Are Indian Students Still Welcome in the U.S.?

By P.K. Agarwal

Class XXXI

Sharing a portion of this op ed with permission from the Sacramento Bee.

On a recent trip to India to promote higher education in the U.S., I noticed one troublesome question seemed to be on everyone’s mind: “Are Indian students still welcome in the U.S.?” International students have long played a critical role in the success of the U.S. technology industry and the exponential growth of the innovation economy. Yet there is growing unrest among overseas students seeking a U.S.-based education who fear they may no longer be wanted in America.

Recent alleged hate crime incidents in Seattle and Olathe, Kan., have significantly heightened this sentiment. In my travels across India, I met several educational consultants who expressed the sincere concerns of parents who are fearful about their children’s safety due to worries about U.S. hate crimes. In turn, more potential students who might consider the U.S. as a destination are starting to look at options elsewhere around the world.

Today, more than 1 million overseas students contribute $32.8 billion to the U.S. economy per academic year, according to NAFSA, the Association of International Educators, the world’s largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education and exchange.

Senior Fellow P.K. Agarwal (Class XXXI) is regional dean and CEO of Northeastern University-Silicon Valley and former chief technology officer for California under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. His full op ed in the Sacramento Bee, “Loss of international students would jeopardize middle-class jobs,” can be read here.