Despite visa challenges, job uncertainties, and prolonged layoffs, Indian students continue to show remarkable resilience in pursuing education in the United States. According to the Open Doors 2023 report released by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Institute of International Education (IIE), India has become the second-largest contributor of students to the US.
This surge in Indian student numbers is largely attributed to a remarkable 63% increase in graduate student enrollments, totaling 165,936, along with a 16% rise in undergraduates. Additionally, there’s been a 1.3% increase in Optional Practical Training (OPT) participation, totaling 69,062.
The report further highlights a substantial increase in the number of Indian students, reaching an all-time high of 268,923 in the academic year 2022–23. This marks a significant 35% increase compared to the previous year. Conversely, there was a 2% decline in the total Chinese student population in the US, with 289,526 Chinese students currently enrolled.
STEM subjects, particularly mathematics and computer science, remain the top choices for Indian students studying in the US. Recent reports from fall 2023 indicate an 8% increase in the total international student enrollment in the US, with 14% year-over-year growth in first-time enrollment. Notably, 70% of institutions prioritise undergraduate outreach, and 80% prioritise graduate outreach.
The surge in international students has prompted US universities to intensify efforts to recruit students from India, with US graduate programmes emerging as the preferred study abroad destination for the second consecutive year. The popularity of math and computer science programs, which together draw half of the international students in the United States, was primarily responsible for last year’s growth.
Following the sharp decline in international student enrollment due to the impact of COVID-19, this increase in enrollment indicates a positive trend toward pre-pandemic levels.