Flow of Indian students to US grows at three-year low of 12.3%

Indian students’ flow to the US for higher education rose 12.3% in 2016-17, a three-year low, amid concerns over changes in US immigration policy.


According to official data released on Monday, a total of 186,267 Indians were studying in the US universities in 2016-17. In 2015-16, the number had grown by 24.9% and in 2014-15 it had jumped by 29.4%.

Indian students accounted for 17.3% of the total foreign students in the US in 2016-17, contributing $6.54 billion to the US economy, according to the 2017 Open Doors data released by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in collaboration with the US department of state’s bureau of educational and cultural affairs.


As per Open Doors data, in 2016-17, 62,537 got the F1 Visa, down from 74,831 students in the previous year, a 16.43% decline.

An F1 visa is a non-immigrant visa for those looking to study in the US. One needs to make an F1 visa application to enter the US to attend a university or college, high school, private elementary school, seminary, conservatory, or language training programme.

Similarly, M1 visas for technical and vocational courses without work permits during the course duration have gone down by 17.41% to 503.

However, H1-B visas given to Indians grew by 5.62% in 2016-17 to 126,692. H1-B visa allows US employers to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations like information technology.

This indicates that while the cumulative student population has grown, the flow of fresh students has reported a negative growth.

Among US states, California, New York and Texas are the top three destinations for Indian students.

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