Representational Picture

An increasing number of students are crossing the globe to gain practical, international experience that they can apply in their careers and life in a global society.

The 2016 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, released today, finds that the number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities surpassed one million for the first time during the 2015-16 academic year—an increase of seven percent from the previous year to a new high of nearly 1,044,000, representing five percent of the total student population at U.S. institutions.

This strong growth confirms that the United States remains the destination of choice in higher education.

The United States hosts more of the world’s 4.5 million globally mobile college and university students than any other country in the world, more than double the number hosted by the United Kingdom, the second leading host country. In 2015-16, there were nearly 69,000 more international students in U.S. higher education compared to the previous year. The Open Doors® report is published annually by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The new report indicates there were a record 165,918 students from India, a 25% increase on the year before, making it the 2nd leading country of origin among international students in the United States. This was the highest absolute increase of students ever and followed the previous year’s record growth.

“Higher education continues to be the bedrock of our people to people ties. More students from India studied in the United States than ever before – at all levels – and I am especially pleased to see the record back-to-back, year-on-year growth in student numbers,” said U.S. Ambassador Richard R. Verma. He continued, “With efforts such as our Passport to India initiative, we are also seeing the number of American students in India beginning to grow.”

India accounts for one out of every six international students in the United States. Approximately three-fifths of Indian students are at the graduate level and three-fourths are in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

Open Doors also reports that more than 313,000 U.S. students received credit last year for study abroad during 2014-15, an increase of nearly three percent over the previous year. India is ranked 13th among the top 25 destinations of U.S. study abroad. The number of U.S. students going to India to study for academic credit at their home university in the United States decreased by 3.2 percent to 4,438, although this number has remained relatively flat across the last five years at 4,500.

The release of the new Open Doors data marks the celebration of International Education Week, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from other countries to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.

To mark International Education Week, the U.S. Embassy is rolling out a series of short social media videos with Indians who have returned from studies in the United States and highlighting the activities of its seven EducationUSA centers in country. The Consulates are “Bringing Education to You” through a series of outreach events partnering with chambers of commerce, local universities, television stations, and other diplomatic missions. The U.S. Embassy’s Foreign Commercial Service has a trade mission of twenty U.S. higher education institutions visiting Kolkata, New Delhi and Kathmandu from November 14-19, including university fairs in each city.

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