For the first time in many years, Indian students going to the US for higher study, have decreased by 1% to a total of 104,000, said the Open Doors annual survey by the US' International Institute of Education (IIE). But, also for the first time, the number of US students in India has jumped by over 44%.
But, despite the decline though, Indian students represent 14% of all international students in US higher education and the nation is by far the favourite destination for Indian students overseas.
India has jumped to 14th place as a destination for US students going overseas. Moving up from the 21st spot the year before, US students in India have climbed by 44%, said the Open Doors annual survey by the US' International Institute of Education (IIE). China remains a greater favourite, with 13,910 US students in China, or a rise of 2% from last year. The beeline for India and China is explained by the global interest in these two rising nations.
The spike in Chinese students in the US, the survey said, is largely responsible for the country registering a 5% growth in international students in its colleges and universities during the 2010-11 academic session. China has increased its student population in the US to about 158,000 by 23%, pushing it to the top of foreign sources of students in the US.
The study says that the college campuses that reported increases in the international student in-take also recorded more foreign government sponsorships. This also applies for a large number of students from China, said other familiar with the flow of international students to the US. Indian students are overwhelmingly private citizens and depend on funding from scholarships and teaching assistant ships. After the recession, many of these have dried up, and this may have had an effect on the student flow.
The survey said that higher education is among the United States' top service sector exports, as international students provide significant revenue not just to the host campuses but also to local economies of the host states for living expenses, including room and board, books and supplies, transportation, health insurance, and support for accompanying family members. Usually, the number of international students at colleges and universities in the US increased by 5% to 723,277 during the 2010-11 academic session. It said that this was a record high number of international students in the country, the fifth straight year of student increases - fast emerging as a major service sector earner for the US.
The top 10 most popular fields of study for international students in the US continue to be business and management (22%), engineering (19%), mathematics and computer science (9%), physical and life sciences (9%), social sciences (9%), fine & applied arts (5%), health professions (5%), intensive English language (5%), education (2%), humanities (2%) and agriculture (1%).