About five years ago, students from India looking to go overseas for an international
degree had few options – it was US, US or US. Like a student of the Indian
Institute of Technology said, "US was the constant; one had to then choose among
MIT, Stanford or Georgia


Today, the spectre of
insecurity on American campuses hangs over a student’s decision-making;
for an MBA aspirant like Colaba-based Alexander Kuruvilla, heading out to a US
university seems to make little sense anymore.

He has instead shortlisted
universities in Singapore if he does not get a seat in the Hyderabad-based
Indian School of Business.

"Security is one reason, but
it is coupled with others like the economy not doing too well as also the cost
factor," said Kuruvilla, who currently works with a foreign bank in the

American universities are
currently combating the twin challenges of campus violence and competition.
Increasingly, for a variety of non-technical courses, the student population is
looking at destinations cheaper or closer home. According to a report by the
US-based agency, Open Doors, the annual enrolment rates of Indian students on
Australian campuses has significantly outpaced those of American universities,
clocking a growth of almost 30% to

Parents, say consultants,
are picking Singapore or Australia over the US. Harikrishnan Murugan (23),
currently doing apparel design and merchandising at Temasek Polytechnic in
Singapore, reasons the choice of his destination to the "peaceful and safe"
environs of that city.

Nithani, third-year mechanical engineering student from IIT-Bombay, says he is
intent on going to America after his BTech from the Powai college. The
recurrence of violent incidents is not going to deter him. "You can get killed
right here in Mumbai too. Look at what is happening in the city," he

If it’s any
consolation for those keen on pursuing higher education in the US, American
institutions have in recent years covered themselves with a blanket of security
in order to tackle terror attacks and random shootings. Police blotters,
security and alarm systems, emergency corridors, they are all part of the
current set-up in most

Prashant Jain who is
at Georgia Tech doing a PhD pointed out that his campus neighbourhood in Atlanta
is not very safe.

"A few
months ago my room mate, an Indian student pursuing his master’s
programme, was robbed at gunpoint. Break-ins into residential areas are getting
more and more common. But the university is taking steps to clean up the area,"
he pointed out. Escort services are offered from 6 pm to 2.30 am and emergency
phones have been installed all over the

Via Times of India