India Country Market
Insights and Opportunities
Education Services Sector
Overview: For the seventh consecutive year, Indian students constitute the largest group of international students studying in the United States, with a total Indian student population of 94,563, a 12.8% increase over the last year. The majority of Indian students study at the graduate level. Indian students and their parents strongly believe that higher education in the United States prepares graduates for tomorrow's careers. More than half of all Indian students studying overseas choose U.S. universities. India is primarily a “graduate market” for U.S. institutions interested in attracting students.
Though there is some interest in U.S. undergraduate studies and transfer admissions, limited scholarships and the increasing cost of education are major deterrents. However, with the mushrooming of international schools in the country and the return of many U.S. citizen children born to Indian parents to India, we predict an increase in interest in undergraduate study in the years to come. The number of Indian students enrolling at the bachelor's level, over 12,500, continues to be substantial. These students seek a foundation in both critical thinking and practical application of learning that is characteristic of American undergraduate education. India's huge youth population, estimated at 315 million between the ages of 10 and 24, will continue to create a large demand for higher education. The United States, with over 4,000 accredited institutions of higher learning, has the capacity to offer access to high quality education to students in a broad range of fields. Employers in India have stressed the importance of a workforce equipped with adequate technical, teamwork and communications skills.
Opportunities: India has one of the largest and oldest systems of higher education. There are 324 universities, of which 131 have affiliated universities. In addition, there are private and accredited universities, institutions created by an act of Parliament, independent institutes and over 16,000 colleges. Together they offer a wide range of degree and diploma programs. But despite such large numbers, demand outstrips supply by a wide margin.
There are approximately 9.5 million students enrolled in higher education in India. This number is projected to rise to 11 million over the next three years. Competition is fierce for limited seats in competitive engineering and management programs. Reservation policies and a quota system designed to promote education opportunities for underprivileged groups in India, further limits enrollment opportunities for many Indians.
India is witnessing an exciting stage of economic development. At this juncture, the importance of educated, skilled and employable manpower becomes even more relevant. Given the local challenges of limited access to quality education, seeking higher education in the U.S. could not have assumed greater significance for India's youth. With India's booming economy, Indian students want to be seen as contributors to India's growth and therefore look forward to gaining first-hand experience through Optional Practical Training (OPT) in the U.S. before their return to India.