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How To Pay For A Foreign Degree?


wealthymattersIf you are aiming for a foreign degree,you are probably facing some financial challenges. A rapidly depreciating rupee is the first challenge. The second one is from the Reserve Bank of India a few days ago. In its bid to arrest the free-falling rupee, the banking regulator has brought down the amount of dollars one can take out of the country from $2,00,000 to $75,000 in a financial year. Education loans and remittances related to overseas studies are a part of the $75,000 limit.But the silver lining is that if someone wants to remit a higher amount, they can do so with prior permission of the central bank This offers a ray of hope for those who have the wherewithal, but for others the only way out is to prune expenses and redraw the strategy to fund education.

Almost 60-70% of students who go abroad will not find it difficult to adhere to this limit. However, in case of several programmes, particularly the MBA courses, the course fee itself will exceed the $75,000 limit. That means the RBI move could have an impact on some management programmes immediately.

Indian students are usually quite thrifty while studying abroad. In the US, for a post-graduation course, the annual fee is typically in the range of $25,000-40,000, on an average. Living expenses could be around $15,000 a year, depending on the lifestyle. If your total expenses — including course fee and living expenses — in a financial year exceed $75,000, you will have to make some adjustments to your plan. That includes compromising on the university or institution you have always aspired for. You could look for cheaper educational destinations. For instance, Australia, Germany, Singapore, and Canada are some of the countries that one can consider to pursue studies. The reasons are varied like low tuition fees or low living expenses and even work permits, which make these countries appealing. 

You could also look for options to secure scholarships and tuition waivers. Similarly, you can also try to get subject credits and  shorten the duration of the course.  This is possible as the universities abroad provide flexibility for students.

Obviously, obtaining a scholarship is the best way to fund your studies and overcome the problems of restrictions on taking  dollars out of the country. Another option is to take up part-time jobs. Such income will help you fund their regular, day-to-day expenses.Identifying the right assignment should be your first priority as soon as you are reasonably settled. International students who are studying full-time courses in universities abroad are allowed to work part-time, generally 20 hours in a week, in most of the countries. These part-time jobs are generally on-campus and off-campus. Students have to complete the required formalities to work off-campus. Off-campus jobs include odd jobs in malls, restaurants, gas stations and shops. US universities have more options of teaching assistantships. These are provided to students pursuing their master’s courses. You get a stipend amount for this. Students who are pursuing research based courses have the option of getting research assistantships. Working in libraries, university stores, canteens are considered as on-campus part-time opportunities for students.

You can also explore the option of borrowing from the banks in your destination country. It will help partly finance any shortfall in funds. Large banks like the Bank of America extend cheaper loans at an interest rate of around 7-8% to international students on the condition that a US citizen or a Green Card holder is a co-signor (guarantor).But ascertain whether your university has a tie-up with the banks, as several banks extend loans only to the institutions on their list. Applications can be sent through the banks’ websites, too. Even before you leave the country, find out if your relatives, if any, are willing to stand guarantee to the loan. However, do ensure that you closely study the visa rules as well as regulations of the university before enlisting the help of such family sponsors.

Finally, if everything else fails, you can turn to your extended family for financial help. It is quite common for Indian students to seek support from their relatives. They can come to your aid to cushion the impact of shortfall in funds on account of foreign exchange restrictions.

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About Keerthika Singaravel
Engineer,Investor,Businessperson

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