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Published:November 20th, 2006 08:03 EST
Indian Students Pursuing Excellence in U.S. Higher Education

Indian Students Pursuing Excellence in U.S. Higher Education

By Judyth Piazza CEO (Editor)

New report suggests Indian enrollment will grow in coming years

Although the report shows a decline of 4.9 percent in the 2005-2006 academic year from the previous year in the total number of students from India studying in the United States, other recent reports have indicated totals may increase in the coming years.

“Indian students and their parents know that U.S. higher education prepares graduates for tomorrow’s careers,” said Jane E. Schukoske, executive director of the U.S. Educational Foundation in New Delhi, India, regarding the release of Open Doors 2006 on November 13.

Since the 2000-2001 academic year, the number of Indian students has risen from approximately 55,000 to more than 80,000 in 2004-2005 before declining to 76,503 in 2005-2006. The overwhelming majority of these Indian students (73.7 percent) are enrolled at the graduate level, while 16.6 percent are undergraduate students and 9.6 percent are enrolled in such other programs as English-language training.

India also has the third-largest number of international scholars -- that is, teachers and researchers who are not enrolled as students -- at U.S. universities (8,836).

Schukoske noted that a recent report by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) based on fall 2006 first-time enrollment data showed a surge in international student enrollment at U.S. graduate schools, with the biggest increases in first-time enrollment among students from India (32 percent).

More than 24,000 visas have been issued to Indian students in the year that ended September 30, and the Council of Graduate Schools reports a 32 percent increase in 2006 graduate enrollments by Indian students.  “These are positive signs,” Schukoske said.

Between 2005 and 2006, the total number of graduate students from India was up 8 percent, after a 4 percent decline in the previous year, according to the CGS survey.

“The strong Indo-U.S. relationship, illustrated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s July 2005 visit to the U.S. and President Bush’s March 2006 visit to India, encourages Indian students pursuing excellence in higher education to continue to enroll in U.S. colleges and universities,” said Schukoske said.

The same CGS study reported a significant change in attitude toward three-year university degrees, which are common in India -- 45 percent of U.S. graduate schools now say they are willing to consider students from non-European countries with three-year degrees, CGS President Debra Stewart told USINFO.

No specific non-European countries were identified in the study.

“[I]n time more universal acceptance of students with these degrees into American graduate studies may occur,” the CGS report authors conclude, given the rising proportion of schools that have discussed or adopted policies regarding students with three-year bachelor’s degrees.  (See related article.)

“We can expect to see Indian students enrolling in a larger number of U.S. institutions in the coming years,” Schukoske said.

The full text of Schukoske’s remarks is available on the Institute of International Education Web site.

For more information on studying in the United States, see Study in the U.S.  Additional information is available on the State Department’s EducationUSA Web site. Information on visa procedures and traveling to the United States is available at Welcome to Travel.State.Gov and in the State Department electronic journal See You in the U.S.A.