Almost a year ago, i wrote a post, End of the American dream? The bad news continues. With the Obama administration tightening the screws against the immigrants and the financial collapse of the American economy, it seems the jobs are drying up and so is the much needed funding for the american education system.
“There is a drop both in the number and the quality of Ph.D. applications, more noticeably in the last two years.” says Anand Sivasubramaniam, professor of computer science and engineering, Pennsylvania State University (Penn State). “This year, of the more than 700 applications we received from prospective graduate students worldwide, the number of applications from top Indian institutes such as the IITs and IISc was in the single digit. Less than three years ago, this number was in the double digits,” he says. An article this February in The Chronicle of Higher Education reported a 50 percent decline in the number of new Indian graduate students this Autumn at the University of Georgia. The computer science department at California State University (Long Beach) saw a spate of prospective master’s students from India abandoning their application process midway.
“It’s the beginning of a trend, an indicator that something is happening and that Indian students are not coming here like they did in the past,” laments Dr. Nathan Bell, director of research at the Council.
You don’t have to look far to find the reasons for this. With the US economy in a shambles, there are severe budget cuts at state-funded universities. The prospects of obtaining a full waiver of tuition fees are slim. Dwindling grant money also means that local students stand a better chance of getting a research fellowship than foreign students. So, many Indian students end up working for free. Last semester, Atulya Prasad, a master’s and Ph.D. candidate in biomedical engineering at New York’s Stony Brook University, worked as a research assistant sans the stipend.
The situation doesn’t improve upon graduation. The growing political backlash against the loss of American jobs, and the rising anti-immigrant sentiment means that getting a work visa — let alone getting a job — is as tough as it can get. So much so that now, even the lure of a US-located son-in-law is starting to fade. “The classic America-educated son-in-law syndrome is almost nonexistent as students, especially from tier 2 schools, hardly get jobs in the US after they graduate,” says Satyavrata Samavedi, a Ph.D. candidate in tissue engineering at the Virginia Institute of Technology (Virginia Tech).
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Above picture courtesy: Associated Content