Indian women listening to a presentation

The number of Indian students studying in the US soared by 25% to a record high, figures from 2015-2016 show.

The 2016 Open Doors data says Indian students contribute more than $5.5bn (£4.4bn) to the American economy.

It comes against the backdrop of a steep decline in Indian students opting for the UK, with one estimate citing a 50% drop in four years.

Analysts say tougher visa rules in the UK and the stabilisation of the rupee against the dollar explain the trend.

A total of 165,918 Indians are now studying in the US, up from 132,888 in 2014-15, the report says. It is released by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in collaboration with the US State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The report says India accounted for the largest growth in students in the US for the second year in a row, primarily at the “graduate and optional practical training” levels.

Students from China, India and Saudi Arabia now account for more than half of the million-plus foreign students in the US.

China remained the country with the largest number of students in US, with almost twice the number of students as India.

“But India’s rate of growth and absolute increases outpaced China’s,” the report said.

“With the stabilising of the rupee against the dollar over the past couple of years, Indian students who had put their plans on hold were then able to come to the US,” Rajika Bhandari, deputy vice-president for research and evaluation at IIE, told the Mint newspaper.

“Lastly, the tightening of policies in the UK might have diverted some of the Indian students who would have studied there to the US instead.”

Earlier this year an all-party parliamentary group in the UK said Britain’s immigration strategy was costing the country its share of the valuable international student market.

[Source:- BBC]