Indian students emerge as a top market in the US

Indian students emerge as a top market in the US

International education becomes a more evident priority for the US

It is without any doubt that the United States has always been one of the most popular and sought after premier study destinations for international students. The US accounts for 15% of the global market share in international education with 957,000 students enrolled in their programs. Given this, it comes as no surprise that the US government has prioritised international education in its 2023 National Export Strategy (NES) released by US secretary of commerce Gina Raimondo.


The NES “provides an overarching strategic framework to leverage the trade promotion activities of the federal government to support and create opportunities for American businesses by expanding and diversifying U.S. exports”. This year, they’ve dedicated an entire chapter to international education alone in the strategy; a first time for the sector, which tells us that it is definitely being held at high priority. The much anticipated strategy explains that “[e]ducation exports …. return cross-cutting economic benefits to the nation through workforce development, R&D, and foreign direct investment – which underpin prosperity, economic development, and competitiveness across sectors[.]” It highlighted that education will be one of the top industries by 2025, and a significant element of this is travel exports for education purposes, which includes all expenditures by inbound international students to the US. The strategy also discussed the non-economic benefits of welcoming international students to the US, which are strengthened relationships between current and future leaders, global competency, and supporting research and innovation.


Spotlighting Indian students

The IIE’s Spring 2023 Snapshot on International Educational Exchange, which is based on responses from 527 US higher education institutions, suggests that US educators are stepping up their efforts to attract students in various markets – most especially India. The IIE found that from 2021-2022, the US had more international graduate students studying in the country at 41% than they did foreign undergraduates, which was only at 36%. To add to this, the 2023 International Graduate Admissions Report also saw a much steeper rise in international enrolments in US master’s programmes from 2020 to 2022 than for doctoral programs, and a big reason for this is the popularity of master’s programs among Indian students.


At both the undergraduate and graduate levels, the top priority recruitment market for 2023 is India. ICEF Monitor said that “[t]he focus on India is more intense at the graduate level (77%) than at the undergraduate level (57%). This dovetails with CGS research indicating that Indian students are driving applications and enrolment growth in the US at the graduate level. In fall 2022, for example, Indian students accounted for 38% of all graduate applications to master’s and doctoral programs.”


To support this, the Hindustan Times shared that more than 200,000 Indian students are studying at American academic institutions this year, which represents more than 20% of international students who are currently in the US. A record-breaking 125,000 Indians were issued student visas last year. Brendan Mullarkey, the acting minister counsellor for consular affairs in India, said in an interview, “In fact, one out of every five student visas was issued in India last year[.] This year, we will interview more students than ever before[.]” Given all of this data, it’s no wonder that Indian international students are very much welcomed with open arms to study in the US.


What attracts Indian students to the US?

There are countless reasons international students continue to pursue their studies in the US. Among these, the most notable ones would probably be the high quality of education, premier and world-renowned institutions, and upgrading one’s credentials with a degree from the US. Likely due to these evident reasons and others, the Indian community continues to climb the charts as more and more students apply to study in the US. Illinois, Texas, Massachusetts, New York, and California are among favorite study destinations for Indian students studying in the United States, according to Erudera


With regards to top courses taken by international students, Yocket has listed the following as the top eight: Computer Science, Data Science and Business Analytics, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Medicine, Finance, Biotechnology and Business Management. According to the Times of India, Indian students are flocking to the US after more American institutions have merged the technical skills of STEM and the merit of an MBA with the relatively new STEM-designated MBA. International education counsellor Karan Gupta said that this recent offering has been attracting Indian students “in the hordes”. In fact, interim director of full-time MBA admissions at the Ross School of Business, Taya Sapp, told the Times of India: “At least 85% of the students pursuing our STEM-designated specialisaton in management science are international students. India … [is a] highly represented [population] among our international students.”

There are already a multitude of reasons why Indian students continue to pursue their studies in the US, and currently, many new reasons continue to come forth still. To discover even more opportunities for your students, visit our platform and touch base with our Business Development Managers in your region today.

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