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### Indian Students Achieve Record Enrollment at US Universities

A growing number of students from India are pursuing education at international universities as a new generation of young individuals prepare for employment opportunities that are scarce within their home country.

India currently estimates that 1.5 million students are enrolled in foreign universities, marking an eightfold increase from the figures recorded in 2012. Among the various destination countries, the U.S. stands out as the most popular choice for Indian students.

Many Indian students view studying at foreign universities as a pathway to securing employment opportunities in other nations. This trend has notably benefited American educational institutions, while simultaneously witnessing a decline in enrollment from Chinese students. Consequently, U.S. universities have shifted their focus towards attracting students from India who are willing to pay full tuition fees.

Despite the growth in India’s economy, a significant number of young graduates remain unemployed. Job opportunities in sectors such as construction and agriculture are emerging; however, they do not align with the skill sets of the increasingly educated workforce, as highlighted by economist Rosa Abraham from Azim Premji University.

Reports indicate that India’s domestic higher education system is insufficient to meet the escalating demand. With a rising population, competition for admission to top Indian universities has intensified, resulting in acceptance rates plummeting to as low as 0.2 percent, in stark contrast to the three percent rate at Harvard University and four percent at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Pranay Karkale, a first-year graduate student from Nashik, India, attending Johns Hopkins University, symbolizes the increasing presence of Indian students in foreign academic institutions.

Apart from the U.S., universities in Canada, Australia, and Britain are also witnessing a surge in interest from Indian students. However, the allure of U.S. universities remains unparalleled, with nearly 269,000 Indian students currently enrolled. Notably, there was a 35 percent rise in enrollment during the 2022-2023 academic year, bringing India closer to surpassing China as the largest international student body in U.S. universities.

The majority of Indian students opt for graduate programs in science, mathematics, and engineering, areas facing shortages in the U.S. Additionally, the number of Indian undergraduates is on the rise, fueled by the expanding middle class in India. Studying in the U.S. offers the advantage of post-graduation work opportunities for up to three years through the optional practical training program.

While the influx of international students boosts revenue for American universities due to higher tuition fees, the decline in Chinese student enrollment is attributed to political tensions and a slowing economy in China.

American universities have been actively engaging with Indian students through university fairs to increase their visibility and attract applicants. Efforts to establish brand recognition in India have led U.S. universities to extend their outreach to smaller cities and towns, catering to the growing demand for overseas education.

However, for many young individuals in India, pursuing education abroad remains financially unattainable. The exorbitant costs of U.S. education, coupled with reduced availability of student loans from Indian banks due to high default rates, pose significant barriers. Additionally, the stringent student visa process at the U.S. embassy in New Delhi often results in visa rejections, as experienced by Daisy Cheema, a 22-year-old aspiring student.

Despite facing setbacks, Cheema remains determined to pursue her educational aspirations in the U.S. to gain valuable work experience before returning to support her family in India. Her resilience reflects the challenges and aspirations of numerous young Indians striving for international education opportunities.

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Words in This Story

attract–v. to influence someone to join an organization or pay for a service or product

enroll – v. to enter (someone) as a member of or participant in something

construction – n. the act or process of building something (such as a house or road)

graduate – adj. of or relating to a course of studies taken at a college or university after earning a bachelor’s degree or other first degree

tuition – n. money that is paid to a school for the right to study there

recognition – n. the act of knowing who or what someone or something is because of previous knowledge or experience

tears – n. a drop of liquid that comes from your eyes especially when you cry