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### Opening Doors for Indian Students: Anticipating the Impending ‘Enrolment Cliff’ in Higher Education

The anticipated surge in the number of Indian students enrolling in American universities is projected to increase fivefold to exceed 1 million annually by 2030. This surge is attributed to the impending decline in the college-age population in the US, a phenomenon known as the ‘enrolment cliff.’

Experts suggest that the US may approach the brink of the enrolment cliff as early as 2025, potentially leading to a 15-20% rise in Indian student enrolment by 2026. In 2023, 268,923 Indian students opted to pursue studies in the US.

The ‘enrolment cliff’ was initiated in the late 2000s during the economic downturn, causing uncertainty in the job market and subsequently resulting in reduced birth rates. This trend led to a sustained decrease in K-12 enrolment figures nationwide. The impact of this cliff is expected to manifest in the higher education sector around 2025, approximately 16-17 years post-2008.

Undergraduate enrolment in American universities has been steadily declining over the years, with the number of Indian students studying in the US on the rise. The data indicates a continuous increase in the influx of Indian students, with an expected milestone of 1 million by 2029-30.

The dwindling number of American high school graduates further compounds the issue, prompting US universities to actively recruit international students. The recent years have witnessed a surge in Indian students pursuing higher education in the US, with a notable 35% increase in the 2022-23 academic year.

As the demographic shift impacts enrolment rates, American institutions are urged to enhance their offerings to international students, focusing on financial incentives, support services, and global career development opportunities. While top-ranked universities are expected to weather the enrolment challenges, there remains a significant demand for higher education abroad, particularly from Indian students.

Forecasts suggest a substantial growth in Indian student enrolment in the US, with expectations exceeding 1 million students by the end of the decade. Despite potential changes in visa regulations, universities are likely to advocate for favorable policies to attract qualified global talent, ensuring a sustained demand for Indian students in the US education landscape.