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South and Central Asia: U.S.-India Joint Fact Sheet: U.S.-India Cooperation In Higher Education

The United States and India and share strong linkages and a history of collaboration in the field of higher education. The United States is the most favored destination for Indian students, with more than 100,000 Indian students pursuing higher studies in the United States. In response to strong interest among academic communities in both countries, we convened a highly successful U.S.-India Higher Education Summit in Washington D.C. in October 2011 that ultimately led to the establishment of an annual bilateral Higher Education Dialogue.

U.S.-India Higher Education Dialogue

The annual Higher Education Dialogue was originally held in June 2012 in Washington, D.C. and is being held in New Delhi on June 25, 2013. Key areas of collaboration include student and faculty exchange, research cooperation, implementing technology-enabled education strategies such as e-learning and online courseware, cooperation between community colleges, and facilitating partnerships between Indian and American universities.

Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative Awards

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative in November 2009 to fund institutional partnerships between Indian and U.S. institutions of higher education, through faculty exchanges and research and innovation collaboration in the priority areas of food security, climate change, sustainable health and public health. Each side has committed $5 million for the initiative, which will grant awards of up to $250,000 to selected projects. Eight projects were selected in the first round of awards in 2012 and eight awards are being announced during the second Higher Education Dialogue in New Delhi on June 25, 2013.

Fulbright-Nehru Partnership

The Fulbright-Nehru program, supported by both governments, has nearly tripled in size over the last four years, with approximately 300 students and scholars from the United States and India participating annually. The United States now exchanges more faculty under this program with India than with any other country in the world. The Fulbright Program and related exchanges with India have benefited more than 18,000 American and Indian students and scholars since 1950.

Raman Fellowships

The C. V. Raman Fellowship program, announced during the Higher Education Summit in 2011, aims to place junior faculty members from India for post-doctoral research in U.S. higher education institutions. The first cohort of 126 Raman Fellows will conduct post-doctoral research in different U.S. institutions beginning in August 2013.

Development of Community Colleges

The Ministry of Human Resource Development has finalized a framework for establishing community colleges in India. A high-level Indian delegation visited the United States in May 2012 to study the community college system. The Ministry of Human Resource Development organized an International Seminar on Community Colleges in New Delhi on February 6-7, 2013. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine led a delegation that included representatives from U.S. community colleges to attend the seminar. The American Association of Community Colleges continues to facilitate cooperation and overall capacity–building efforts between Indian and American partner institutions. Beginning later this year, the United States intends to host a series of delegations of community college leaders from India to the United States for professional development and capacity building.

New UGC Regulations Relating to Foreign Education Providers and Twinning Arrangements

The University Grants Commission (UGC) of India has finalized guidelines for twinning arrangements between Indian and foreign educational institutions. The guidelines will facilitate greater collaboration between Indian and U.S. universities.

Connect India Program

The ‘Connect India Program’ was announced during the U.S.-India Higher Education Dialogue held in June 2012. It envisages placement of 200 U.S. students at Indian education institutions for a semester of study. Their course of study will be integrated with other activities, including exposure to Indian culture and economy, service-learning with corporate entities and interaction with political representatives. The details are being finalized by the University Grants Commission of India in consultation with Indian universities.

Centre of Excellence on Cyber Systems

India is collaborating with U.S. institutions to establish a Centre of Excellence on Cyber Systems at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. An Indian delegation plans to travel to the United States to identify potential areas of cyber systems collaboration.

India-Support for Teacher Education Program

The India-Support for Teacher Education Program (In-STEP) is a joint project between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Ministry of Human Resource Development to build the capacity of teacher educators in India. This thirty-month, $4.3 million activity plans to send two groups of approximately fifty teachers each from eastern and northeastern states in India to attend a three-month customized training program at a U.S. university. The training should include teaching pedagogy, observation of in-service and pre-service teacher education, and assessment techniques. Every teacher educator would be asked to prepare a long essay which sets forth a clear proposal for reform of a specific area of teacher education in his/her state or institution. Upon return from the United States, the teacher educators are expected to implement their new skills and knowledge in their classrooms, resulting in better-trained, higher quality teachers. Additionally, the U.S. Department of State provides opportunities through its exchanges for more than 50 U.S. and Indian teachers each year to further develop their subject area expertise and enhance their teaching skills, pursue individual projects, conduct research, follow courses for professional development, lead master classes and seminars, exchange teaching assignments and professional duties, or participate in internships at local schools.

Passport to India

The Passport to India Initiative seeks to increase significantly the number of U.S. students in India. Through partnerships with the private sector and non-governmental organizations, the Initiative promotes internships, service-learning and study abroad so more American students have the cultural understanding and language skills that underpin economic, academic, and social ties, as well as effective diplomacy. The Initiative complements the U.S. Department of State’s support for more than 170 U.S. university and high school students to study in India and learn Indic languages each year through its Gilman Scholarship Program, Critical Language Scholarship Program, the National Security Language Initiative for Youth and the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program.


EducationUSA provides students in India with accurate, comprehensive, and current information about opportunities for study at accredited institutions in the United States. The U.S. Department of State has significantly expanded its EducationUSA advising services in India to include more virtual advising, a new mobile app, social media outreach, and a nationwide advising hotline.