Contrary to public perception that only Indians go abroad to study, in 2018-19, India was home to 47,427 foreign students from 164 countries, including 1,518 from the US, as per official data.
Among the 164 countries, Bangladesh ranks third in the index after two other Asian nations - Nepal and Afghanistan.
Of the total foreign students, the highest number came from Nepal which contributed 26.88%, followed by Afghanistan (9.8%), Bangladesh (4.38%), Sudan (4.02%), Bhutan (3.82%,), Nigeria (3.4%), the US (3.2%), Yemen (3.2%), Sri Lanka (2.64%), and Iran (2.38%).
There are 15 programmes which have more than 1,000 foreign students and account for more than 78.2% of the foreign students. BTech has 8,861 students, followed by BBA having 3,354 students, BSc having 3,320 students, BA having 2,226 students. At the PhD level, there were 1,560 students, out of which 76.6% are male students.
The highest number (73.4%) of foreign students are enrolled in undergraduate courses, followed by Post Graduate with about 16.15% enrolment. Enrolment in rest of the levels constitutes 10.4%.
Among major contributors Sudan (87.2%), Yemen (90.9%) and Afghanistan (87.7%) have a considerably higher number of male students. Although maximum number of foreign students came from Nepal, the maximum number (295) enrolled in PhD are from Ethiopia followed by Yemen (149).
Looking at the state-wise distribution, Karnataka has the highest number of students coming from foreign countries, which is 10,023. Karnataka is followed by Maharashtra with 5003 students, Punjab (4533), Uttar Pradesh (4514), Tamil Nadu (4101), Haryana (2872), Delhi (2141), Gujarat (2068) and Telangana (2020) are the lead states from India that attract foreign students.
India seeks to attract 200,000 foreign students to India, nearly four times the current number. The US in 2017-18, for instance, was home to more than 1 million foreign students, including over 190, 000 from India alone.
Despite the government's Study in India initiative this number only grew by less than 1,500 students in 2018-19 as against the previous year when the total number of foreign students enrolled were 46,144 in 2017-18.