America is like Home for Many Indian Students
India sent more students to the US as compared to the previous year while China sent fewer, according to a new report. “The number of students from China and India made Asia the most popular continent of origin.
Comparable to the drop from 2020 to 2021, China sent fewer students in 2022 than 2021 (-24,796), while India sent more students (+64,300),” US Immigration and Customs Enforcement has said in its annual report.
The report said 46% (6,21,347) of all active Student and Exchange Visitor Programme (SEVP) records all over the US, ranging from schools to the universities and higher research institutions, hailed from either China or India in 2022.
Another report by the Council of Graduate Schools, a nonprofit higher education network, has also said that the number of first-time Indian graduate students increased by 430% from fall 2020 (3,715) to fall 2021 (21,548). During the same period, the number of new Chinese graduate students increased by 35%, from 10,212 to 15,355.
“While the substantial increase in Indian students is striking, we believe this increase is due in large part to the higher deferments of Indian graduate admissions in Fall of 2020,” said Enyu Zhou, a senior analyst at the council who authored the report on the survey. “Basically, fall of 2021 saw Indian students from two consecutive application years matriculating at the same time.”
In fall 2020, the council found that 21% of Indian master’s-level admissions and 12% of Indian doctoral admissions were deferred as the pandemic prevented Indians from traveling to the U.S. Those deferrals fell to 5% and 4%, respectively, in fall 2021.
It may be noted that 70 percent of all international students in the US call Asia home. Other Asian countries that sent fewer students in 2022 compared to last include Saudi Arabia (-4,115), Kuwait (-658) and Malaysia (-403).
Incidentally, until 2016, the Chinese students constituted the majority among foreign students categories in the United States. Since then, the number of Indian students has steadily grown.
Many experts consider the decline of Chinese students coming to America to be one of the collateral damages of the sharp decline of the bilateral relationship of late. The rise of the Indian students , so runs their argument, is due to the ever growing ties between the world’s largest and the most powerful democracies – India and the United States.
Chinese students and their parents are “concerned of the safety in the U.S. in the context of racism and hatred against Asians in general and China in particular,” other experts say.
Anti-U.S. sentiment appears to be growing among younger Chinese in particular. In a survey of Chinese internet users conducted by the U.S.-China Perception Monitor in September 2021, 64% of respondents aged 25 to 34 said they had an unfavorable or extremely unfavorable attitude toward the U.S., compared with 57% among those 65 and above.
Increased U.S. scrutiny of Chinese students, fueled by espionage concerns, has further contributed to the decline. China’s stringent entry restrictions under President Xi Jinping’s zero-COVID strategy has discouraged students from leaving home as well.
China’s rich and powerful often sent their children to the U.S. for school as a way to network and secure better job opportunities. But with Xi advancing more inward-looking policies, some now see Chinese institutions as a better option for their children’s future.
The rivalry between the U.S. and China is only expected to persist, exacerbating negative sentiment on both sides, and the decline in Chinese students in the U.S. could extend the countries’ decoupling to academia.