The actual number of full time Indian students in US exceeds existing estimates by a huge margin. So far it was assumed on the basis of an earlier study that there were 100,000 F-1 Indian Visa holders in US. A recent report by a Washington DC think tank puts this number at 168,034. India ranks second only to china in the list of 74 nations with the large number of F-1 Visa holders.
The report on the foreign student population in the US, published by the brooking institution for the year 2008-2012 offers some of the remarkable insights on India. For Instance, Hyderabad was issued 26,220 F-1 visas, almost as many as Mumbai (17,294), Pune (5,551) and Delhi (8,728) put together. In fact there are more students in US from AndhraPradesh than any other state in India. Chennai (9,141) and Bangalore (8,835) are running neck and neck.
There were 3,881 F-1s issued from kolkatta.For hyderabad the comaparable percentage of doctrol students was only 5% for chennai 14% .This could suggest a sound master's programme in west bengal.
The study also shows that two thirds of the foreign students are studying STEM (Science, technology, engineering, Math) or business, Management and marketing fields, compared to 48% of US students.
At 70%, STEM prefernce is particularly pronouned among the Indian students. In the list the engineering tops ,followed by the computer,information sciences and support services,business ,management,amrketing and related support services,biological and biomedical science and health professions and related programmes.
The Brookings report sees the foreign student inflow as an economic bonanza for the US that Washington and the local metropolises should capitalize on.
It is easy to see whu Indian students for instance poined up more than $5 billion in the 2008-2012 periods to study in US with students from hyderbad and mumbai coughing up $650 million.
It is no secret that US institutions crave for foreign students because of the money, brains and the presitge they bring.The report suggest several measures to maximum the benefit of full benefit of the foreign student’s local presence.
Bangladesh (5,319) for instance has almost as many students in US as Pakistan (5,767) but that could be becuase of strict visa controls that apply to the latter.
The real surprise howeever is Nepal which got nearly 20,000 F-1 visa, compared to Sri lanka’s 4,113. Another surprise is Iran with 9,611 F-1s compared to Isreal's 4,588.
Lapping up this munificence from the foreign students are 118 metro areas in the US that the brookings report assessed as having the largest numbers of foriegn students and while measuring their monetory contributions to their economy. New York and Honolulu had the highest percentage (75%) of the graduates working for the local employer.
Seattke, Maimi and Las Vegas also ranked high for the students who remained in thier areas to work after graduating.
While large population centres such as New York and Los Angeles have high numbers of foreign students, small or mid -sized metro areas that are home universities have the most significant concentrations of these students.
Ithaca, New York tops the list with 71.2 F-1 students per 1,000, compated to 22.4 for the nationl as a whole.
Boston, Massachusetts and Santa Barbara, California also rank at the top of the list.
University of southern California, Columbia University in NYC and University of IIinios in Urbana champaign were the magnets for the forign students, each taking around 13,000 F-1 visa holders.NYC, city university of New York and ourdue hosted around 11,000 each.
While this data sugeests that forieng students typically f;lock to metropolises the forign student inflow is also a boon to small university towns such as Lafayette and bloomingtom in Indiana and durhman and chapel hill in North carolina.
The report offers the two pronged approach to help the metropolitan leaders make the best of their heavy foreign student population.It also suggest leveraging the foreign student connections with their home communities abroad to facilitate and deepen the economic exchange.
It also advocates the following developing the programes to connect the graduates to employers located in the school's metropolitan area,helping the local employers obtain the necessary visas for the foriegn graduates with in demand skills and advocating for immigration reform to make visas available for the graduates who want to stay in USA.
Increasingly, US colleges and universities are educating the world's business, scientific and political leaders of the future. Metropolitan leaders should capitalize on this trend to strengthen their position in the global marketplace by giving local employers access to a larger pool of workers with valuable skills and knowledge already living in their areas,'' says Neil Ruiz, associate fellow for the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program and author of the report.