international students in the U.S. surpassed one million for the third consecutive year, increasing by 1.5 percent to reach a new high of 1,094,792 million.

According to data in the Open Doors 2018, released Nov. 13 by the Institute of International Education (IIE) and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), this is the fifth year in a row that the number of Indian students pursuing higher degree in the U.S. has grown. In 2017, the number of Indian students in the U.S. was around 186,000, the Times of India reported.

The report also highlights the impact of international education on the U.S. higher education sector, examining the numbers and profile of international students in the U.S. in 2017 and 2018 and of U.S. students receiving academic credit for study abroad in 2016 and 2017.

The newspaper quoted minister counselor for consular affairs Joseph Pomper, who spoke at the U.S.-Indian Educational Foundation, as saying, “Looking at the past 10 years of data, the number of Indian students going to the United States has doubled. The reasons are clear: Indian students are looking for a great education and the United States continues to offer this.”

According to the report, Indians make up 17.9 percent of all international students in the U.S. India’s northern neighbor China continues to lead the chart 33.2 percent.

The United States remains the top host of international students globally. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, international students made a significant financial impact on the United States in 2017, contributing $42.4 billion to the U.S. economy through tuition, room and board, and other expenses.

“International students studying alongside Americans are a tremendous asset to the United States,” said Marie Royce, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. “We need to develop leaders in all fields who can take on our toughest challenges. We need people who can find solutions that keep us secure and make us more prosperous. We want to send a message that international education makes us stronger as a country.”

As for U.S. students, study abroad numbers grew by 2.3 percent to 332,727 Americans studying abroad for academic credit at their home institutions in 2016 and 2017. Approximately one in 10 U.S. students study abroad during their undergraduate career. Another interesting figure to note is there has been a rise of American students studying in India. There were 4,704 American students studying in India, which is 12.5 percent more than the last year.

In addition, Open Doors 2018 shows that the profile of U.S. students going abroad continues to diversify. The number of students who identify as racial or ethnic minorities who studied abroad in 2016 and 2017 was 29.2 percent. In 2005 and 2006, racial and ethnic minorities accounted for only 17 percent of the study abroad population.

“Expanding access to opportunity through international education helps us build stronger ties across the world,” said Dr. Allan E. Goodman, president, and CEO of IIE. “International students have more choices than ever before on where to pursue higher education. The dedication of American colleges and universities to students’ academic, professional, and personal success is one of the main factors in our international competitiveness.”

While overall numbers of international students increased, new student enrollments fell by 6.6 percent in 2017 and 2018, corroborating findings from the 2017 fall enrollment survey and continuing a slowing or downward trend first observed in the 2015 and 2016 academic year. Current gains in the total number of international students are due primarily to increased participation in the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, which allows international students to practice their skills in the United States for up to 12 months during or after they complete their academic programs or up to 36 months for students who have earned a degree in STEM fields. OPT participation grew by 15.8 percent in 2017 and 2018. Among enrolled students, drops were seen primarily at the graduate and non-degree levels, the report added.

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