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are two distinct trends shaping up: On one hand, the US and
European governments are tightening visa and travel restrictions,
on the other hand, demand for western education has seen a
marked surge from around the globe. To cater to this demand,
universities and educational institutions are offering distance
education, part-time educational courses and, e-learning and
online degrees. This section of GaramChai.com presents a glimpse
into the options available to global students who wish to
avail of world-class education without travelling half-way
across the globe.
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recent US Council of Graduate Schools report shows a 5% decline
in international graduate student applications from 2004 to
2005. Significantly, declines are particularly notable for
students from China (-13%) and India (-9%) and students in
the fields of engineering (-7%) and business (-8%). So does
this really mean that the US is losing its popularity as a
destination for Indian students?
may not really be case, feel experts. Says Vijaya Khandavilli,
educational advisor, Usefi, New Delhi: “The fall in numbers
of applications to institutions first of all is very different
from the numbers of students who apply for US student visas.
The fall in applications could well be because students are
now choosy and are applying to fewer graduate schools. The
Indian economy is on a high and many students are opting for
jobs after college and taking a few years to decide to go
to the US for graduate studies. We have seen this trend at
the US education fairs of the average age of students going
up to about 25-26.
are in fact taking informed decisions and more time to think
about graduate studies in the US. What is also noticeable
is the fact that the students these days are very well informed
and don’t send of applications to 10-15 institutions in a
hurry since applications have become expensive. They carefully
choose a couple of institutions and apply only to those. ”
while fewer applications may not mean lower enrolments, the
acceptance rate has become a good indicator when it comes
to college rankings. Also while funds are drying up for masters
programmes, more are available for PhD studies. Increasingly,
there are more undergraduate scholarships, too, available
in a greater number of colleges,” she adds.
CGS report showed that the top 25 institutions with the most
international student enrolment showed only a 2% decline in
applications. The overall visa numbers for Indian students
on F-1 visas last year went up to 5,063 in '04, against 5,019
visas issued in the previous year.
fact, late last year, a report on Foreign Student And Scholar
Enrolment and Visa Trends noted that there were decreases
in the number of new international students who missed the
first day on campus due to visa delays.
India, the US Embassy and consulates have also been stepping
up efforts to ensure that students applying for visas don’t
face delays or long queues. Last year, during the busy seasons
Indian students received visa appointments within two weeks,
while most other applicants waited six weeks for an interview
US consular section has been facilitating the visa process
for students with various measures including operating more
windows and increasing staff,” says Khandavilli. On the issue
of greater global competition from various other countries,
she feels that other countries too like Australia and UK have
been showing an overall decline in foreign student enrolments.
“However, a few like Singapore have shown some increase in
enrolments of Indian students ,” she adds. The optional practical
training that foreign students in the US have for one year
is very attractive.
employment opportunities in the US improve, the OPT possibilities
are improving too. In fact, for students, OPT is more important
than H-1B visas,” feels Khandavilli.
over reports like the Graduate Education and American Competitiveness
survey which shows that first-time international graduate
enrolments have been declining, coupled with the growing importance
of India internationally, has led to an increase in the marketing
activities by even Ivy League US colleges in India.
big names don’t yet join the fairs that we organise many like
Yale, Purdue and MIT are sending top officials like presidents,
deans and student delegations to India. Such visits often
result in below the line marketing while many institutions
also use their alumni networks to reach out to Indian students,”
for the Indian undergrad students, she feels that a good option
is transfer admissions. “That way, students can save time
and money. Transfer often also gives them independence of
changing fields,” she adds.
Susan Whipple, assistant director of international programmes,
Marquette University, Wisconsin: “If the programme is officially
recognised by the concerned US university a transfer while
doing the graduate degree in India could be a very flexible
option. Depending on the course, syllabus and the affiliation,
credits could be given for previous coursework. Such students
can also be considered for scholarships.”
the issue of visa issues putting foreign students off US education,
Whipple feels that, increasingly, students with 1-20 forms
from colleges are finding it much easier to get US student
Duttagupta Times News Network[ March 27, 2005]
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