Higher education institutions in India are empowered to admit, on supernumerary basis, international students up to 15 per cent of their intake capacity. With 38.5 million students enrolled in higher education, the country has the potential to have 5.78 million international students. Since globally only 5 million students go abroad for higher education, it would be naive to expect they would all come to India.
The nation could, nonetheless, aspire to have a reasonable share of higher education export. A 20 per cent target would mean a potential of one million international students. In comparison, the actual numbers in 2020 being only 49,358, the country achieved just 4.9 per cent of its potential.