USA still first choice for Indian students going abroad

USA still first choice for Indian students going abroad

New Delhi: The US continues to be the first choice for Indian students going abroad, according to foreign education consultants and experts.

While the overall number of Indian students going abroad will decrease due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the US will see little to no dip in the share of the total demand. This, despite fresh reports coming in of the Donald Trump administration planning to extend the current 60-day immigration ban until the virus is no longer a concern.

According to the 2019 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, more than 2 lakh Indian students were studying in the US in 2019. It estimates the actual number to be 2.5-3 lakhs.

The US remains a popular destination because of the number of high-quality institutions it has. There’s a large demand-supply gap, many student visas would have already been applied for and these are unlikely to be affected.

Those going for a post-graduate degree may defer their admission, but not those who are going for under-graduate programmes. The latter, who tend to come from high-income families, usually go for the experience, rather than with the intention of immigration.

Although Canada has become an attractive destination for Indian students due to its liberal policy for granting permanent residency (PR), the country only has a handful of globally ranked institution compared with the US. Moreover, the kind of financial support offered by US institutions to international students, as well as the strength of their research, technology and patent filed is unmatched.

The US might do the best numbers post Covid-19. Canada’s numbers would dip if colleges there decided to take classes online, as many students go to that country aiming for PR and they would want to be on campus. Out of the total number of Indian students going abroad, those going to the US make up about 30-35%

The number of Indian students opting for the US could dip by maximum 10-15%. The H1B and F1 STEM visa numbers haven’t been reduced. All top schools have converted their programmes into STEM MBAs to take advantage of the F1 STEM visa. Many US universities have also pushed ahead semester dates rather than take classes online, which students prefer.

The USA has seen a bit of downturn, but it is still the most popular country. While demand for the UK, Canada and Australia had picked up due to their easier visa rules, it would be hard to tell whether this would sustain in the coming months.

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