New York: The weak rupee is obviously crushing a lot of Indian student dreams to study abroad. The number of students from India in the US dropped for the second successive year even as the number of foreign students attending US universities increased 6 percent during the 2011-2012 academic year, according to a report released on Monday by the Institute of International Education.
After trailing China for much of the 1990s, India surpassed China as the international community's leading exporter of students to America in 2001-2002, but China has surged ahead since. The Open Doors Report said the rise in international students was largely driven by a 23 percent increase in the number of Chinese students to 1,94,409 in 2011-2012.
The report showed 1,00,270 Indian students in the US in 2011-2012, a 3.5 percent drop from the previous year, after the number peaked at around 1,05,000 in 2009. Despite the drop, Indian students still gravitate to the US in larger numbers while the UK may be a closer option.
"More and more Indian parents are beginning to understand the value of a US education for their children’s careers," said Peggy Blumenthal of the Institute of International Education.
Indian students may regard a foreign degree as a badge of honour. But for many Indian parents, who partly or wholly fund the exercise, expense is the operative word. The weak Indian rupee has made it difficult for some Indian students to pursue their American dreams. Few analysts expect the rupee to fall back towards the record low of Rs 57.32 seen in late June but the dollar is still trading for about Rs 54.99.
The Open Doors Report shows a record 7,64,495 foreign students studied in the US last year. With ten times more college campuses than any other country in the world, the US is a magnet for the burgeoning international student population, which brought over $22.7 billion to the US economy. For the first time in a dozen years, according to IIE, there were more foreign undergraduates than graduate students.
The top five countries from where the US is hosting international students are China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Canada.
The University of Southern California has the greatest number of international students, followed by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, New York University, Purdue University and Columbia University. New York City remains the top metro for international students.