12:40 GMT +322 June 2018
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    Students From India, Middle East Rethink Their Safety In US, Study Says

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    Indian students are weighing an uncertain job environment and increasing anti-immigrant rhetoric that raises safety concerns while applying to US universities, according to the results of a survey conducted by the Institute of International Education (IIE).

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — It’s not only Indian students who fear for their lives and safety since since US President Donald Trump’s executive order banning the entry of nationals from six Muslim majority countries to the US was recently partially upheld by the US Supreme Court. The concern has been raised by many students from the Middle East who are, or had been, planning to apply to US universities.

    Ironically, Trump’s policy is undermining US interests and the competitiveness of its universities as a premier education destination. Many Indian students as well as those from the Middle East are now favoring Canadian universities over US institutions.

    The IIE survey says that these international students (as many as 1 million of them) contribute more than $36 billion in revenues to the US. In the last year alone, Indian students contributed $5 billion to the US economy, while Chinese students contributed another $11 billion.

    The fear is playing differently in US universities, with as many as 31 percent of the surveyed universities acknowledging that Middle Eastern students who had previously accepted offers of admissions might not actually enroll in the upcoming fall session. About 20 percent of universities feared the same about Indian students.

    The IIE survey notes that “securing and maintaining a visa” has emerged as the top concern among these students, with 46 percent of institutions reporting such concerns raised by applicants from the Middle East and India. Not “feeling welcome in the US” has been reported as an equally high concern, with 41 percent of educational institutions responding to such queries.

    For Indian students, 80 percent of institutions responded to their queries on physical safety after a spate of targeted hate attacks against the people of Indian origin in the US. Despite these concerns, the survey notes that the interest of international students, particularly from Europe and Canada, to study in the US hasn’t waned considerably.

    Experts said these are signs of strained India-US ties, which hitherto have thrived on people-to-people and private sector contacts.

    “[Indian Prime Minister] Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump didn’t discuss contentious issues such as the H-1B visa policy during their bilateral meeting last month. But it doesn’t mean these issues don’t exist and as I have been saying under this presidency, India-US bilateral ties could become an exercise in stress management. This stress factor will play out and affect ties at multiple levels,” Chintamani Mahapatra, professor at the School of International Studies of Jawaharlal Nehru University told Sputnik.


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