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Students of Indian origin are travelling in higher numbers than ever before to pursue higher education abroad.


The number of Indian Students studying in the UK has nearly doubled between 1999 and 2009 In 2009, 19,205 Indian students were studying at UK institutions. As of May 2010, half of all Indian Students studying in the UK were studying at the Postgraduate level 


From 2004 to 2009 the number of Indians studying in Australia rose from 30,000 to 97,000 with 45,000 of these living in Melbourne, 32,000 in Adelaide and the remainder in Sydney, Brisbane andPerth. 

In May and June 2009, allegedly racially motivated attacks against Indian international students, and a perception of poor response by the police sparked protests in Australia. Rallies were held in both Melbourne and Sydney.


The number of students studying in USA has gone up 94,563 to 103,260 in year 2010-11. Most of the students choose either east coast or mid-west as their destination in US. 

Why Indian Students Will Continue to Study Abroad?

Suggesting that "Foreign university campuses to help India save $7.5 billion outflow." Even if the bill passes and becomes attractive to foreign universities, I believe that number of Indian students going abroad will not decrease at least for next five years. Here I am not factoring in decrease which is caused by unfortunate external factors like attacks on Indian students in Australia or impact of 9/11. So, two primary factors supporting outward mobility are:


1. Expansion at the expense of quality: Number of students graduating from poor and average quality institutions is growing at a much faster rate than the capacity of the industry to provide for jobs. Even if the jobs are available the number of students graduating from these institutions is quite high which restricts their employability. For many educated unemployed youth, higher education serves as a channel to get a second chance for employment and social prestige. Thus, this segment will continue to fuel demand for international education.


2. Increasing prosperity and aspirations: At the other end of the spectrum, Indian middle class is expanding and getting richer. In the last 10-15 years, growth of new sectors like IT, telecom, insurance and mutual funds have created many new high paying jobs. These upper-middle class families will be spending on high quality education for their children as it is evident from the increasing demand for International Baccalaureate schools in India. This increasing prosperity will create demand for even undergraduate programs abroad. Currently, 70% of all Indian students in the US enroll at graduate level (master's and PhD). 

This is not to discount the influence of foreign universities in India. There will be a segment of students who would be willing to pay for foreign credential at a lesser price in India. However, there will a segment which would continue to go abroad for several reasons including ability to pay, quality of education, social prestige or experience. Given the scale and pace of expansion of the system, without the emphasis on quality, the number of students going abroad will not be swayed by the entry of foreign universities in next five years.  


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