It's all about money, honey!

HIGHER EDUCATION

It's all about money, honey!

India has 471 universities and 22,064 colleges. In 2007, 14,862,962 students enrolled for higher education - about 10% of Indians between the ages 18 and 24. The Indian government would like to raise the enrollment rate to 20% by 2020. Provided there is adequate means to finance their education, students will shy away from utilising these facilities.

The two ways to fund their education are:

*Scholarships
*Loans

Scholarships

Scholarship is an incentive as well as an encouragement to meritorious students to further their education and career aspirations. Scholarship programs are very selective in the students they choose, so it is important for you to make sure you find scholarships that you can qualify for.

In most cases, the requirements for a scholarship will be based on the donor who is providing the scholarship. It should also be noted that scholarships may fall under different categories. These categories are need-based, athletic, merit-based, general, and ethnicity-based. The earlier you plan for a scholarship, the better the chances that you will obtain it.

Some other popular scholarships that students can avail of are:

*Bharat Petroleum Corporation Scholarship for Higher Studies

*The Narotam Sekhsaria Scholarship for Higher Studies.

Some popular trusts that offer scholarships:

*Secretary, Sahu Jain Trust, 4th floor, Times House, 7, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi - 110 002 (loan scholarships for higher studies in India and overseas).

*Eveready Welfare Services, 2, Rainey Park, Kolkata - 700 019 (scholarships for studies in India).

*Sir Muthuradas Visaanji Foundation, Commercial Union House, 9, Wallance Street, Fort, Mumbai - 400 001 (scholarship for higher studies).

The Foundation for Excellence (FFE) in India also provides scholarships to bright and poor students in India for their higher education in India. Log on to www.ffe.org for details.

While getting a scholarship can be challenging, the rewards are worth it, since a scholarship is a great way to get a free education, without having to worry about paying back loans after graduation.

Loans

References: www.iba.org

The scope of education has widened both in India and abroad, covering new courses in diversified areas. It should be the endeavour of all that no deserving student is denied opportunity to pursue higher education for want of financial support.

Loans for education should be seen as an investment for economic development and prosperity. Knowledge and information would be the driving force for economic growth in the coming years.

Eligibility criteria: Studies in India:

*Should be an Indian national

*Secured admission to professional/ technical courses in India or abroad through entrance test/ merit-based selection process.

*Graduation courses: BA, BCom, BSc, etc.

*Post-graduation courses: Master’s & PhD.

Expenses considered for loan:

*Fee payable to college/ school/ hostel.

*Examination/ library/ laboratory fee.

*Purchase of books/ equipments/ instruments/ uniforms.

*Caution deposit, building fund/ refundable deposit supported by institution bills/ receipts, subject to the condition that the amount does not exceed 10% of the total tuition fees for the entire course.

*Travel expenses/ passage money for studies abroad.

*Purchase of computers - essential for the completion of the course.

*Insurance premium for student borrower

*Any other expense required to complete the course — like study tours, project work, thesis, etc.

Quantum of finance

Need-based finance subject to the repaying capacity of parents/ students with margin and the following ceilings.

*Studies in India - Maximum Rs 10 lakh

*Studies abroad - Maximum Rs 20 lakh

Security

*Up to Rs 4 lakh - Nil

*Above Rs 4 lakh - Studies in India: 5%

*Studies abroad - 15%

Rate of interest:

*Simple interest to be charged during the repayment holiday/ moratorium period.

*Penal interest to be charged as applicable to individual banks.

Repayment

The loan is to be repaid in 5-7 years after the commencement of repayment. If the student is not able to complete the course within the scheduled time, extension of time for the completion of course may be permitted for a maximum period of 2 years. If the student is not able to complete the course, sanctioning authority may, at his discretion, consider such extensions as may be deemed necessary to complete the course.

Insurance

Banks may arrange for life insurance policy on students availing educational loans. Individual banks may work out the modalities with insurance companies. In addition to giving students the ability to gain knowledge, better options for financing higher education also sets up the potential, so that they can extend their knowledge.

(The writer is an admission consultant, Career Launcher.)

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