WASHINGTON: Indian interest in an American degree remains unabated, notwithstanding random accidents and homicides involving students from India in
the United States. For the seventh year running, India is the leading source of foreign enrollment on US campuses, accounting for a record 94,563 students during the academic year 2007-2008.
Indian students now constitute 15 per cent of the total US university foreign enrollment which stood at 623,000 in this academic year, which itself is a 7 per cent increase over the 583,000 foreign students registered in 2006-2007, according Open Doors, the authoritative annual report on the subject released on Monday.
The Indian increase of 13 per cent (up from 83,833 in 2006-2007) is only marginally overshadowed by the resurgence of interest in the US from Chinese students, whose numbers jumped up from 67,723 in 2006-2007 to 81,127 this past year, a 20 per cent increase. But since 2001/02, when it took over from China, India has remained the leading place of origin for students coming to the United States.
South Korea (69,124), Japan (33,974), and Canada (29,051) round off the top five countries sending students to the US, together accounting for 49 per cent of all international students currently in the US.
The surge in foreign enrolments has relieved and pleased the US administration, which was under criticism from the academia for instituting stricter controls that led to a temporary decline in foreign students after 9/11. Tougher US procedures had led many foreign students to countries such as Canada, UK, and Australia, but the US has evidently regained ground. Foreign students are also a major source of revenue for US academia bringing in nearly $ 15 billion annually to the university system.
''In today’s competitive international environment, the increase in enrollments noted in this year’s Open Doors data demonstrates again that the US remains the premier destination for international students,'' noted Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Goli Ameri, who is himself an international student who graduated from an American university, adding, ''US higher education is unparalleled in its vitality, quality, and diversity. The US government joins the US higher education community in a commitment to welcome international students to the United States.''
Among the many noteworthy facts in the 2008 Open Doors reports was the surge in students from Nepal coming to the US There was a 15% increase in enrollments from Nepal this past year, putting it at 11 th position with 8,936 students, following a 28% increase the previous year.
The Nepalese surge coincided with the decline in the number of students from Pakistan, which went down by one per cent to 5345, and pushed Pakistan out of the top 20 to 23. Saudi Arabia is on the top ten and Indonesia and Nigeria in the top 20.
The report also looks at the trend of American students going abroad to study and finds that this has increased by 8.2 per cent over the past year and almost 150 per cent over the last decade. A record 242,000 US students were abroad in 2006-2007, with UK, Italy, France and Spain taking the top four spots.
But there was a surge in US students’ interest in China, and nearly 11,000 are studying there, up 25 per cent from the 8800 in 2005-2006. Along the same lines, there was also a 25 per cent increase in US students in India — 2600 in 2005-2006 compared to 2100 in the year before.
Other highlights of the Open Doors report: The top ten most popular fields of study for international students in the United States in 2007/08 were Business and Management (20% of total), Engineering (17%) and Physical and Life Sciences (9%), Social Sciences (9%), Mathematics and Computer Science (8%), Fine & Applied Arts (6%), Health Professions (5%), Intensive English Language (5%), Education (3%), Humanities (3%), and Agriculture (2%).
For the seventh year in a row, the University of Southern California is the leading host institution with 7,189 international students. New York University hosts the second highest number of foreign students (6,404). Other campuses in the top 10 are: Columbia University (6,297), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (5,933), Purdue University (5,772), University of Michigan — Ann Arbor (5,748), University of California — Los Angeles (5,557), University of Texas — Austin (5,550), Harvard University (4,948), Boston University (4,789), and University of Pennsylvania (4,610).
California remains the leading host state for international students (84,800, up 9%), followed by New York (69,844, up 6%), Texas (51,824, up 6%), Massachusetts (31,817, up 11%), Illinois (28,804, up 12.5%), Florida (26,739, down 0.5%), Pennsylvania (26,090, up 12.5%), Michigan (22,857, up 8%), Ohio (19,343, up 4%), and Indiana (15,548, up 8%). 17 of the top 20 leading host states experienced increases in total international students, with Washington (21.5%) and Virginia (13%) showing the largest percentage increases.
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