NEW DELHI: The number of Indian students in the US has increased by around 3 per cent over the previous year to 202,014, according to the 2019 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange (IIE). While undergraduate student numbers at 24,813 showed an increase of 6.3 per cent over 2018; the non-degree category increased by 18.8 per cent to 2,238; the optional practical training category increased by 12.3 per cent to 84,630. The number of graduate students, the largest cohort from India at 90,333, fell by 5.6 per cent.

For the 10th consecutive year, China remained the largest source of international students in the US in 2018-19 with 369,548 students in undergraduate, graduate, non-degree, and optional practical training (OPT) programmes, a 1.7 per cent increase from 2017-18; India was at second place with 202,014, an increase 2.9 per cent , according to the report.

While the overall number of international in the United States for 2018-19 academic year set an all-time high at 1,095,299, and increased by 0.05 per cent over the previous year; the number of students enrolling for the first time at a US institution in 2018-19 declined by 0.9 per cent , recovering from sharper declines the year before, according to the report.

The levelling of declines in newly enrolled international students continues into the 2019-20 academic year, according to data from the 2019 Fall International Student Enrollment Snapshot Survey, a survey conducted by IIE and nine partner higher education associations. “While the number of Indian students on OPT, which allows them to take up work with companies and institutions in the US for up to 36 months after they finish their course, undergraduate courses and non-degree courses have gone up ..
we do not have the data for new enrolments of Indian students for 2018-19,” Dr Mirka Martel, head of research, evaluation, and learning at IIE, said in response to a question from ET during a conference call after the release of the report.

In fiscal year 2018, there was a dip of around 4 per cent in the number of new F category student visas issued to Indians compared to the previous 2017 fiscal. “The number of Indian students going to the US for non-degree courses in areas such as English language or for skill oriented courses such as flying schools or chef training is increasing. These often provide an excellent affordable option for students to get used to the culture of a new country and could be taken up at some of the US community colleges,” US minister counselor for consular affairs in New Delhi, Charisse Phillips, told ET during a press meet to announce the findings of the Open Doors report. “Indian students are looking for a great education and the US offers the best return on this investment,” she added.