India: Indian Students Studying in the US

The US has been the favorite international destination for Indian students. Their numbers in the US have steadily been rising. In fact, in the last 9 years, the number of Indian students studying in the US has increased 75%. According to the Institute of International Education, there were 132,000 Indian students studying in the US as of 2015. Over a similar period, the number of Chinese students however has increased by 400%! This increase has been particularly noteworthy since 2009. In 2009, Indian and Chinese student numbers were comparable at around 100,000. This was the aftermath of the great recession in the US but the Chinese economy was at its strongest around this time.

The growing numbers of Indian students in the US means more Indians have access to quality higher education. A lot of credit goes to Indian banks which have made educational loans accessible to these students. On the flip side, this has also meant that finding a job in the US for these students has become a competitive affair. This is the case not only because the pool of qualified international applicants has grown considerably and number of opportunities have not grown as fast but also because of the limited number of work visas. The number of work visas called the H1B visa is limited to 85,000. The number of students graduating far exceeds this number which means a lot Indian students have to return to India after wrapping up the education.

This is actually good news for the India economy. A trained, highly-skilled cohort of Indians with international experience and a fresh perspective is now contributing to the Indian economy. Snapdeal cofounder Kunal Bahl and Naveen Tiwari of InMobi are poster children of this cohort.