Number of foreign students in India reduce by 2.7 per cent

International students have returned to US colleges, fuelled by a surge from India

November 14, 2023

A recent study reveals a significant surge in international students returning to US universities last year, bouncing back from a pandemic-induced decline, with a notable 35% increase in students from India. The 2022-23 academic year saw a 12% overall growth in international student numbers, marking the most substantial annual increase in over 40 years.

The State Department and the Institute of International Education conducted the study, reporting a total of over 1 million international students, the highest since the 2019-20 school year. CEO Allan E. Goodman emphasized the US as the preferred destination for global students, reinforcing a century-long trend. Among international students, nearly 269,000 were from India, surpassing previous records and ranking second only to China. The majority pursued graduate programs, especially in science, technology, and business.

Despite China still having the most foreign students in the US (290,000), its numbers decreased for the third consecutive year due to geopolitical tensions and increased competition from the UK and Canada. The study indicates a shift in focus for US universities, increasingly recruiting in India to tap into its growing population. Graduate programs continued to attract the most international students, experiencing a 21% growth, while undergraduate numbers increased by 1%. The rebound almost restores international student numbers to pre-pandemic levels, reaching a peak of nearly 1.1 million students in 2018. This trend is expected to persist, with an 8% increase in international enrollment this fall.

Despite comprising only 5.6% of all college students in the 2022-23 academic year, international students play a crucial role in global exchange and contribute significantly to US higher education revenue due to their higher tuition rates. The leading countries sending students to the US, after China and India, include South Korea, Canada, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Nigeria. The report also highlights record numbers from Bangladesh, Colombia, Ghana, Italy, Nepal, Pakistan, and Spain in the last school year.

While international enrollment sees growth, many US colleges continue to grapple with domestic student recruitment challenges, as total enrollment remains in a slump following pandemic-related declines, with a 3.6% decrease in freshman enrollment in fall 2023, according to a separate study by the National Student Clearinghouse.

Also read: Higher Indian applicants in foreign universities boost demand for IELTS coaching by 83%

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