The number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities has almost rebounded to pre-COVID levels, fueled by a surge from India and other South Asian countries.
About the report: According to an Open Doors report from the Institute of International Education, there has been a 12% increase of international students in the 2022-2023 academic year, reaching nearly 1.06 million students. Indian students have played a significant role in the recovery, increasing by 35% to 268,923 and compensating for the stagnation in Chinese student numbers at 289,526.
Increasing Indian students: The growing interest of young Indians in U.S. universities is attributed to India's economic growth, improved U.S.-India relations and the perception of a U.S. degree enhancing job prospects and social status.
The report indicates that the majority of Indian students, around 166,000, are pursuing master's degrees or other advanced credentials. These students are choosing to study in states like Texas, New York, California, Massachusetts and Illinois.
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“The U.S. maintains a strong relationship with India on education, which I think is getting even stronger and even more connected between our governments and between the university sector and other stakeholders,” said Marianne Craven, acting deputy assistant secretary of state for academic exchanges, according to The Washington Post.
Chinese international students: Meanwhile, China's economic challenges and concerns over the U.S.-China tensions have led to a decline in enthusiasm for education abroad among Chinese families. Despite Chinese students remaining the largest foreign nationality on U.S. campuses, middle-income families are reportedly exploring alternative destinations like the U.K. and Australia.
Other international students: The data also highlights the shifts in the origins of international students in the U.S. Ghana has emerged as one of the top 25 countries sending students to America, with over 6,400 students in the 2022-23 academic year. Additionally, Nepal and Bangladesh surpass Mexico, the U.K. and Germany. The growth of international students from sub-Saharan Africa has also seen an 18% year-over-year increase, outpacing the growth rates from Asia (14%), Europe (8%) and Latin America and the Caribbean (5%).
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