Going abroad for higher education is one of the universal aspirations of many Indian students. Delayed by 2 years due to COVID, students seem to be making up for lost time in droves as the number of Indian international students crossed the 1 lakh mark in March 2022. This zeal is quite understandable as promised by the international education provides both academic and personal growth with a quality and diversity rarely seen in India. Unfortunately, this ideal is impossible to achieve without addressing the very real costs of education abroad. Quite simply, going abroad is expensive. Therefore, its accounting is essential.
That said, money worries should never stop us from taking the first step towards education abroad. Students begin their journey by finding the best courses, universities, and colleges they can and forming a body of institutes to consider. This is when budgeting needs to come into play. From tuition to laundry, housing to the internet, realistically considering all aspects of living abroad helps maintain financial stability and peace of mind. Which leads to better overall performance. Here’s how to set a good budget for your international studies.
Perhaps the most important factor when budgeting for overseas education is the target country and its cost of living. This step is extremely important as these expenses will follow students off-campus and can increase costs far beyond the advertised course fee. Thus, a good budget will take into account exchange rates, the state of the country’s economy, cost of living projections, and so on. Although it may seem complex and confusing, there is no shortage of services and resources that help students or parents. at each step of the process.
The UK, Canada, and Australia have become the three most popular countries for Indian students to pursue courses in finance, economics, and earth sciences. Mentioned below is the average cost of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.
JThe cost can vary greatly depending on the course chosen, the university chosen and the subject.
Here is an overview of the average fees for each course from some of the top universities in these countries.
(Graphics by Sanjita Kalra/ET Online)
Let your notes cut costs
The scholarship often strikes students as a daunting task. A special tool used only by the best students and therefore beyond their reach. Fortunately, this is quite far from the truth. Almost all good universities offer some form of merit-based grants and scholarships. It makes sense for students to apply for as many such opportunities as possible to reduce their overall expenses. This is especially true for international students as international exchange rates are almost never favorable to the Indian Rupee. By casting a wide net and trying out every program available, students can exponentially increase their chances of securing a scholarship. Additionally, there are plenty of online resources that help you organize comprehensive scholarship listings.
Ironically, one of the most stressful decisions in international education budgeting comes right after all the planning is done: funding the budget while dealing with the ever fickle foreign market. Below are some tools to consider:
- Borrow abroad: One of the most effective financial tools in such cases is a national loan provider from the country you choose. By acquiring a loan provider in the destination country, a student can ensure that the loan is disbursed and repaid in the same currency in which it was borrowed. This reduces risk without currency conversion losses.
- Explore college-linked lenders: Some universities collaborate directly with financial institutions for the benefit of their international students. Education loans acquired this way are processed faster, have lower interest rates and also benefit from reduced volatility.
- Fixed rate loans verify uncertainties: Fixed rate loans are the preferred form of loan in education abroad. This is only natural, as fixed rates allow students to plan for the long term without worrying about fluctuating countless market conditions. Variable rate loans are not recommended because their interest rates are beyond the control of the two financial parties.
- Investing in foreign assets: Parents may decide to invest in foreign markets to avoid exchange rate fluctuations and hedge against currency fluctuations. Although potentially effective, such an investment requires a threshold of capital and expertise and is more effective over a longer period.
- Get a consultation service: Some families decide to entrust these financial matters to specialized educational services in direct contact with universities. These services have become reliable mainstays of international funding for education around the world.
In conclusion, although budgeting for education abroad can be a complex and boring business, it ultimately ensures a happier and more fulfilling time abroad and gives students the opportunity to fully experience the new country. And that, perhaps, makes all the effort worthwhile.
(The author is the founder of ASL – parent company of UniAcco, UniCreds and UniScholarz.)