Students in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha can access accurate, comprehensive and current information about opportunities to study at U.S. universities through the newest EducationUSA center in India, at the Y-Axis Foundation.
In March 2021, the U.S. Consulate General in Hyderabad inaugurated the newest EducationUSA center in India, at the Y-Axis Foundation. This is the eighth EducationUSA center in the country, and serves the states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. EducationUSA is a U.S. Department of State network which promotes U.S. higher education to students around the world by offering accurate, comprehensive and current information about opportunities to study at accredited postsecondary institutions in the United States.
“This is a unique and innovative collaboration in that EducationUSA has established ties with a private educational consulting foundation to expand its services. It is a testament to the Y-Axis Foundation’s high-quality advising standards and ability to reach a large number of young women and men interested in studying in the United States,” says Salil Kader, cultural affairs advisor at the U.S. Consulate General in Hyderabad.
Indeed, the availability of such assistance is invaluable for students interested in studying abroad. Such a relationship between India and the United States has long been fostered, as the number of those seeking educational opportunities in America continues to grow. Almost 200,000 Indians studied in the United States last year, and many of them are from the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. One in four Telugu families has a U.S. connection, mostly through higher education in the United States. “The strong ties between this region of India and the United States have created an increased demand for education advising from students in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha,” Kader explains. “As a result, the U.S. Department of State sought out a partner who shared the U.S. Government’s high standards for ethics and quality.”
To take up this role, the Y-Axis Foundation underwent a certification process, working with the Consulate, U.S. Embassy New Delhi and the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. This process aimed to ensure that the center met quality standards and expectations of services to be provided as part of the EducationUSA network. After this assessment and training process was completed, Y-Axis Foundation was officially certified as an EducationUSA advising center.
“We are proud of our partnership with EducationUSA especially because I am a great believer in the U.S. education system as I am a product of it myself,” says Xavier Augustin, chief executive officer of Y-Axis Foundation. “I experienced firsthand what a wonderful foundation it can lay, add that international recognition and respect to one’s profile while opening several doors of opportunity to choose from.” Studying in America, after all, isn’t simply a matter of switching geographical locations, Augustin points out. “Being in an American classroom and being on campus is a huge opportunity for Indian students to transform and be oriented to be part of the global talent pool,” he says.
One of the great advantages of what EducationUSA offers is that the entire process of considering study abroad can be one of reflection for the prospective student. “The EducationUSA methodology shows how the application process itself can be a process of self-discovery, a life-changing experience that encourages the student to become the driver of the process and take charge of one’s own destiny,” says Augustin.
In India, the EducationUSA program has historically been administered through seven centers at three host institutions, explains Bhavvna Jolly, senior program officer, EducationUSA. “The largest among these is the United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF), a bi-national organization that administers the prestigious Fulbright Program and hosts five EducationUSA centers in the cities of New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai.” In addition, “the Indo-American Education Society, a not-for-profit organization, hosts the EducationUSA center in Ahmedabad and covers the state of Gujarat, while Yashna Trust hosts the EducationUSA program in Bengaluru and serves students in the Karnataka region.” The EducationUSA center at the Y-Axis Foundation extends the initiative, Jolly notes, “of the U.S. Mission in India through which EducationUSA has established ties with a private educational consulting foundation to expand its services and reach more students in and around the city of Hyderabad.”
One important but often overlooked challenge facing students who wish to study in the United States is simply a matter of choice—there is too much to choose from, often leading to an overly narrow approach. “Commonly, the selection of universities by students is limited to a few known universities from their social or family circles or seniors at school and college. The U.S. higher education system allows students to choose from more than 4,500 colleges and universities that offer many specialized programs,” says Monika Setia, regional officer at USIEF Hyderabad. “It is very important for students to check the accreditation status of the institution before they consider sending their applications. Not checking the accreditation of the institution and the program of study is an additional common mistake observed among students.”
Finances can be another difficult hurdle to overcome. “Understanding the financial aspects and each step of the application are vital to successful admission at a U.S. higher education institution,” Setia emphasizes. This includes the cost of study, finding the right sources of funding, exploring options for financial support, and learning how to build a strong application. “It has been observed that students are generally not aware of some of these key facets of the admission process,” Setia says, thus underlining the usefulness of what EducationUSA can provide and how the assistance of an expert guide can be crucial.
All of these complexities, of course, increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the advising programs were up to the task. “The operations of the program continue in spite of COVID, thanks to the Y-Axis Foundation’s technology platform that is hosted on the cloud that allows EducationUSA advisors to work from the safety of their homes. We overcame all the challenges to ensure that there was no interruption in the operations of the center,” says Augustin.
As the world moves toward a new normal, there will no doubt continue to be accelerating interest on the part of Indian students who wish to pursue higher education in the United States. Fortunately, with so many avenues of help available, they can successfully navigate their own roads to success.
Natasa Milas is a freelance writer based in New York City.