Indian students studying in USA contributed $5.5 billion last year to the US economy as tuition fees and living costs as their numbers continue to rise in the country every year.  Converted to Indian currency, the amount would be a staggering Rs 37000 crore.

According to latest data, released by the Institute of International Education  in collaboration with the US department of state’s bureau of educational and cultural affairs, the number of Indian students studying in the US soared by 24.9 % in 2015-2016.

The figures indicate that India is not only failing to retain its best young minds but is also losing a considerable amount of money each year to the US because of its inability to arrest brain drain, despite its tall claims of financial success.

The report says, India accounted for the largest growth in students in the US for the second year in a row, primarily at the ‘graduate and optional practical training’ levels. Students from China, India and Saudi Arabia now account for more than half of the million-plus foreign students in the US.

China remained the country with the largest number of students in US, with almost twice the number of students as India. “But India’s rate of growth and absolute increases outpaced China’s,” the report said.

Even in 2014, the number of Indian students in USA had risen by 29.4 per cent compared to the previous year. The phenomenal rise in their numbers began from the 2000-01 academic year, the Wall Street Journal observed.

Over the period of 2008 to 2012, foreign students from India, China and South Korea had contributed $21.8 billion in tuition fees and $12.8 billion in living costs to 118 metro areas of the US.

During the period, students from the Indian cities of Mumbai and Hyderabad made a contribution of over $1.25 billion to the American economy with Mumbai sending 17,294 students, Chennai (9,141), Bangalore (8,835) and New Delhi (8,728) to the US during the five-year period, the report said.

Beijing (49,946), Shanghai (29,145), Hyderabad (26,220) and Riyadh (17,361) also topped the list of source cities for the science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses, each sending between 17,000 and 50,000, according to the report. Last year, Kathmandu with a population of just 70,000 figured in the top 10 cities having sent 10,721 students to the US.