What’s driving an already increasing student intake?
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What’s driving an already increasing student intake?

Applications from Indian students for the 2022 fall intake at foreign universities have doubled from this year, according to several foreign education platforms, driven up by the attractive pay packages and roles offered by recruiters at their campuses.

The pay packages and roles offered by top tech companies at campus recruitment drives are the main draws for the applicants.

“Indian students are being offered big pay packages in the US. For an engineering/CS/data science student, the starting range is $220,000 per annum as compared to $90,000 in 2019,”

Students of financial accounting and economics in the US are being offered upwards of $160,000 as annual salary.

For instance, SJ, a final-year student at University of Washington, Seattle, has multiple offers from leading tech firms. He told ET he is keen on joining a conglomerate that is offering an annual salary of $220,000, in addition to joining bonus, stocks, free laundry and meals.

“With better salaries by tech companies in the US to freshers and rising income levels of parents who can afford foreign education for children, the outflow from India for STEM courses is on a rise.”

Other factors like the World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) recognition of Covid-19 vaccines Covishield and Covaxin, and pent-up demand from last year have also amplified the interest of Indian students in furthering their studies abroad.

Currently, about 80% of Indian students studying abroad go for popular destinations including the US, UK, Canada and Australia, according to data shared by INTO University Partnerships, an organisation in the higher education space.

Indian travel agency Thomas Cook is also seeing a spike of over two times for the US-Canada-UK uptake in the August-September semester of 2021 compared with 2020 despite the challenges regarding visa and entry.

“In October 2021, we surpassed our pre-pandemic volumes of 2019. With easing in travel and health protocols, we expect a strong revival for the spring intake as well,” said Deepesh Varma, senior vice-president, foreign exchange, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd.

“Students on our own platform between September 2020 and September 2021 have gone up by 21 times. Other than the increase in students’ interests this year, this is also as we have grown fast in the last 1-2 years.”

Another reason pushing more Indian students to explore admissions overseas is the fierce competition for seats in UG courses in the country, said the experts.

“We are seeing Indian students pursuing everything from hotel management, sports analytics to study of wines to photosynthesis in the US and Canada.”

The job opportunities after a degree from the US are unmatched. Especially with three-years optional practical training (OPT), the return on investment is very high.