Visa Crunch

Admissions At US Universities Declined During Covid, Yet United States Remains Top Pick For Indian Students

According to the Institute of Overseas Education’s Open Doors 2021 report, the number of first-time international students enrolling at the US universities dropped by 46% as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Given the hurdles posed by travel restrictions and bans about 1,45,528 international students were able to commence their studies in the United States or from overseas, in person or online. For the 2020/2021 academic year, 9,14,000 overseas students registered at US universities, a 15% decrease from the previous year.

In addition, almost 2,00,000 overseas students participated in Optional Practical Training, which allowed them to get work experience in the United States after completing their academic studies. The number of pupils was not broken down by country of origin in the preliminary report. However, according to a Statista article, over 1,67,000 Indian students studied in the United States during the 2020/2021 school year.

International students from China and India make up the majority of international students in the United States, which continues to be the most popular destination for studying abroad. International students make up 5% of all students in higher education in the United States, contributing $39 billion to the economy in 2020, according to the US Department of Commerce.

Despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Open Doors® 2021 Report on International Educational Exchange highlights the persistent commitment of students and researchers, US higher education, governmental partners, and industry stakeholders to international educational exchange.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State and the Institute of International Education jointly produced the annual report. For more than 70 years, the report has served as a significant standard for international educational exchange to the United States.

The United States is highly dedicated to international education, as stated in the recent Joint Statement of Principles in Support of International Education issued by the US Departments of State and Education. “International students are central to the free flow of ideas, innovation, economic prosperity, and peaceful relations between nations,” said Matthew Lussenhop, Acting Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State.

“As reiterated in the recent Joint Statement of Principles in Support of International Education by the U.S. Departments of State and Education, the United States is strongly committed to international education as we continue to build back better.”

“Despite the global pandemic, Indian students were able to apply for visas and travel to the United States,” said U.S. Minister Counsellor for Consular Affairs Don Heflin, who is based at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi.

“We issued over 62,000 student visas this summer alone, more than in any previous year,” he said, according to a press release from the embassy. “This goes to show that the United States remains the destination of choice for Indian students looking to study abroad,” said Heflin. “We look forward to issuing many more visas in the year to come, to help Indian students achieve their dreams of U.S. study.”

In the academic year 2020-2021, 9,14,095 international students (including those who studied remotely from their home countries) enrolled in US colleges and universities, a 15% reduction from the previous academic year. While China remained the top destination for international students, India and South Korea came in second and third, respectively, all 25 top destinations for international students saw a decrease in numbers.

The number of Indians enrolling in American graduate programs, which make up the largest segment of Indian students in the US, has decreased by 19.1%. Non-degree courses saw the biggest drop (21.7%), while OPT (practical work experience after a degree program for up to 36 months) saw a 9.3% drop.

In total, the United States today has 23,734 Indian undergraduates, 68,869 graduate students, 73,601 OPT students, and 1,378 non-degree students. Through their spending, Indian students contributed $6.2 billion to the US economy. International students generated $38.7 billion to the US economy last year, down from $44 billion the year before, according to the US Department of Commerce.

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