A growing number of students from India has prompted the University of Illinois (U of I) to establish a liaison office in New Delhi and a branch office in Bengaluru to support student recruitment.
The board of trustees appointed alumnus Vivek Damle as the university’s authorized representative in India.
In the fall of 2020, Indian students in the U of I System represented the second-highest number of international students at the college system, surpassed only by Chinese candidates. Campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield accommodated almost 3,000 Indian students last year.
India is also home to more than 2,000 U of I alumni, as well as U of I academic and industry partners.
The new liaison office will help drive growth, increase engagements with Indian higher education institutions, and connect with the large number of U of I alumni there. It will also serve as a hub for U of I alumni, visiting academics, and study-abroad students.
“India has one of the world’s largest economies and it has grown rapidly, presenting an excellent opportunity for the U of I System to nurture our existing partnerships and develop new ones, all with an eye toward continued excellence and creating opportunities for students,” UIUC associate vice chancellor for corporate relations, Pradeep Khanna, said.
The idea to set up liaison offices in India dates back to 2014. However, preliminary plans were abandoned following a state budget impasse between 2015 and 2017, which left no funding available for university projects.
Khanna said the system will submit its application to the Reserve Bank of India for an evaluation within the next few months. Once approved, the liaison office can open within six months.