The number of students from Andhra Pradesh aspiring to go to US institutions for higher education has come down by 25 to 30 per cent this year from 94,564 in 2008.
The main reason, educational consultants say, is the panic over the killings of Andhra students in the US.
There is a growing feeling that people from Andhra Pradesh are being targeted in the US. At least eight Andhra techies were murdered and one seriously injured during the past 13 months.
“Fear psychosis is the main reason, though recession also has a role to play,” said G. Sudhakar, a student counselor.
Staff at Uniti Foundation, an arm of the US consulate, also admitted that the number of students had come down this year.
The state government, faced with the growing anger at home just before the Lok Sabha elections, has taken up the matter with US government. State NRI Affairs Minister Mohammed Ali Shabbir met US Consul General Cornelis M. Keur, urging steps to find the culprits.
Both the state and the US governments believe that increasing safety awareness among the US-going students will help resolve the problem to a large extent.
The state government has directed the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University to conduct seminars and workshops periodically in collaboration with the consulate on the precautions to be taken in the US.
Meanwhile, the Telugu Association of Metro Atlanta has appealed for donations from Indians residing in the city to help transport the body of K. Sudhir Kumar, who was killed at Atlanta on February 2.