According to a news item by Nida Najar of NYT News Service appearing in the Times of India (15.10.2011):
Indians are now the second-largest foreign student population in America, after the Chinese, with almost 105,000 students in the US in the 2009-10 academic year, the last for which comprehensive figures were available. Student visa applications from India increased 20% in the past year, according to the American Embassy.
Although a majority of Indian students in the US are graduate students, undergraduate enrolment has grown by more than 20% in the past few years.
The most interesting, and probably a worrying part of the whole story for the national innovation system is that those school students passing out with marks well over 90% are unable to get an admission in top-leauge colleges and universities in India. It cites the example of a Delhi girl who has „received scholarship offers of $20,000 from Dartmouth and $15,000 from Smith. Her pile of acceptance letters would have made any teenager smile: Cornell, Bryn Mawr, Duke, Wesleyan, Barnard and the University of Virginia“. The same girl was however denied admission by the top Delhi colleges for having scored „only“ 93.5% in her final board exams (12th standard), according to the report.
The report continues:
American universities and colleges have been more than happy to pick up the slack. Faced with shrinking returns from endowment funds, a decline in the number of high school graduates in the US and growing economic hardship among American families, they have stepped up their efforts to woo Indian students thousands of miles away.
Representatives from many of the Ivy League institutions have begun making trips to India to recruit students and explore partnerships with Indian schools. Some have set up offices in India, partly aimed at attracting a wider base of students.
The report, mercifully, also takes on the ills ailing the Indian education system without mincing words:
American universities have now become „safety schools“ for increasingly stressed and traumatized Indian students and parents, who complain that one fateful event – the final high school examination – can make or break a teenager’s future career. […]
But for some students, it is not merely the competition that drives them to apply to study in the US. It is also the greater intellectual freedom of an American liberal arts education. India’s educational system is rigid, locking students into an area of study and affording them little opportunity to take courses outside their major beyond the 11th grade. […]
Also see similar reports or slightly varying versions of the same report in other publications:
NDTV: Squeezed out in India, students turn to US
Hindustan Times: Exodus of Indian student to America continues
Economic Times: As Indian students rejected at home are lapped up by Ivy League institutions; HRD Minister Kapil Sibal says India doesn’t have quality institutions