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More Indians students opting for public universities in US

With the rupee depreciating against the dollar and the economy taking a downward swing, more Indians are choosing to study at public universities in the US vis-a-vis private ones that are expensive, reveal a survey.

Around 100,000 Indian students enroll in US varsities every year. But a report compiled by a career counseling website shared exclusively with IANS said that a higher percentage of these students are preferring universities with lower fees.

The report based on a random survey of over 1,000 students shows that public universities with lesser fees attract more students than the ones with higher fee. The survey also says that 43 percent applicants preferred public universities in 2011-12, while for the coming academic session the figure has increased to 62 percent.

“Students seem to have applied most to universities like San Jose State University and University of Florida while the popularity of private universities like North Eastern University saw a decline in applications,” Mohit Gundecha, CEO and co-founder of the website, told IANS.

Out of the 1,000-plus respondents, a majority of 40 percent students applied for universities with fee between $15,000 and $20,000. While 27 percent said they had opted for universities with a fee above $25,000, some 16 percent said they have applied for universities with a fee between $20,000 and $25,000. Another 17 percent chose universities with a fee below $15,000.

“Indian students are stuck in the dilemma between affordability and preference to top universities,” Gundecha said. “With the rupee falling and touching more than Rs.50 to a dollar, the incidental increase in tuition fees to study abroad has become a concern for aspiring students,” he adds.

Indian students make the second largest group of foreign students in the US after the Chinese and constitute almost 14 percent of foreign students, according to the Open Doors Report published annually by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in partnership with the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The report published last year also revealed a small one percent fall in the number of students going to the US. In 2010-11, 103,895 Indian students took admission in US universities, while the number was 104,897 in 2009-10, marking the first decline since 1998-99.

“This season, there is a visible increase in applications to public universities which are easier on the pocket for students and their parents. The study also shows that there is a visible interest in applying for scholarships and interest-free loans to offset the increased monetary pressure,” Gundecha said.

According to the survey, some of the universities with low fees include North Carolina State University, San Jose State University, State University of New York and University of Texas. Gundecha said the number of students seeking scholarship has increased.

The website offers an online scholarship finder with which students can search for over 50 scholarships worth Rs.10 crore (Rs.100 million) and get various funding options like interest-free loans, travel grants and fellowships which cover tuition fee, etc.

“The tool registered an increase of 63 percent in students applying to scholarships in 2012 over 2011,” he added.


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