India sent the 2nd highest number of students to U.S. in 2018-19 academic year

India sent more than 200,000 students to the U.S. in 2018-19 academic year, registering a +2.9 percent growth over the previous year, according to the just- released 2019 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange.

The increase in the number of students from India comes amid an all-time high growth in international students in the U.S. in the 2018-19 academic year, the fourth consecutive year that witnessed more than one million international students enrollment.

However, the number of foreign undergraduate students in U.S. colleges and universities fell by about 2 percent and the number of international graduate students declined by 1.3 percent while the number of international nondegree students declined by 5 percent.

With a total of 202,014 students, India was the second highest source of international students after China that remained the largest source of international students for the tenth consecutive year in the United States in 2018/19 with 369,548 students in undergraduate, graduate, non-degree, and optional practical training (OPT) programs, a 1.7 percent increase.

China and India now represent approximately 50 percent of the total enrollment of international students in the U.S.

According to the report, India’s second position was followed by South Korea (52,250, -4.2 percent), Saudi Arabia (37,080, -16.5 percent), and Canada (26,122, +0.8 percent). The report from the Institute of International Education, funded by the State Department, said.

Despite these drops, the total number of international students in the U.S. actually increased slightly, by 0.05 percent, due to a 9.6 percent increase in the number of international students participating in optional practical training, a program that allows international students to stay in the U.S. to work for up to three years after graduating while staying on their student visas, according to

India sent the 2nd highest number of students to U.S. in 2018-19 academic year

In a report the Washington Post noted that these patterns have raised questions about the effect of President Trump’s rhetoric and policies on the international market.

Critics of the president say he has set an “unwelcoming tone” toward China and other major suppliers of students, citing tighter scrutiny of visa applications and threats of trade wars.

Earlier this year there were misgivings if the annual international student enrolment in American schools, which has traditionally been topped by China and India, would be adversely affected after scores of students from India were taken into custody for alleged visa overstay in the “fictitious Farmington University” incident in Michigan.

“We are happy to see the continued growth in the number of international students in the U.S. and U.S. students studying abroad,” said Marie Royce, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs in a statement after the Nov. 18 release of the report.

Although there is no separate breakup of areas of study for students from India, there were a total of 40,239 undergraduate students from South and Central Asia, 105,498 graduate students, 3,081 non-degree students and 89,803 OPT students.

California led the top 20 U.S. States hosting international students, followed by New York, Texas, Massachusetts and Illinois.

However, New York City was once again the top metropolitan area for international students, followed by Los Angeles, Boston, and Chicago. Dallas surpassed San Francisco as the fifth leading metropolitan area.

The Open Doors Report also noted that 51.6 percent of international students pursued STEM fields in 2018/19 and the number of international students in Math and Computer Science programs grew by 9.4 percent, surpassing Business and Management to become the second-largest field of study for international students. Engineering remained the largest academic field for international students, with 21.1 percent of all international students.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, international students contributed $44.7 billion to the U.S. economy in 2018, an increase of 5.5 percent from the previous year.

India sent the 2nd highest number of students to U.S. in 2018-19 academic year

The "Open Doors" report, published annually by the Institute of International Education in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State, is based on a survey of international enrollments across more than 2,800 institutions.

“Promoting international student mobility remains a top priority for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and we want even more students in the future to see the U.S. as the best destination to earn their degrees,” Royce said.

Emerging market countries showed some of the strongest growth year over year, especially Bangladesh (+10.0 percent), Brazil (+9.8 percent), Nigeria (+5.8 percent), and Pakistan (+5.6 percent).

International exchange makes our colleges and universities more dynamic for all students and an education at a U.S. institution can have a transformative effect for international students, just like study abroad experiences can for U.S. students, Royce said.

“We are currently working on a high-quality global marketing campaign”, to reinforce “the message that we welcome international students,” Royce was quoted as saying in Washington Post.

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