High cost, slowdown in job market cited as reasons

29-year-old Ravi Verma, decided to drop out of his plan of doing an MBA in the US, after reviewing the cost (which jumped significantly due to the depreciating rupee) and the overall return on investment.

Slowdown in the job market and opportunities in other destinations such as Singapore, New Zealand and Dubai has resulted in a continuous decline in the number of Indian students studying in the US.

According to the Educational Exchange Data released by the Institute of International Education, there has been a continuous decline in the last three years in the overall number of Indian students studying in the US.

Since 2009, the number of undergraduate Indian students in the US has declined by 16 per cent to 12,740 in 2012-13 from 15,192.

Similarly, the number of graduate Indian students in the US declined by 20 per cent to 54,607 in 2012-13 from 68,290 in 2009-10. This is also corroborated by the decline in amount spent by Indian students on studies abroad.

The amount came down from about $218 million in 2009-10 to $125 million in 2012-13, according to the RBI data.

Student, work visas

Interestingly, during the period 2009-2013, the number of Chinese students in the US rose 85 per cent at undergraduate and graduate levels. Clay Hensley, Senior Director, International Strategy and Relationships at The College Board, which administers the SAT exam for undergraduate admission in the US, said: “All international students want their college experience to convert into a job. But for Indian students that practicality seems even more important and in the US, a work visa does not necessarily come out of graduation in a US college. It’s a completely different process for getting a student visa and a work visa, whereas in some countries it is integrated.”

Similarly, after the removal of the post-study work visa for international students in the UK, data available from Higher Education Statistics Agency report shows a staggering 42 per cent decline since 2010-11.

Destination New Zealand

A recent Assocham study points out that Indian students are also looking at countries such as Germany, Norway, Malaysia, France, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, and Ireland where education is considerably cheaper and part-time jobs are easier to secure.

New Zealand, for instance, has eased its work rights programme to allow students to work part-time, up to 20 hours per week, and full-time during scheduled holidays. That has helped see a 194 per cent increase since 2007, said Ziena Jalil, Regional Director, South Asia at Education New Zealand.

According to Vineet Gupta, Director at Jamboree, which helps student’s clear proficiency tests such as GMAT/GRE/SAT/TOEFL/IELTS, the rise in entrepreneurial/job opportunities in India has seen many candidates coming back to India after studying abroad.

(This article was published on June 8, 2014)
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