USF World News

USF forges strong ties across India

BITS and USF members holding an official document in front of the BITS sign

TAMPA, FL (January 12, 2024) -- India is a key market for international student recruitment – especially for high demand STEM fields. Indian students constitute more than 25% of the over one million foreign students studying in the United States, according to the 2023 Open Doors Report (ODR) prepared by the State Department in collaboration with the Institute of International Education (IIE). This year, India surpassed China to become the largest source of international graduate students in the United States. International students’ annual impact to the U.S. economy is $38 billion with Indian students accounting for $7 billion (or 18%) of the total in 2022, according to the Report.

In recognition of India as an important source of student talent, USF established a presence in India more than a decade ago. An India-based team is led by Ms. Aruna Dasgupta, a former senior editor and program officer with the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi. The team supports USF brand awareness, student recruitment activities, facilitates partnerships and networking with higher education institutions in India, maintains relations with the American Embassy, and conducts outreach to USF alumni across India. Today, India is the #1 overseas country for graduate students and #3 for undergraduate student enrollment at USF. 

group of students with USF Professor Kaushik Dutta and Aruna Dasgutpa on far right

According to Adam Grotsky, Executive Director for the United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF), India will remain an important source of student talent for U.S. institutions for the foreseeable future.  Allan Goodman, Chairman and CEO of the Institute of International Education (IIE), believes that despite a redirection of focus by many U.S. institutions from student recruitment in China to the recruitment of Indian students, “there are so many Indian students seeking an education abroad, there is plenty of room for greater participation by American universities and colleges in recruitment efforts.” The real challenge, however, is how to attract American students to study in India. An important organization that supports the engagement of students and researchers in India is the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS). The Institute offers language training in modern and classical South Asian languages at locations across India to students from American universities and provides support for researchers and creative and performing artists to carry out projects in India. 

India’s 2020 National Education Plan (NEP) proposes the revision and revamping of all aspects of the India’s education sector including K-12 and higher education, including regulation and governance, to create a new system that is aligned with the aspirational goals of 21st century education, including SDG4, while building upon India’s traditions and value systems. SDG4 refers to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by India in 2015, and seeks to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and the promotion lifelong learning opportunities for all” by 2030.  

BITS Pilani and USF representatives signing an official document

During a multi-city visit to India in October of 2023, Provost Prasant Mohapatra and Vice President of USF World Kiki Caruson, along with USF India Country Advisor Aruna Dasgupta, visited the USIEF, AIIS, and three new partner universities to sign agreements designed to foster greater cross-national collaboration. While in Hyderabad, the group also held meetings at the U.S. Consulate General and the EducationUSA @ Y-Axis Foundation where trained advisers work with students interested in pursuing a degree in the United States. 

Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (or Amrita University) is a private deemed university based in the city of Coimbatore in the state of Tamil Nadu. Amrita maintains 7 campuses located across the Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka. In the city of Kochi, attached to the School of Medicine and the Institute of Medical Science Research Center is a 1,300-bed state of the art specialty hospital. A second medical school and 2,000 bed hospital campus is located in Faridabad near Delhi. The Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings (2023) ranked Amrita the top university in India for its commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 52nd among universities worldwide. Provost Mohapatra and Vice President Caruson visited the impressive facilities housed at Amrita Hospital in Kochi. The hospital has received numerous national and international awards and recently celebrated 25 years of “doing the impossible” in healthcare.  

A group standing in the lobby of SRM University: Prof. Manoj K Arora, Vice Chancellor, SRM University-AP, Dr Prashant Mohapatra, Provost & Executive Vice President of the University of South Florida, along with Dr Kiki Caruson, Vice President, USF

SRM University-AP, Andhra Pradesh, is a multi-disciplinary research-intensive institution located within the Guntur District of Andhra Pradesh, between the major cities Vijayawada and Guntur. Over time, SRM has grown to include four different Universities: SRM University Chennai, SRM University Haryana, SRM University Sikkim, and the newest addition SRM University Andhra Pradesh (AP). According to SRM-AP’s Pro Vice Chancellor, Dr. P. Sathyanarayanan, “The era of globalization means many things to us: undertaking research and real-world approaches on issues relating to science and technology; exchanging ideas and collaborating with global universities, and providing overseas opportunities for students and employees alike.” USF Provost Mohapatra serves on the SRM-AP Board of Governors and has been involved in the University’s evolution since its founding in 2017. At the recent agreement signing ceremony Provost Mohapatra emphasized the importance of international collaborations in higher education, stating: “These types of partnerships allow us to combine our strengths and resources for the benefit of our students and faculty.”


BITS and USF representatives standing together at BITS

The Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani (BITS Pilani) is a deemed university located in the city of Pilani, in the state of  Rajasthan. The University is well known for research and education in engineering and natural sciences. BITS Pilani is one of the first institutions in India to be granted “Institute of Eminence” status. USF has several connections to the university including Distinguished University Professor, Autar Kaw, USF Mechanical Engineering, who is an alum, as is Mr. Manish Mohan, Chief Global Talent Solutions Officer for the technology, finance, and accounting staffing firm KFORCE and member of the USF World Advisory Council. Dr. Kiki  Caruson traveled to Pilani to visit the campus, met with senior leaders and faculty, enjoy the seasonal student festival, and sign a memorandum of collaboration. Dr. Caruson will provide a lecture at the “Intersections of Knowledge: Exploring Discourses and Beyond in Humanities and Social Sciences” conference hosted by BITS Pilani in February of 2024. 

USF looks forward to the opportunities for academic and research cooperation that these three new partnerships will facilitate. And we reaffirm the importance of our good relations with the USIEF, AIIS, diplomatic officials. and Education USA in India. 

BITS and USF Representatives posing with the official documents


SRM representative and Dr Kiki Caruson holding a block set


SRM conference room