The US Consulate General Chennai that is hosting a series of free US higher education fairs in Bengaluru, Manipal, Mangalauru, Kochi and Coimbatore this month, believe that the enrollment of Indian students in US higher education institutions will soon overtake that of Chinese students in the coming years. According to US Consulate officials, a total of 1,057,188 international students enrolled at US higher education institutions and were on Optional Practical Training (OPT) in the academic year 2022/23.
Out of the 1 million international students, 268,923 students were from India, said US Consulate officials who anticipated that the number would only increase in the next academic year. Officials also believe that the outreach of education fairs ‘beyond state capitals’ into other cities will serve as a great opportunity for more talented students to opt for the USA as their education destination. “Although we saw a 35% increase in Chinese students in 2022, we are confident that the largest number of students in the coming academic years will be from India,” said a consulate official.
The consulate’s figures also revealed that a whopping 948,000 international students came to study in the US between 2021-22. In FY 2022, the Department of State issued more than 581,000 student visas, which is the highest since FY 2016.
US Consulate General, Chennai, Christopher Hodges pointed out that computer science, artificial intelligence, business administration dominated the academic enquiries from South India. Figures shared by the consulate also indicated that 55% of international students preferred STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) fields in 2022/23 because of the 36 months of stay back option in the US after the course. This was followed by Math and Computer Science (23%), Engineering (19%), Business and Management (15%) and Social Sciences (8%).
Hodges also spoke about how the US-India initiative on critical and emerging technologies, known as iCET, will drive new advances and investment in next generation fields like commercial space, artificial intelligence, quantum, and green hydrogen and the role U.S. and Indian universities and business can play in that effort. He said, “The U.S. Consulate General in Chennai is connecting American universities to South Indian business and research partners to harness the immense talent in both our countries to drive growth and foster the innovation that will take our relationship to the next level. In these cities, we see the top-quality Indian students and dynamic institutions that will help to get us there. And we’re proud to help bring U.S. university partners to south India that showcase the strength and dynamism of U.S. higher education.”
Meanwhile, Dr MC Sudhakar who attended the education fair on Monday in Bengaluru said that the Department of Higher Education is open to allowing Indian students to pursue international partnerships and collaborative education with American universities in higher education. “We aim to give top priority to skill-based education. In this regard, it is not financially possible for some of our students to go to the US and study, so the Government Universities in the US and Karnataka should be able to conduct classes jointly. We will extend our full cooperation for this,” Sudhakar said.
The education fairs, scheduled till February 20, are being organised by The US Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, US Commercial Service in India. The fair is open to students interested in master’s or doctoral programs in the United States. Visitors will have the opportunity to meet 18 U.S. higher education representatives, EducationUSA advisers, and visa officers/diplomats from U.S. Consulate General Chennai, during the fair.
The delegation began its tour with Bengaluru from February 12 to 13, 2024 and will be heading to Mangalore and Manipal from February 14 to 15, 2024, meeting students in Kochi from February 16 to 17, 2024 and concluding in Coimbatore from February 19 to 20, 2024. The delegation includes senior representatives from George Washington University, University of Texas-San Antonio, Arizona State University and University of Arkansas.