Where are Indian students most likely to study when they go to America for a master’s degree?

According to a new report on How Master’s Students Choose Institutions: Research on International Student Segmentation by the New York City-based World Education Services, in contrast to their Chinese peers, Indian students usually have low financial resources. And this affects their values, motivations and needs when choosing colleges and universities.

In fact, with nearly 70% of Indian students having a budget of less than $30,000 per year, they expect a good return on investment from their US education, the report has found.

“While it is well established that Indian students are value-seekers, less is known about how they try to minimise their investment and maximise returns. In this research, we found Indian students are more likely to apply for engineering-related courses in public institutions and are less constrained by institutional reputation,” said Rahul Choudaha, chief knowledge officer at WES.

With nearly 70% of Indian students having a budget of less than $30,000 per year, they expect a good return on investment from their US education, the report has found.

This is in stark contrast to Chinese students who are more likely to enrol in private institutions and are influenced by institutional reputation, he added. For example, reputation was identified by only 24% of Indian applicants as the most important criteria as compared to 47% of Chinese, according to the report.

India is the second-largest source of international students in US higher education institutions. From 2012-13 to 2013-14 academic year, graduate enrolment from India in the US grew a healthy 12%, reversing a downward trend which saw Indian graduate enrolment decline by over 7% in the previous year, according to figures from the Institute of International Education (IIE). Consistent with national trends in India, the top two fields of study for Indian students in the US are engineering (42%) and math and computer science (32%).

“Indian students are more likely to be concentrated in master’s level programmes. To maximise the return on their investment, Indian students seek shorter duration programmes with high employment prospects. That is why around 2 out of 3 Indian students in the US are enrolled in master’s level programmes in engineering-related fields which provide potential for 29-month optional practical training that allows them to gain work experience and recover their investment,” Choudaha said.

More recently, demand and supply side trends are coming together to provide growth momentum for Indian students interested in master’s programmes in the US, he said.

“First, public institutions, which form majority of American higher education, continue to face financial challenges and are looking for international students to meet their enrolment goals. Second, after the currency devaluation shocks, most Indians have now got adjusted to the new normal of the rupee in the 60s and have started factoring it in their cost of education,” Choudaha said.

According to the WES report, US institutions that are affordable, offer scholarships, or have shorter degree programmes, are most likely to attract Indian master’s students. “Indian students are prepared academically and are often qualified to receive merit-based scholarships or funding opportunities. Higher education institutions with high quality programmes, particularly in STEM fields that are looking to increase their enrolment of academically prepared students should consider India as a target market,” the report finds.

And like the US, Indian students who choose to go to Canada for a master’s degree, too, consider the availability of financial support in the form of teacher assistantships, research assistantships or scholarships.

“The main points of consideration while looking for a master’s degree in Canada for Indian students are excel- lent research opportunities offered by Canadian universities as well as future possibilities for work and immigration,” said Maria Mathai, a Delhi-based education consultant.

“With changing trends, Canada has now become the destination of choice for Indian master’s students because of the research opportunities it offers and the lower tuition fees and high level of scholarships available,” she said. Earlier, Canada was a destination of choice for Indian students mainly because of low fees and future prospects for immigration.

[Source:- The Economic Times]

By Adam