“India is an important partner for us and we have second largest number of international students from here. One of the initiatives that we are promoting among Indian students is the 2+2 bachelors degree programme through which they can study the first 2 years in a community college, where the cost of education is lower, and then go to the better degree granting institution for the final two years,” Caroline Casagrande, deputy assistant secretary for academic programs at the US bureau of educational & cultural affairs told ET, during her visit to Delhi on Wednesday.
The senior US government official added that many of the US community colleges had improved and grown over the last couple of years and now offered top quality higher education at lower costs. “They also have exclusive relationships with some of the top universities which give the international students a better opportunity of joining top courses of their choice and studying in two different institutions for their degree, hence experiencing more diversity as international students in the US,” she added.
Significantly, the number of Indian students who were issued US visas (under the F, M and J categories) declined marginally to 57312 in 2018 from 58031 in 2017, according to the visa statistics provided by the US department of state, bureau of consular affairs.
Among other steps to woo more students from India, the US bureau of educational and cultural affairs also plans to launch an exclusive Education USA India app to help and support Indian students planning to go the US for higher education.
“Indian students in the US are also very concerned over work opportunities after they finish their education and the fact that the H1B work permit visa lottery system has recently been weighted to open up additional spots for candidates with masters and PhD degrees from US universities is a very positive development,” Casagrande added.