From an all-time high in 2015-16, number of Indian Students in the USA might fall in 2016-17

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The number of Indian students in the USA touched an all-time high of 165,918 in 2015-16. This is second only to China. Indian Students contributed $ 5.01 billion to the U.S. economy in 2015-16. But this number might fall steeply in 2016-17 given the uncertainty surrounding visa polices for international students and workers.

The 2016 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange revealed that the number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities crossed one million for the first time. From 974,926 international students in the year 2014-15 academic year, the number went up to 1,043,839 in 2015-16. The number of Indian Students grew by close to 25% during this period to an all-time high of 165,918. This is second only to China. But this number might fall steeply in 2016-17 given the uncertainty surrounding visa polices for international students and workers.

Number of International Students in the USA by origin

As per the Open Doors report, out of the million international students, 66% are from Asia (47% from China & India alone), 8.8% are from Europe, 8.1% are from the Latin America, 10.4% are from Middle East & North Africa. A mere 3.4% are from the Sub-Saharan Africa.

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 Top 10 countries of Origin

As expected, the two most populous countries of the world account for more than 47% of the total international students in the US. China leads the pack with 328,547 students followed by India with 165,918 students. Saudi Arabia is third with 61,287 students followed by South Korea with 61,007 students. Six of the top 10 countries are from Asia.

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 Indian Students in the USA

The number of Indian students in the USA has grown five times from 33,818 in 1997-98 to 165,918 in 2015-16, in a period spanning 18 years. They currently make up 15.9% of all international students in the USA. The number of Indian students has seen a consistent growth except for 2005-06 and the period from 2010-11 to 2012-13 when there was a negative growth. The highest growth rate of 29.4% was observed in 2014-15.

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Field of Study – Engineering is the favourite for Indian Students

True to its name as a land of engineering graduates, more than 70% of the Indian students in the US chose Engineering/Computer Science/Math (STEM) as their field of study. About 10% chose Business & Management as their field of study. About 6% chose Physical & Life Sciences. Except for engineering & computer science, the percentage of Indian students who chose a specific field of study is way below the global average.  For instance, while 7.8% of the internal students chose Social Sciences, only 2.3% of the Indian students chose Social Sciences as their field of study.

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Academic Level & Economic Impact

More than 61% of the Indian students in the USA are at the graduate level. 11.63% of them are at the under graduate level, while 25.51% of them are in OPT (Optional Practical Training).

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According to the Open Doors report, Indian students in U.S. colleges and universities contributed $ 5.01 billion to the U.S. economy in 2015-16. The international student community on the other hand contributed $ 30.5 billion to the U.S. economy in 2014-15.

Choice of States

The top destination for Indian students was Texas with 19806 students followed by California with 18517 students. New York, Illinois & Massachusetts make up the top five destinations for Indian students. It must be noted that Texas was the not the top destination for all international students. It was the 3rd most preferred destination for international students while the most preferred destination was California followed by New York.

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Primary Source of Funding for International Students

For close to 2/3rd of the international students in the USA, the primary source of funding is their family. About 17% were funded by the US universities either through scholarships or waivers. 7.4% were funded by foreign governments or universities while 6.6% were funded by their current employment. Only 1% were funded by a foreign private sponsor.

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