News / Asia

Numbers of Indian Students Heading to America Rise

Indian students line up at American Embassy in New Delhi for student visas, June 19, 2014. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)
Indian students line up at American Embassy in New Delhi for student visas, June 19, 2014. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)
Anjana Pasricha
After declining for some years, the number of Indian students heading to the United States for graduate and undergraduate studies is surging.  A major factor is the lack of quality universities in India to cater to a huge, young population.  
 
Hundreds of students have been lining up at the American Embassy in New Delhi this summer to get a visa to study in a college in the United States.  Besides Delhi, they come from smaller cities such as Jaipur and Lucknow in northern India.
 
Some are headed for undergraduate studies in commerce and engineering, others are going to pursue a masters in American universities.

One student explains the reason of his choice,“The flexibility of subjects, and the practical learning you get there.  It is because of the exposure you get in the U.S.  I do not think any other country can provide you with the exposure.”

Another student says, “It was my dream, it was like my ambition do my higher studies in U.S.”
 
Indian students account for about 12 percent of foreign students in the United States - the second highest after China.
 
But their numbers dipped between 2009 and 2012, when the American economy slowed due to the global financial crisis. Officials at the American Embassy in New Delhi say numbers are surging again, 40 percent more student visas have been issued since October 2013.
 
Appeal of US studies


The United States attracts the most Indian students headed to study overseas - about 100,000 Indian students are studying on American campuses.  Britain and Australia are other popular destinations.
 
Education consultants in India say higher affluence has made a foreign education more affordable.  But the major factor is the formidable competition for admission to a good college in India, where about half of the 1.2 billion people are under age 25.
 
A professor at the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, Rupa Chanda, says supply of quality higher education in India has fallen short of demand.  
 
“The rising competition, the lack of sufficient number of quality institutions in India, the fact that there has not been enough increase in capacity in some of the seats in coveted disciplines people want to study in," she said. "And really if you do not get into the top tier, there is not much to choose from.”  
 
In the most coveted engineering colleges such as the Indian Institutes of Technology, less than two percent of applicants are accepted.  

Tough local requirements

Admissions are based on entrance tests for which most students undertake two years of grueling coaching.
 
In most other colleges, students are admitted on the basis of their school grades.  But the “cut off” scores to apply are becoming out of reach for even bright students.  This year they exceed 95 percent at top colleges in Delhi University. 
 
It is this rigorous competition that prompted 18-year-old Shaurya Dhankar from Delhi to apply to colleges in the United States instead of an Indian college.
 
“First of all the cut offs are really high, and also because I had good extra curriculars, which were advantageous for me in applying to the U.S.  Not much appreciation is given for them in India... the U.S. system is much more simple and relaxed.  I did not have to give any entrances, and you know, study all day for them,” said Dhankar.  
 
Successive governments in India have acknowledged the problem, but academics say little has been done to address it.  The previous government had prepared a bill to allow foreign universities to set up campuses in India, but it has not yet received parliamentary approval.
 
American officials are upbeat about the students heading to their country.  Michael Pelletier at the American Embassy says they contribute to the links that bring the two countries together through “people to people” ties.
 
“It is something that is incredibly important, incredibly important to you, incredibly important to our countries as well because those are the sort of relationships and experiences you will draw on for the rest of your life,” he said.
 
There is a flip side for India.  Business groups say the country could save billions of dollars in foreign exchange if it could offer more students a quality education at home.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid