U.S. Remains Most Preferred Destination for Indian Students

About 7,52,725 students from India are currently studying abroad in 90 countries, according to data from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.


The United States continues to be the most sought after destination for Indian students, followed by Canada and Australia, respectively, according to data provided by the Indian government. As many as 752,725 students from India are currently studying abroad, Gen. (Retd) VK Singh, the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, said in reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha on July 26.

Indian students are studying in 90 countries as of July 18, 2018, the data provided by the government, based on inputs received from Indian missions abroad, showed. The United States is the most preferred nation, with 211,703 Indians pursuing studies in the country. The corresponding number in Canada is 124,000, followed by Australia, which attracted 87,115 Indian students.

The countries with the lowest number of Indian students are Uganda and Serbia, with one student each. Saudi Arabia, with 70,800 students, and the United Arab Emirates, with 50,000 students emerged as the other major destinations for students from India. About 30,000 students went to New Zealand, while data for the United Kingdom for 2016-17 showed 16,550 Indians studying there.

The UAE has seen a steep rise in the influx of Indian students, with the number increasing from just 500 in December 2017 to 50,000 in July this year, the Hindu reported.

However, the number of students going to the United States has seen a tepid rise, with only 4,995 students leaving for America in the last seven months, the publication added.

As much as 49 percent of the F-1 and M-1 non-immigrant international student population in the United States hails from either India or China, a recent biannual report on student trends conducted by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) showed. F-1 students are non-immigrants whose primary purpose is to complete an academic course of study at an SEVP-certified school or program, while M-1 non-immigrants are foreign nationals pursuing a full course of study at an SEVP-approved vocational or other recognized nonacademic institution — other than in language training programs — in the United States.

To create a database of Indian students going abroad, the Ministry of External Affairs in 2016 developed a “Students Registration Module” within the MADAD portal, which enables Indian students abroad to register voluntarily and provide data about their courses, location, institution, duration of the course, etc. The registration of students in the portal is an ongoing process, as the movement of Indian students to other countries, change of visa status, and their return to India etc, are dynamic, the ministry said.

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