A record 165,918 Indians were studying in the US during academic year 2015-16, a rise of 25 per cent over the last year, making it the second leading country of origin among international students in America, according to a report released today.

“This was the highest absolute increase of students ever and followed the previous year’s record growth,” according to the 2016 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange.

For the second year in a row, India has accounted for the largest growth of international students in America with the number of foreign students in US universities surpassing one million for the first time during the 2015-16 academic year.

The Open Doors report is published annually by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

“The new report indicates there were a record 165,918 students from India, a 25 per cent increase on the year before, making it the second leading country of origin among international students in the United States,” it said.

The US hosts more of the world’s 4.5 million globally mobile college and university students than any other country in the world, more than double the number hosted by the UK, the second leading host country, the US Embassy here said in a statement, quoting from the report.

China remains the top sending country, with almost twice the number of students in the US as India, but India’s rate of growth and absolute increase outpaced China’s, said the latest reports of Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange data released by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in partnership with the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

“In 2015-16, there were nearly 69,000 more international students in US higher education compared to the previous year,” it said.

“Higher education continues to be the bedrock of our people to people ties. More students from India studied in the United States than ever before – at all levels – and I am especially pleased to see the record back-to-back, year-on-year growth in student numbers,” US Ambassador Richard Verma was quoted as saying in the statement.

“With efforts such as our Passport to India initiative, we are also seeing the number of American students in India beginning to grow,” he added.

India accounts for one out of every six international students in the US. Approximately three-fifths of Indian students are at the graduate level and three-fourths are in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

Open Doors also reports that over 313,000 US students received credit last year for study abroad during 2014-15, an increase of nearly three per cent over the previous year.

“India is ranked 13th among the top 25 destinations of US study abroad. The number of US students going to India to study for academic credit at their home university in the US decreased by 3.2 per cent to 4,438, although this number has remained relatively flat across the last five years at 4,500,” the report said.

Students from the top three countries of origin – China, India, and Saudi Arabia – now represent approximately 53 per cent of the total enrollment of international students in the United States, the report said.