Even as the number of Indian students in the US dropped below 100,000 after four years largely due to devaluation of the rupee, India remained the second leading source of students coming to the US.
In the 2012/13 academic year, 96,754 students from India were studying in the US, down from a peak of 104,897 in 2009/10 with three consecutive years of decline, according to the 2013 Open Doors report on international educational exchange.
"It is getting more expensive for Indian students to study outside of their own country due to decreases in the value of the rupee," said Rajika Bhandari, Deputy Vice President for Research and Evaluation at the Institute of International Education. "However, there is every indication that those who do study abroad continue to see the US as their first choice for study abroad," she said, noting that only China sends more students than India.
The US also remains the leading destination for students from India who study outside of their own country, followed by Britain and Australia. In 2012/13, the US hosted nearly three times as many Indian students as Britain, and more than five times as many Indian students as Australia has been hosting in recent years, the report said.
The number of international students enrolled in US higher education increased by seven percent to 819,644 students in 2012/13 with students from the top three places of origin China, India and South Korea making up 49 percent of the total. Even with the numbers from China increasing and the numbers from India and South Korea declining, no other country represents more than 5 percent of the total. The majority of Indian students study at the graduate level making up 56.4 percent in 2012/13, according to the report.
There were 13.2 percent undergraduate, 28.8 percent undergoing OPT (Optional Practical Training) and 1.6 percent other. India is number 12 on the list of destinations for American students studying abroad, and continues to receive more US students each year. "In the most recent data year, 2011/12, about 4,600 American students went to India. Increasing this number is critical so more American students have the cultural and language skills required for 21st century jobs," Bhandari said. While India has seen a drop of 3.5 percent for the last two years, historically it had been the leading place of origin for international students in the US from 2001/02 through 2008/09.
In 2000/01 there was a surge in enrolments from India, with an increase of 30 percent, followed by two more years of strong growth (12 percent in 2002/03 and 7 percent in 2003/04). The increases tapered off in 2004/05 and then decreased slightly in 2005/06, before resuming much larger increases in 2006/07 and for the next two years. In 2009/10, the increases levelled off, and China became the top sender and remains in that position. Students from India make up approximately 11.8 percent of the total foreign student population in the US.