India Initiatives

BU Global Programs launched India Initiatives at Boston University in fall 2012 to link BU with India in a direct and concrete way. Our mission is to build a University-wide forum for an exchange of ideas on India, to leverage the expertise of the BU community of stakeholders engaged with India, and to strengthen BU’s historic ties with India.


The goals for India Initiatives align with BU’s strategy for a global university. We aim to:

    • Build a community of stakeholders at BU—faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends—that will support, guide, and engage with BU’s India activities
    • Expand a grassroots awareness of India at BU
    • Support BU faculty to collaborate on interdisciplinary research topics of common interest that address sustainable solutions for problems and needs relevant to India
    • Identify opportunities that enable BU students to study and intern in India
    • Work with BU’s Development & Alumni Relations officers to support BU’s engagement with alumni and donors interested in growing BU-India connections

      Why India?

      Consider that India, with a young population of 1.2 billion people (the median age is only 26.2, compared to 36.9 in the US), is projected to be the fastest-growing economy among G20 countries between now and 2050. Based on internal economic measures, India already has 50 million people who have entered the middle class, which is expected to grow to 500 million by 2025. At that point, India will have the world’s largest English-speaking middle class seeking higher education. This enormous growth in the demand for higher education in India cannot be met solely by government-supported institutions, and the government has already begun discussions to allow private and foreign institutions to help meet the need.

      Demographics: a young India

      • 50% of population is less than 25 years old
      • The median age is 26.2, while it is 36.9 in the US
      • Literacy rate is at 74% (up from 52% in 1991)

      Current status of higher education in India

      • 26 million enrolled (compared with 19 M in US and 29 M in China)
      • 18% of the eligible population is enrolled in higher education (compared with 95% in the US, 40% in the UK, and 26% in China)
      • 400 universities and 33,000 colleges

      Government targets for 2017

      • 36 million students enrolled in higher education
      • 25% of eligible students enrolled in higher education
      • 1,000 new universities