Drop in Indian students in American universities, first in 7 years

New YorkThe total number of Indian students studying in American universities has registered a negative growth in 2019-20, a first in seven years, according to official data of the US.

The cumulative number of 193,124 Indian students pursuing higher education in the US institutions is a 4.4% fall when compared with 2018-19. The last time the number of Indian students in the US fell was in 2012-13, when it went down by 3.5%, as per the Open Doors report released on Monday.

According to official data, there were 193,124 Indian students in the US in 2019-20 as against 202,014 Indian students in 2018-19. Similarly, there were 196,271 Indian students in American universities 2017-18. The fall in overall Indian students number comes as the US witnessed a fall in both new and cumulative enrollment of foreign students.

This fall compares poorly with a 29.4% growth in 2014-15 and 24.9% in 2015-16 albeit at a lower base. Indians comprise 18% of total international students’ population in the US, second only to China. The Chinese students’ cohort with a number over 372,000 contribute 34.6% to the total foreign students population pursuing higher education in the US.

To be sure, cumulatively, 1,075,496 international students were in the US universities in 2019-20, 1.8% lower year on year. Though the report did not give country specific data on new enrolments in 2019-20, overall new international enrollments of 267,712 was also seven-year low.

Experts believe that while the visa issues, and anti-immigration noises from the federal government there, had marred the sentiment previously, the number of foreign students could drastically fall further in 2020-21 as covid-19 closed down campuses, restricted movements and hit the income of students’ families.

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