We need to get the word out that doing a Masters (and even a PhD) at IIT/IISc is a viable option. Just to give an example, working with me for MS allowed one of my students to secure admission in a top-20 US university, which he otherwise would not have gotten based on his undergraduate degree alone. More of “Flight to US” will be dealt with in a follow-up post.In fact, after my undergraduation, I could not get admission to a top 20 school in USA (I did get a few in 30-50) and, therefore, I joined IIT-M and then did my doctorate in a top 20 school in US. However, the situation has changed in that many middle class and upper middle class students who get admission in the top 20-30 schools in USA without financial aid still leave the country after getting loans. This was not common when I studied.
I am sure that all students joining the program in IIT/IISc know that getting financial aid in a top ten school requires a degree from IIT/IISc. Of the 32 master's students that I have graduated, 11 of them were interested in going abroad and all of them went to the top 20 schools in USA with financial aid. All of them published research papers with me and used it as a basis to get into the top schools in the US. Thus, IISc (or the IITs) has not been facing any problems in getting students for M.E/M.Tech programs. Our cut off is all India rank of 25 for admission in the M.E. progam in chemical engineering.
The problem is why these students do not continue to do a doctorate in India. Institute like IISc benefit greatly from a doctoral student than from a master's student. My colleagues often ask me whether I advise a master's student to pursue a doctorate in IISc itself and not go abroad. I do not. I think facilities are now comparable and the quality of *some* faculty in IISc are comparable to that of the US. I, however, tell them the advantages of doing a doctorate in IISc (faster completion because they are already familiar with the experiments etc., closer interaction) and USA (more money, more independence from families (especially for girls)) and then ask them to decide.