Indian students to spend up to $700m on higher studies in US

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After China, India will continue to send most students till 2024

Sangeetha G


The financial contribution of Indian students doing higher studies in the US is estimated to go up to about $700 million by 2024 from $400 million. However, India will continue to occupy the second slot as a source of international students for the US after China.

Around 103,000 Indian students are engaged in under-graduate, post-graduate and other specialty courses in the US. As per various estimates by various organisations, this is projected to increase to 153,000 in 2024. “By 2024, the number Indian students should be up by 50,000. The financial contribution of these students is around $400 million, which includes academic and living expenses. This can go up to $700 million by 2024 if the currencies remain at the same level,” said Mark W Harris, president and CEO of US-based ELS Educational Services.

However, India will still be the second largest source market for US after China. Currently 135,000 Chinese students are pursuing various courses in the US and the number is projected to grow to 190,000 by 2024. According to Harris, since the US liberalised the visa norms for Chinese students in 2007, their number has been growing fast. One the other hand, India, which used to send the largest number of students, has been slow since 2011.

The declining number of domestic students getting enrolled in higher studies is making US universities look for more international students. “The University-going population is on a decline in the US after having touched the peak in 2012. The number domestic students in various universities would have come down by 200,000 in the past few years. The slowing economy, limited federal support for higher education and the higher levels of unemployment too has been resulting in a decline in the number of domestic students,” said Harris.

ELS Educational Services, which provides English language preparation and professional counseling for international students in 102 countries on behalf of universities in the US, Australia, Europe and Malaysia, has become active in India.

“Indian students do not need English training. So our focus in India will be on providing counseling on various courses and acclimatising the students to the US conditions. About 30,000 Indian students go to the US for higher studies every year. Our target is to serve at least 10 per cent of them by 2018,” said Mallik Sundaram, regional director of recruitment in south and south east Asia, ELS Educational Services.

Moreover, US universities find Indian students better qualified academically for their various programmes. “India is an important partner for the US in the space of higher education, especially research, science and technology, engineering and mathematics. Indians settled in the US have extensively contributed to various businesses and we hope that the bilateral relations will get even closer,” said Harris.

ELS operates centres in the campuses of over 55 Universities in the US. Apart from Australia, it is also ramping up its presence in the Europe and Malaysia



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