More Americans studying abroad favour India

Washington, Nov 17 (Inditop.com) With a record number of US students studying abroad, China, India, Japan, South Africa and Argentina emerged as the most favoured educational destinations, according to a new survey.

According to the Open Doors 2009 survey by the Institute of International Education released Monday, the number of Americans studying abroad increased by 8.5 percent to 262,416 in the 2007/08 academic year.

The survey shows that the number of students to nearly all of the top 25 destinations increased, notably to destinations less traditional for study abroad: China, Ireland, Austria and India (up about 20 percent each), as well as Costa Rica, Japan, Argentina and South Africa (up nearly 15 percent each).

At the same time, the number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by 8 percent to an all-time high of 671,616 in the 2008/09 academic year while the number of “new” international students – those enrolled for the first time at a US college or university in fall 2008 – increased by 16 percent.

This represents the largest percentage increase in international student enrolments since 1980/81.

According to separate joint survey conducted by eight leading higher education associations, overall enrolments of international students increased this autumn at half (50 percent or 348) of responding member campuses.

For the first time, the number of institutions reporting increases in students from India do not outweigh those who are reporting declines (29 percent reporting increases and 29 percent reporting declines).

When looking specifically at the largest host institutions (those 121 responding institutions enrolling more than 1,000 students), 50 percent of responding institutions are reporting a decline for students from India and only 31 percent are reporting an increase.

“Despite the economic downturn, many campuses are still seeing increases in international student enrollment for Fall 2009, while others are seeing declines or flattening of enrollments,” said Allan E. Goodman, President and CEO of the Institute of International Education (IIE).

“The impact also varies by country, with reported declining enrolments from India and a few other countries offset on many campuses by surging numbers of students coming from China and strong increases from certain other major sending countries,” he said.