India second largest source country of foreign students in US

New Delhi, Oct 28: India is the second largest source country of foreign students in the US, with over two lakh Indians studying in various American universities in 2017, a latest official report said.

China tops the list with 4,81,106 students, according to a report released by the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Of over 1.5 million international students studying in various educational institutions in the US in 2017, Indians accounted for more than 2,49,763, the report said.

China and India together account for nearly half of the foreign students in America.  They are followed by three other Asian countries — South Korea (95,701), Saudi Arabia (72,358) and Japan (41,862) – in the top five.

Other countries in the top 10 are Canada, Vietnam, Brazil, Taiwan and Mexico.

India tops the list of students with STEM OPT authorisation

However, India tops the list of students with STEM OPT authorisation.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training (OPT) programme is a 24-month extension of OPT for qualifying students with STEM degrees. Pre-completion OPT takes place prior to a student’s programme end date.

Of the 89,839 STEM OPT foreign students in 2017, as many as 50,507 were from India, followed by China (21,705), South Korea (1,670), Taiwan (1,360), and Iran (1,161).

Notably, Indians do not prefer to come to the US for school studies, the report indicated.

China with 44,573 students tops the list of foreign students at higher secondary level, followed by South Korea (6,842), Vietnam (6,017), Mexico (2,865) and Brazil (1,926).

Non-immigrant student visas

There are two different types of non-immigrant student visas in the US: the F-1 and M-1 visas.

The F-1 visa is for non-immigrants wanting to go for academic studies or language training or both the programme. The M-1 visa is for non-immigrants wanting to go for non-academic or vocational studies.

Earlier in May, another report had said that the J-1 exchange visitor population increased by four per cent from 201,408 in March 2017 to 209,568 in March 2018.

The J-1 visa offers cultural and educational exchange opportunities in the United States through a variety of programmes overseen by the US State Department.