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Hyderabad and Secunderabad(sister city) send highest number (>7000/year) of students in India to USA

scrutiny of Indian student traffic flow provides some remarkable insights. For instance, Hyderabad (26220) was issued the most F-1 visas from India (nearly 30,000 when combined with Secunderabad). This is almost as much as Mumbai (17294), Pune (5551) and Delhi (8728) combined. In fact, there are more students in the US from undivided Andhra Pradesh (by a long shot when you add the 2000 each from Vijayawada and Visakapatnam) than any other state in India. Chennai (9141) and Bangalore (8835) are running neck and neck in F-1 recipients, with Ahmedabad and Vadodara together accounting for about 9000 F-1s. Incidentally, Seoul and Beijing topped the list of cities issued the most F-1 student visas with around 50,000 each.

The outlier here is Kolkota, which was issued only 3881 F-1s, but here is the twist in the tale. While a majority of students from other Indian cities came to the US for their master's degree, a large per centage (44 %) of Kolkatans came to the US for their doctorate. For Hyderabad, the comparable per centage of doctoral students was only 5 per cent, for Chennai 14 per cent. This would suggest a sound master's program in West Bengal that keeps students at home before they emplane to the US for their Ph.D.

The study also shows that two-thirds of foreign students are studying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) or business, management and marketing fields, compared to 48 per cent of USstudents. STEM preference is particularly pronounced among Indians students. Of the 168, 000 F-1 visa holders from India, an amazing 70 per cent came to the US to study STEM subjects, nearly 80 per cent of them in masters program and 11 per cent at the doctoral level. Only around 8000 students came to study social sciences.

Here's the break up of what Indian students studied in the US between 2008 and 2012: engineering (53,153); computer and information sciences and support services (42,092); business, management, marketing, and related support services (31,796); biological and biomedical sciences (8,837); and health professions and related programs (8,672).
Overall, Indian students ponied up more than $ 5 billion in the 2008-2012 period to study in the US ($ 3.1 billion in tuition fees and $ 2 billion in living expenses) with students from Hyderabad and Mumbai coughing up $ 1.3 billion ($ 650 million from each city). How much or what India gets out of it (besides foreign exchange remittance from those who decide to stay on in the US) is an area that merits greater attention.

Lapping up this munificence from foreign students are 118 metro areas in the US that the Brookings report assessed as having the largest numbers of foreign students while measuring their monetary contributions to their economy. New York and Honolulu had the highest per centage (75 per cent) of graduates working for a local employer. Seattle, Miami, and Las Vegas also ranked high for students who remained in their areas to work after graduating.

While large population centers, such as New York and Los Angeles, have high numbers of foreign students, small or mid-sized metro areas that are home to large universities have the most significant concentrations of these students within their broader student bodies. Ithaca, New York (home to Cornell University) tops the list with 71.2 F-1 students per 1,000, compared to 22.4 for the nation as a whole. Boston, Massachusetts and Santa Barbara, California also rank at the top of the list.

University of Southern California, Columbia University in NYC, and University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign (UIUC, which is jocularly referred to as University of Indians and University of Chinese) were the magnets for foreign students, each taking in around 13,000 F-1 visa holders. NYU, City University of New York (CUNY) and Purdue hosted around 11,000 each.

While this data suggests that foreign students typically flock to metropolises (New York region alone hosted more than 100,000 foreign students; LA and Boston more than 50,000 each), the foreign student inflow is also a boon to small university towns such as Lafayette and Bloomington in Indiana and Durham and Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

The Brookings report makes no secret of the fact that it sees the foreign student inflow as an economic bonanza for the US that Washington and local metropolises should capitalize on. The report offers a two-pronged approach to help metropolitan leaders realize the full benefit of foreign students' local presence. These include: Leveraging foreign student connections with their home communities abroad to facilitate and deepen economic exchange.

"Foreign students," it says, "offer valuable knowledge of the business, cultural and societal norms of their city and country of origin and so can serve as a bridge to help globalize local economies."

It also advocates retaining foreign student skills by 1) developing programs to connect graduates to employers located in the school's metropolitan area, 2) helping local employers obtain the necessary visas for foreign graduates with in-demand skills and 3) advocating for immigration reform to make more visas available for graduates who want to stay in the US.

"Increasingly, UScolleges and universities are educating the world's business, scientific and political leaders of the future. Metropolitan leaders should capitalize on this trend to strengthen their position in the global marketplace by giving local employers access to a larger pool of workers with valuable skills and knowledge already living in their areas," says Neil Ruiz, associate fellow for the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program and author of the report.


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