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**Mumbai University Alumni Pursue Higher Education Abroad with a 100% Surge in a Decade**

In Mumbai, the count of students from Mumbai University aspiring to pursue higher education abroad has more than doubled in the last nine years. The figure escalated from approximately 6,300 students in 2014-15 to 12,910 in 2022-23, marking a surge of over 100%. The surge is attributed to the growing ambitions among residents of tier-II and tier-III cities, enhanced accessibility to information, and the availability of diverse financial solutions.

According to data from the university’s students’ development department, which is derived from the number of students requesting validated transcripts, there were two notable spikes within this nine-year span. In 2018-19, about 20,000 students sought transcripts from the university, reflecting an 80% increase from the previous year. Experts suggest that this anomaly could be linked to alterations in visa regulations in preferred study-abroad destinations. The second surge occurred in 2021-22 post-pandemic, possibly due to the backlog from the initial Covid year. Nationally, the number of students pursuing studies abroad surged by 68% in 2022, as per Lok Sabha data.

Ravindra Kulkarni, the vice-chancellor of Mumbai University, highlighted the expanding array of study-abroad options for Indian students. He noted a shift from traditional destinations like the US, Canada, and the UK to countries such as Germany, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the Netherlands, and other European nations. Kulkarni mentioned that some foreign universities are offering incentives like scholarships to attract high-caliber Indian students. Additionally, multinational corporations are inclined to recruit individuals with international post-doctoral experience for their diverse perspectives gained from working in various countries.

While data based on transcripts serves as an indicator, it may not precisely reflect the actual figures. Experts believe that the actual count of university students venturing abroad from Mumbai and its satellite cities could be higher.

Previously, predominantly humanities and science students pursued postgraduate studies overseas. However, there is a noticeable interest from commerce students nowadays, as noted by Krutika Desai, Principal of Mithibai College. Desai observed a growing trend where commerce students are opting for MBA programs or degrees in business analytics from international universities. She expressed uncertainty regarding a potential decline in students seeking overseas education due to tightening post-study work visa regulations in various countries. To reverse this trend, the quality of postgraduate education in India must be on par with reputable international institutions.

Rajendra Shinde, Principal of St. Xavier’s College, emphasized that easy access to information and student loans is nurturing the aspirations of students and their families. He mentioned that foreign universities are actively engaging with the Indian market, seeking students for revenue and diversity on their campuses. College principals also noted a substantial increase in students pursuing overseas education immediately after completing Class 12—a recent phenomenon.

Study-abroad consultants have observed a rise in students from tier-II and tier-III cities opting to study abroad. Factors such as political situations in other countries also influence these numbers. Following the tightening of US visa regulations in 2017, the apprehension of further restrictions may have driven more individuals to pursue education abroad in subsequent years, as stated by K P Singh, CEO of a study-abroad consultancy. The Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange 2019 highlighted a record high number of foreign students in the US during 2018-19.

Karan Gupta, an international education counselor, noted a substantial increase in students from Mumbai going abroad since 2021. He attributed this surge to post-Covid desires for new experiences and exposure to diverse cultures. With India’s growing economy, more individuals have the financial means to invest in education. Gupta highlighted the demand for qualified Indian students by foreign universities, particularly with a decline in the number of Chinese students.