How strong is the shift in focus of students towards India and China?
Consider this: Over 1,700 American students completed their higher education in India -- an increase of 52.7 per cent compared to the previous year. Comparatively, China, which has housed 6,389 students from the US this year has seen a jump of 34.9 per cent compared to the year before, states a recent study titled 'Open Doors-2006' that underlines trends during the academic year of 2005-2006.
The report is published by the Institute of International Education (IIE) -- a leading not-for-profit educational and cultural exchange organisation in the US. The census is based on a survey of over 2,700 accredited U.S. institutions.
The UK yet again emerged as the favourite destination for students from the US with 32,071 students preferring to study there occupying a 15.5 per cent share in the total pie of American students studying abroad.
The other surprise gainer in the list has been Argentina whose intake of 2,013 students has resulted into an unprecedented increase of 53 per cent, the highest percentage hike among all countries.
With every institute in India looking for global collaborations and trying to increase the number of student and faculty exchange programmes, it's little wonder that Indian international scholars studying or teaching at US campuses have seen the highest increase among all countries with 13.9 per cent followed by China with 11.6 per cent and Korea with 7.3 per cent. Indians have once again topped the list for being the leading place of origin among students studying in the US campuses.
However, there has been a dip of 4.9 per cent in the percentage of students going to the US which has most likely come about due to other emerging destinations like Australia, New Zealand and Netherlands who offer easier and more economical routes for students to apply.
"Indian students are an integral part of US education, especially our full-time MBA programme. Year after year, Indian students make up 5-8 per cent of every class. Hence, we have established the Indian Graduate Business Association (IGBA) that creates a friendly, welcoming environment for all students interested in Indian business and culture, " says David E. Platt, Director, Centre for International Business Education and Research, McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin.
Many universities like the Montana State University have even held International weeks with India as a theme this year acknowledging the presence of Indian students on the campus.
The university which earlier had no plans to establish an India Centre is now open to collaborating with Indian universities for joint degrees as well as sending its students to India and vice versa for study internships, says Yvonne Rudman, Director for Academic & Technical Programs, Montana State University.
Incidentally, Business and Management studies are still the most preferred streams for students with 17.9 per cent pie of students opting for it.
Engineering is a close second at 15.7 per cent but the field that has seen a vast decline has been Maths and Computer science which has seen a massive percentage drop of 10.3 per cent this academic year.
The University of Southern California with a considerable Indian population along with the Columbia University have yet again emerged as the campus with the largest non-American student populations in the country.
The report states that 63.4 per cent of all the international students depend on personal loans and family funding for their education while only 25.9 per cent are funded completely or partially by a US college or university.
A dismal 2.6 per cent of students are funded by their home country.