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Foreign universities in India: Dollar education in rupees

Sep 09 2013, 11:25 IST
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Dream of thousands, may be millions, of Indian students aspiring for world-class foreign education at rupee cost may soon become reality if the government has its way. Dream of thousands, may be millions, of Indian students aspiring for world-class foreign education at rupee cost may soon become reality if the government has its way.
SummaryDream of students aspiring for world-class foreign education at rupee cost may soon become reality.

Rahul, a Delhiite, has performed exceedingly well in his senior secondary examination and is excited to join a prestigious undergraduate programme at an Ivy league university. He and his parents are least bothered about the weakening of the rupee against the dollar and its negative impact on the cost of overseas education. This is not due to his affluent background but because he will be pursuing the programme at the Gurgaon campus of the foreign university. This dream of thousands, may be millions, of Indian students aspiring for world-class foreign education at rupee cost may soon become reality if the government has its way.

It is common knowledge that the MHRD had formulated the Foreign Education Providers Bill in 2010 to permit foreign universities to set up campuses in India. The Bill, however, has been awaiting Parliamentary nod for a long time. Given the existing situation, we now understand that the government is in the process of finalising regulations that seek to achieve the objectives defined under the aforesaid Bill. This development has been confirmed by the education minister while replying to a question in Parliament. The Bill, in its current form, had placed certain conditions, such as a minimum corpus of R500 million and restriction on ploughing back of profits on foreign universities desirous of setting up a campus in India.

In the past few years, some of these onerous conditions have been a subject of intense debate in the industry. As per some industry experts, such conditions will put off some of the most prestigious global universities to invest in the Indian market. We will have to wait and watch as to how many of these conditions are prescribed under the proposed regulations.

These regulations have become all the more important for an Indian student eyeing overseas degrees given the recent fall in the value of the rupee. To quote statistics, the rupee has depreciated by about 9% in the last month itself with analysts predicting new lows in the near future.

Further, the monthly average value of rupee versus dollar in the last one year indicates a fall of nearly 13% in value.

The accompanying table clearly indicates that the cost of pursuing an MBA from Stanford University has gone up by around 17% due to the weakening rupee. Please note that the additional burden on the student is even more significant as social costs of living have not been included in

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