Indians realise American dream by setting up in US

September 4, 2008

For years the US has seen India as a lucrative source of students for its universities, but now one Indian institution at least may be about to turn the tables.

There are more than 80,000 students from India studying at US institutions, according to a recent study, making it the largest overseas market for higher education institutions.

Now Vinayaka Missions America University, part of a -year-old Indian institution, has bought a site in the US state of Maryland for $8.5 million (£4.6 million) and has announced plans to start offering courses there as early as this autumn.

According to a report in Maryland newspaper the Herald and Mail, university officials have said they hope to offer full degree programmes in the state in the near future.

A. Shanmugasundaram, chancellor of Vinayaka, gave a press conference to announce the university's arrival in the US, during which he draped local officials in garlands and said: "America has been our dream, and today, that dream has been realised."

The university, founded in 1981 in Tamil Nadu, India, operates institutions with 20,000 full-time students and 40,000 more on distance programmes, its pro vice-chancellor, A.S. Ganesan, said.

Short courses will be offered in the US from October, followed by bachelors degree programmes that will be expanded to masters and doctorate programmes, the university said.

The pro vice-chancellor declined to predict how many students the university would draw, but he said he hoped it would be "many, many students".

He also suggested that the university, which operates three hospitals in India, would aim to open a hospital and trauma centre on the site.

"We understand that would require regulatory approvals and such, but that would be a goal," he said.

john.gill@tsleducation.com.

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