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US remains top higher education choice for Indian students

New Delhi, Nov 16 (IANS) Despite the coronavirus pandemic, around 2,00,000 Indian students chose the US as their destination to pursue higher education in the 2019-20 academic year.

As per the Open Doors Report of the Institute of International Education (IIE), released on Monday, Indian students comprised nearly 20 per cent of the over one million (10 lakh) students from around the world.

The IIE has been conducting annual statistical survey on international students in the US since its founding in 1919 and in partnership with the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs since 1972.

Over the last few decades, the US has seen a steady increase in the number of undergraduate students from India.

“Over the last 10 years, the number of Indians studying in the United States has roughly doubled, and we know why: the United States is the gold standard for higher education, providing practical application and experience that gives our graduates an advantage in the global economy,” Minister Counselor for Public Affairs, David Kennedy, said.

To assist Indian students, the US Department of State offers advising services to prospective students through seven EducationUSA advising centers at the United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) throughout India — New Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, and Mumbai.

EducationUSA is a global network of advising centers in 170 countries that is supported by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). The United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) – the Fulbright Commission of India, is a binational organization which promotes mutual understanding between the United States and India through educational and cultural exchanges.

Early next year, a second EducationUSA Center is opening in Hyderabad hosted by Y-Axis Foundation. All centers are staffed by EducationUSA advisors who offer information about opportunities to study in the US, helping Indian students find the best program and the right fit from among the 4,500 accredited higher-education institutions in the US.

Open Doors reports on international scholars at US universities and international students enrolled in pre-academic Intensive English Programs. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the US Department of State builds relations between the people of the US and the people of other countries through academic, cultural, sports, professional and private sector exchanges, as well as public-private partnerships and mentoring programs.

Approximately 50,000 participants annually embark on these exchange programs, including the flagship Fulbright Program and the International Visitor Leadership Program. ECA also sponsors the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarships for US undergraduates with financial need, the Critical Language Scholarship Program in support of US foreign language study abroad, and the EducationUSA network of over 400 advising centers worldwide, which provides information to students around the globe who wish to study in the US.

Since the onset of the global Covid-19 pandemic, ECA has revamped its exchange programs as appropriate to include part- or full-time virtual components or deferred exchanges until such time that they can resume.

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