More than 43.9 per cent of Indian STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) students in 2020-21 were on Optional Practical Training (OPT) or temporary employment before their student visa expired, compared to 41 per cent who were pursuing master's courses, according to the Open Doors Report.
This is the first time that the share of Indian students (2.03 lakh) on OPT was more than the share of those pursuing master's courses. The Open Doors Report on international education exchange is an annual survey that provides information on the international students studying in the US.
As per the report, the percentage of Indian students pursuing graduate courses fell from 64 per cent to 41 per cent between 2014-15 and 2020-21. During the same period, the share of Indian students on OPT increased from 22.1 per cent to nearly 44 per cent.
The report found that seven out of 10 international students in the US are from Asia. Over 50 per cent of the international students in the US are from India and China. China has had three lakh, international students, in the US since 2014-15.
The US has the second-highest number of international students from India. In 2018-19, more than two lakh students were from India, which declined by 4.4 per cent in 2019-20 and by 13.2 per cent in 2020-21. China and India account for 45 per cent of all international students in 2014-15, which increased to 53 per cent in 2020-21.
The report also found that over three-quarters of Indian students in the US are pursuing STEM courses. The greatest demand in the US is for mathematics and computer science, followed by engineering, and more than 68 per cent of the Indian students had opted for either of these two fields of study. In comparison, the share is 40 per cent for all international students. The majority of the international students -- over 3.6 lakh (39 per cent), were pursuing undergraduate courses, followed by 3.29 lakh students (36 per cent) at the graduate or masters level courses.
Further, the report found that California hosted the maximum number of international students (1.32 lakh), while New York hosted the second-highest number of students (more than 1 lakh) and about 17.4 per cent of them were Indians (over 18,600 students). Illinois and Massachusetts also hosted more than 10,000 Indian students each. Over 31 per cent of the international students in Arizona, 27.4 per cent in Illinois, and 26 per cent in Indiana and New Jersey were Indians.
'Personal and family funding’ for international students has decreased from 66.5 per cent in 2015-16 to 54 per cent in 2020-21. The sponsorship of foreign governments reduced to 2.5 per cent from 7.4 per cent during the same period, the report found.
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