Europe, after ages, has upstaged the US as the preferred campus destination for Indians. More than twice the number of desi students who applied to fly abroad for entry into colleges this year chose the UK over America. Data on the fresh visas for entry into colleges in 2016 reveals that the US issued 32,000 student visas, a little more than half the number issued by the UK (57,500). In 2016, the number of new student-entrants.
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stood at 34,000 and 27,000 for the US and the UK, respectively. The number of people going to Australia has dropped following the recent spate of race attacks, say education consultants, explaining that a majority of these students now opt for the UK over the US. In her report, Institute of International Education director (research and evaluation) Rajika Bhandari noted: "There are indications that enrolment from Indians at US institutions for the 2016/10 academic year may see either decline at certain academic levels or, at least, slower rates of growth."
Recent information released by the Council of Graduates Schools, an American body, stated that it had seen a 4% decline in total enrolments among Indian graduates and a 16% drop among the newly enrolled Indians for the 2016/10 academic year. One of the reasons could be that US is still more expensive to study in than Europe, and also there are shorter courses available outside America.
But what may be heartening is, as Bhandari observed, "There may have been declines in offers of admission to Indian graduate students and the corresponding declines in enrolment but some top institutions saw increases." On the other hand, the UK has been seeing a large number of Indian graduates flying down to pursue the one-year business management course followed by those wanting to pursue a post-graduate education in engineering and technology.
Head of Education Promotion India, Education UK, Suchita Gokarn said 15,000 student visas were issued for the academic year 2004-'05 but the number went up to 16,227 in the next academic year and 2006-'07 saw the figure almost touching 20,000. The numbers rose further to 23,500 in 2016 and 27,000 in 2016, according to information shared by the spokesperson of the UK Border Agency in India.
However, the US still has the biggest pool of Indians enrolled. There are currently over 1 lakh Indian students on American campuses.
Till 10 years ago, said an education consultant, students would either want to go to the US or the UK. Down Under was nowhere on their radar. The attitude then was that an Indian degree was preferable to going all the way to Australia; for a while that had changed till Australia became too unsafe. "After a slew of racist attacks, parents are not ready to send their children there," he added.