There has been a massive drop in international students’ applications in the current year in most government-run institutes and private universities. Although India’s government is attempting to make and exhibit the country as a place that embraces international students, the Indian students have been reported to still hold a strong affinity towards a foreign degree. Even though due to the global pandemic, the admissions in the foreign universities have been in the hold, the maximum Indian students have still shown interest in choosing the foreign courses that provide an option to study abroad shortly when the situation normalizes.
Jacob John, from the National Association for Foreign Students Affairs (NAFSA) and Dean International Relations at Ansal University, stated that there has always been a disparity and imbalance in the number of international students coming to India to study and the ones who leave India to study in a foreign country.
The migrating Indian students can start avail the facility of Vande Bharat and various popular study destinations such as the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and also the United States have begun resuming the student visas.
The foreign universities have started conducting the initial classes virtually. However, the similar facilities have yet to be seen in the Indian universities, and students are awaiting proper guidelines in this respect by the Indian universities to resolve the confusion. This is why the students who had shown interest in Indian universities are now considering alternatives because of uncertainty.
The private universities enroll hundreds of students each term, which helps in diversification and acts as a great finance source. However, the government-run institutes have, in general, always found it challenging to attract international students. But, in the current year, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, private universities have faced a massive decline in the number of international students with a minimal application.
Usually, each year, JK Lakshmipat University seems to get hundreds of international student admits. However, this year it was tough to obtain confirmation of international students. As per the Vice-Chancellor of JK Lakshmipat University, RL Raina, no doubt that there has been a massive decline in international student admits this year, but on the other hand, they experienced an increase in the number of Indian students admit applications. The university reported an overall increase of 37 percent increase in the number of Indian students. In the case of the 2-year master’s program with the University of Massachusetts, there has been a 20 percent increase compared to last year in the number of admission applications. The credit to the rise in such applications can be given to the program’s unique delivery model, which requires the students to spend the initial year in India and the second year in the United States. This program acts as an excellent alternative for the students who want to experience studying abroad, balancing the current situation of COVID-19.
OP Jindal Global University is an Indian university that has partnerships with over 250 foreign universities. The university claims that even though there has been a decrease in foreign student applications, the university has seen about a 30 percent increase in the Indian applications as compared to last year. However, the university is unsure how much the growth will leverage the university’s international partnerships.
Even though the Amity University, Noida is among the least affected varsities, the university received 350 applications from the international students and NRI’s compared to 500 applications as of last year in 2019. The Global Study Program offered by Amity university has been seen to be famous which provides the students to switch over the foreign partner university of Amity University.
Scholarships and Relaxation offered to the international students.
All the universities have been offering various luring offers to international students to fill their foreign seats. For instance, the Lovely Professional University (LPU) provides an increased number of international students’ scholarships.
The Additional Director of Lovely Professional University (LPU), Aman Mittal claims that the university has experienced a 40 percent increase in inquiries and applications during the current year. This is because, due to the outbreak COVID-19 pandemic, many Indian students who had plans to study abroad have now shifted towards the Indian universities, which have tie-ups with leading foreign universities with an intent to save a year without compromising the dream of getting exposure of studying abroad. Mittal also claims that about 10 percent of the applications are for this type of Global Programmes.
Mittal also states that Lovely Professional University also offers the ‘credit transfer’ course, which enables the students to pursue the terminal semesters of their course in the foreign partner university of LPU. Another popular university program is the ‘student exchange’ program, which provides a summer school or a short term stay in the foreign institutes.
Lateral admissions in case of outbound Indian students
Ansal University offers an option of ‘lateral admission’ to the students who were studying in the foreign universities before COVID-19 but had to return to India after the outbreak and now are planning to stay. The university is also offering new admissions with a variety of concessions in fee structure and scholarship offers for both the national as well as international students.
The Managing Director of The Shahani Group, Akhil Shahani claims to have seen an acceleration in their ‘twinning program’ which offers an option to study abroad by acting as a comparatively low-cost option to get a foreign degree.
Shahani states that these kinds of programs help shift the students’ focus from the prominently popular foreign study destinations like the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany, and the United States. They offer a very welcoming atmosphere and great experiences to the outbound Indians due to the shortage of skilled professionals in their countries in medicine, science, management, and tech. Shahani also claims that since medical education in India costs high, countries like China, Ukraine, Russia, and the Philippines have been eyeing Indian students aspiring to study medicine.
Similar patterns have also been seen for other courses that have foreign collaborations as well.