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US Making Stronger Efforts To Attract More International Students; Indian Students To Benefit From New Initiatives

US Making Stronger Efforts To Attract More International Students; Indian Students To Benefit From New Initiatives

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The United States is making stronger efforts to work toward its strategy of attracting more international students, including those from India. From faster visa processing to introducing new fellowships, recent initiatives by the U.S. government and the U.S. embassy in New Delhi have come as good news for Indian students. 

Since resuming visa processing for Indian students last month, the U.S. Embassy in India’s consular teams have approved more than 55,000 student visas, which is an all-time record. This is going to bring relief to students who have been waiting to join U.S. universities but were unable to do so because of pandemic-induced travel restrictions. 

As many as 18 percent of all international students in the United States are Indians, which makes India an important target market for education institutions.

According to the U.S. Department of State, international students added more than $39 billion to the U.S. economy in 2020 and took up over 400,000 jobs. 

In the latest step to attract international students, including Indians, President Joe Biden announced the introduction of the Quad Fellowships during the recent visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sept. 25. 

President Biden acknowledged that today’s students will turn into innovators and leaders in the future and that it is important to strengthen ties between the Quad nations – United States, India, Australia, and Japan. He announced a unique fellowship program named Quad Fellowships, wherein 25 master’s and doctoral students each in areas such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from the four countries will be invited to pursue higher studies in the United States every year.  

A non-governmental taskforce that will consist of the private sector, foreign policy, and academic leaders from each country will be among those administering the fellowship program. The scheme will be sponsored by companies such as Google, Mastercard, Accenture, and Blackstone in the initial phase.

Selected candidates will get a chance to travel to each of the four countries to get an understanding of the cultures, besides opportunities to engage and interact with top leaders, scientists, and technology experts. 

Notably, the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had also stressed on why global education is crucial to the nation’s economic prosperity, national security, and diplomacy at an EducationUSA Forum recently.

STEM courses are the most popular among international students in the United States, with 62.1 percent of international graduate students being enrolled in 2019-20. More than 78 percent of Indian students who travel to the United States for higher education opt for these courses, research suggests. In 2019-20, around 150,000 of over 193,000 Indian students in the United States enrolled or worked in STEM programs. 

The United States has been a top destination for Indian and international students as it offers some of the best academic opportunities. For U.S. higher education institutions, students from around the globe bring in diversity and inclusivity on campuses as well as communities. This is besides the numerous opportunities and initiatives that they engage in for business, innovation, and other areas. 

The country is hoping for the numbers from India to increase again after they decreased to 193,00 from 200,000 in 2019-2020. 

After a drop due to COVID-19, the number of international student visas being granted has gone up again. As per data from the State Department, American consulates cleared about 117,000 F-1 student visas in May and June, about 90 percent of the 2019 figures.

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