India Surpasses China as the Largest Source of International Graduate Students in the US

India has surpassed China to become the largest source of international graduate students in the US for the first time since 2009-10, with 268,923 Indian students studying in American institutions during the academic year 2022-23.

According to a new report from the Institute of International Education (IIE) released on Monday, a record number of Indian students travelled to the US to pursue higher education for the third year in a row.

The Open Doors Report said the number of students from India coming to the US increased by 35% and resulted in an all-time high of 268,923 in the academic year 2022-23. Indian students account for more than 25% of the more than one million foreign students studying in the US.

The number of Indian graduate students rose by 63% to 165,936 during 2022-23, an increase of nearly 64,000 students, compared to 2021-22, while Indian undergraduate students increased by 16%.

Data also showed India leading in the number of individuals (69,062) who pursued optional practical training (OPT), a type of temporary work permission that allows eligible students to get real-world experience related to their field of study.

“According to Open Doors Report data, India surpassed China to become the largest source of international graduate students in the United States for the first time since 2009/10,” the US embassy said in a statement.

The US embassy and consulates in India issued a record numbers of student visas during the main student visa season of June-August 2023. Consular officers across India issued 95,269 visas in the F, M, and J categories. This marked an 18% increase during the same time frame in 2022.

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To assist Indian students in finding the right study opportunity, the US state department offers free advising services to prospective candidates, both virtually and in-person, at six EducationUSA advising centres in New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai and Hyderabad. All centres are staffed by EducationUSA advisors who offer accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date information about opportunities to study in the US, helping Indian students find the best programme among more than 4,500 accredited higher-education institutions. 

US ambassador Eric Garcetti said every Indian student in the US and their families deserve recognition for this achievement.

“The decision to study abroad, and your choice of the United States, represents a valuable investment by you and your families. You are bringing our countries closer together and leading us towards a bright future. We celebrate the strength of the Indian educational system that prepares students to compete globally and look forward to seeing India continue to lead,” he said.

“We also look forward to balancing these record numbers. We want to see equal numbers of women pursuing studies in the United States and see more US students coming to experience all that India has to offer.”

The release of the Open Doors Report marked the beginning of the International Education Week (IEW), which celebrates the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide.

The US Institute of International Education (IIE) publishes the Open Doors report. IIE conducts an annual statistical survey on international students in the US in partnership with the US state department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. 

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The Open Doors Report 2023 includes international students enrolled at US higher education institutions and online from abroad, and those on Optional Practical Training (OPT) from fall 2022 to spring 2023.

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