Three ways Indian students maximize the career potential in the US higher education

interEDGE.org co-founders Di Hu and Rahul Choudaha analyzed the enrollment patterns of Indian students in the US as compared to the Chinese students. The article was published in Quartz.

Indian students on OPT, STEM and master's programs
Indian students on OPT, STEM and master’s programs in the US

The number of Indian students enrolled for higher education in the US has surged by 71% in just two years.

In January 2014, there were 105,426 Indians studying in that country, according to data released by the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) established under the US department of homeland security. This figure rose to 181,051 by November 2015.

Indian students in the US are value-seekers who try to minimize their cost of education, and maximize the potential for job and career advancement opportunities. Here are three broad factors that influence their decision-making processes and priorities:

1. Lower cost of education with master’s programs

In 2015, 77% or nearly three out of four Indian students in the US were enrolled for master’s programs, according to SEVIS. Compare that to the 30% figure for Chinese students. Indians are also less likely (only 10%) to enroll in the more expensive four-year bachelor’s degrees, compared to the Chinese (36%).

2. Longer work opportunity through OPT

Most Indian students are interested in engineering, computer science, and related “STEM”—science-technology-engineering—fields that provide an extended opportunity to work in the US through OPT (Optional Practical Training). In fact, 82% of Indians were enrolled in STEM programs, while the figure was only 38% for the Chinese, according to SEVIS.

3. Key destinations with more technology sector jobs

Indian students’ top destinations in the US are IT hubs. Nearly 40% of them are enrolled in just three states—California (30,823), Texas (21,590), and New York (17,711)—according to SEVIS. The number in California doubled from 15,327 in April 2014 to 30,823 in December 2015. The growth rates in Texas and New York are slower at 54% and 39%, respectively, compared to 59% nationwide.

Click here to read the full article “Even Chinese students can’t beat Indians at squeezing out the most from a US education” published in Quartz.

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About Rahul Choudaha, PhD

I’m the co-founder and CEO of DrEducation, LLC, a US-based research and consulting firm specializing in global higher education. I analyze trends impacting global student mobility and its implications for institutional growth and innovation strategies. As an adjunct, I have taught courses on international higher education at New York University and Baruch College. My lens to global higher education is shaped by the intersection of my cross-disciplinary education background. I hold a doctorate in Higher Education from the University of Denver and a bachelor’s in engineering and a master’s in business from India. Follow me on Twitter.com/DrEducationBlog

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