Friday, 28 October 2011

More students flying to US this year

CHENNAI: Many more Indian students are going to the US this year compared to previous years. The US embassy in India has said that the number of student visas issued has increased by 18%, from 39 ,958 in 2010 to 46 ,982 in 2011, computed from October to September.

Currently, more than 1,00,000 Indian students study in US universities , making them the second highestforeign student population in that country.

Experts studying trends in overseas higher education say that a growing and affluent middleclass and restrictions on giving visas by other top destination countries such as the UK are fuelling the rush to cross the Atlantic.

"Students going to the US thinned because of the slowdown , but the situation has improved . The US is alsoworking hardtostrengthen ties here. We expect the numbers to be higher next year ," said C B Paul Chellakumar , president of theAssociation of Accredited Advisors on Overseas Education.

The recentUS team toIndia led by the director generalof theUS departmentof commerce , Suresh Kumar , conducted extensive outreach programmes in various cities across India , visiting academic associations , schools and universities to reach prospective applicants and provide accurate visa information.

The embassy increased funding for the Education USA Advising Centres at the US-I ndia Educational Foundation , which provides educational seminars andcounselling bothin-person and over the internet .

Educational consultants said the earlier restrictive visa policies of the US were responsible for the growth of traffic to secondand third-level countries like Australia and Canada . This gave way to the popularity of the Australian market in India . But with the recent violent incidents making Indians look at Australia as being racist , other markets are picking up . And the US is looking brighter as an immigration destination .

While academics said that there is not much change in the postgraduate courses that Indian students prefer to pursue in the US , younger students are showing a greater interest in undergraduatestudiesin the country .

"There is definitely a growing interest in UG studies in US universities . A larger number of students are taking the SAT test now ," said Navin Chopra , the chairman of overseas education service provider , The Chopras .

"But undergraduate education in the US is very expensive , so not many can afford it unless they get a scholarship . Then again , the US is always fishing for bright students and offers them good scholarships ," he added .

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