For the second year in a row, India has accounted for the largest growth of international students in America, a latest report said on Monday, with the number of foreign students in US universities surpassing one million for the first time during the 2015-16 academic year.
China remains the top sending country, with almost twice the number of students in the US as India, but India's rate of growth and absolute increase outpaced China's, said the latest reports of Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange data released by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in partnership with the US Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
In 2015-2016, there were 1,044,000 international students, representing five per cent of the total student population at US institutions.
More than a third of these international students studied engineering, math or computer science, and 14 per cent engaged in Optional Practical Training (OPT), including many in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) professions.
The growth in international STEM students is likely connected to the 25 per cent increase in students from India, more than three-quarters of who study in these fields.
In 2015-2016, there were 165,918 students compared to 132,888 students thus registering a growth of 24.9 per cent.
On the other hand China registered a growth of 8.1 per cent students from 304,040 in 2014-2015 to 328,547 in 2015-2015.
The report said while students from China and India remained the leading countries of origin and accounted for 84 per cent of the growth in international students in 2015-16, Saudi Arabia's government-sponsored international scholarship program helped drive that country to surpass South Korea to become the third largest sender of international students to the United States.
Students from the top three countries of origin China, India, and Saudi Arabia now represent approximately 53 per cent of the total enrollment of international students in the United States, the report said.