While there has been a 15 per cent drop in the number of Americans pursuing studies in India, there is an exactly proportional rise in the number of Indian students in the US.
Indians represent 15 per cent of all foreigners pursuing higher education in the US, becoming the second largest international group after China, which topped the list with over 18 per cent students, says a report released today.
The number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by three per cent to 690,923 during the 2009-10 academic year, according to the 'Open Doors' report published annually by the Institute of International Education (IIE).
This represents a record high number of international students in the United States.
This year's growth was primarily driven by a 30 per cent increase in Chinese student enrolment in the United States to a total of nearly 128,000 students, or more than 18 per cent of the total international student population, making China the leading country to send its students there.
Students from India increased by two per cent to a total of nearly 105,000. Indian students represent 15 per cent of all international students in US higher education, the report said.
"The United States continues to host more international students than any other country in the world," said Allan Goodman, President and CEO of the Institute of International Education.
Together, the top three sending countries -- China, India and South Korea -- comprise nearly half (44 per cent) of the total international enrolments in US higher education.
Canada, Taiwan and Japan each represent close to four per cent of the total international student population, with these top six places of origin comprising 56 per cent.
The report noted that students from India increased by two per cent, which was a lower rate than in previous years; however, they remain the second largest international group, with tens of thousands more students from India in the US for higher education than from any other country, except China.
Among the other leading places of origin, the most notable decline was seen in students from Japan, with a 15 per cent decline following a 14 per cent drop the previous year; Japan is at number 6 this year.
The number of students from Mexico decreased by nine per cent, those from Indonesia was down by 7.5 per cent, and Kenyan students' decline was eight per cent.
There was a decline of five per cent or less in the number of students from the other leading senders: South Korea, Canada, Taiwan, Nepal, Germany, Thailand, Hong Kong, Colombia, Pakistan and Russia.
The number of American students travelling to India to study in colleges and universities has dropped by 15 per cent in the last one year.
Fifteen of the top 25 destinations for American students were outside Western Europe and 19 were countries where English is not a primary language, according to the 'Open Doors' Report.
But India, which has been experiencing more interest from American students in recent years, showed a drop this time, it said.
Four European countries continue to lead in hosting US students -- Britain, Italy, Spain and France. China, as the fifth largest host country, was the only one of the top five to show any increase in numbers for 2008-09.
The United Kingdom remained the most popular destination, with a total of 31,342 students, though it witnessed a six-per cent decline. Italy is second, where the decline was 11 per cent to 27,362, followed by Spain (24,169, down four per cent), France (16,910, down three per cent) and China (13,674, up four per cent).
India is ranked at 21st with 2,690 students (a drop of 15 per cent). The report said that 260,327 students studied abroad for credit during the academic year 2008-09, compared to 2,416 the previous year, a modest decline of 0.8 per cent.
For the first time in the 25 years that the data has been tracked, the total number of US students studying abroad for academic credit did not increase.
However, the report found that there were notable increases in the number of US students going to study in less traditional destinations.
Double-digit increases to host countries among the top 25 destinations include Argentina (up 15 per cent), South Africa (up 12 per cent), Chile (up 28 per cent), the Netherlands (up 14 per cent), Denmark (up 21 per cent), Peru (up 32 per cent) and South Korea (up 29 per cent).
Double-digit decreases among the top 25 host countries include a 26-per cent decline in US students to Mexico (which experienced H1N1 virus outbreak that year), a 16-per cent decline to Austria and a 15-per cent decline to India.
Many of these countries hosted limited numbers of US students the prior year, so large percentage declines were produced by relatively small shifts in actual numbers, the report said.
While Europe continues to be by far the leading regional destination for US students studying abroad, Open Doors report says that there were four per cent fewer Americans studying in Europe in 2008-09, while the number of students to Africa increased by 16 per cent.
The number of students to Asia increased by two per cent and those to South America increased by 13 per cent.
"This growth is fueled in part by new and sometimes more affordable programme opportunities in these destinations, strategic partnerships between higher education institutions in the United States and abroad, and a range of fields and programme durations that have expanded to accommodate the needs of an increasingly diverse study abroad population," the report said.