For most middle class families the cost is a deterrent even if the benefits of studying abroad are unquestionable. The silver lining is that although the cost is steep, they can be feasibly covered without parents liquidating their savings.
Shirish Gupta is Founder and Director, Mnemonic Education and Overseas Admissions
Studying abroad is something genuinely alluring to any young person. The charm of it all is magnified by the benefits of a foreign education in a rapidly globalised world. An alumnus of Cambridge, Stamford and a range of universities is highly sought after candidate and can be absorbed anywhere in the business world. But, like all great things, this too doesn’t come easy. Students start preparing at the start of high school to be eligible when the selection day arrives. And parents have to foot the bill of this par excellence further education. For most middle class families the cost is a deterrent even if the benefits of studying abroad are unquestionable. The silver lining is that although the cost is steep, they can be feasibly covered without parents liquidating their savings.
Avail bank loan: This is one of the quickest and smartest options. As the government of India promotes education, banks offer loans with the lowest interest rates; the rates are further reduced by a percent if the student is a girl. These loans are hassle free and approved swiftly within a month. The repayment time is also generous giving more time for the person to settle in and get a better paying job. On average, foreign graduates are able to pay off the loans within 2-4 years after getting employed. This option works for a lot of parents, but there’s another set of parents who simply do not prefer any kind of debt. There are several other options for them such as scholarships.
Look for scholarships: Scholarships are earned by well-directed efforts and achievements over a period of time. The years of dedicated endeavors, not limited to academics, result in scholarships from partial (e.g. 25 per cent) to complete. Scholarships offered are limited so at times even with excellent profiles, some students miss out. But, if one door shuts, multiple others open for the full fee paying overseas students.
Working part-time or off-campus: All the hard work comes in handy as the students can easily take up part-time jobs on or off campus. On campus jobs are convenient, save time with no commute or travel expenses. Off-campus jobs usually pay higher, so it all comes out to be the same. The money earned in part-time (20 hours) certainly covers the living, food and leisure expenses. On top of that, if the students decide not to go home during vacations, they can work full-time (40 hours) for 3-4 months. The amount of funds made during the holidays can pay for a semester’s tuition fee.
Look to be a Research Assistant: Universities require several RA (Research Assistants) and TA (Teaching Assistants). These positions can be taken up by the international students with fair skills. Once a student becomes an RA or TA, his/her entire education is funded by the university. The icing on the cake is that they are also given a monthly stipend that takes care of any additional expenses incurred by the student.
Budget smart: Furthermore, smart budgeting can make a huge difference. Simple things like buying the course books (which can be costly) from the ex-students, traveling by public transport, shopping in bulk for things that are necessary will do wonders in lowering the expenses.
Live off-campus: Another way to save a bunch of money is by living off-campus in shared accommodation. This can shave off about $200-300 from the monthly budget. It’s always a big bonus if one enjoys cooking. As the labor costs are high abroad, eating out is usually 5-10 times more expensive than eating in. Eating in is also always healthier.
Avail discounts: Besides, students get discounts in a range of activities such as movies, restaurants, train tickets, local grocery stores and of course haircuts.
The holistic message here is that although on the face of it, the overseas education may appear to be for the rich, it is accessible to anyone who’s ready to put in the groundwork and little bit of creativity. And once we have the exposure and education from a reputed university, we’re already propelled half-way towards remarkable success.