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

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid