Declining rupee dampens plans of foreign study

Many students to rethink decision but others may be as firm

Declining rupee dampens plans of foreign study

 The falling rupee has clouded the plans of students planning foreign studies. The academic season is just about to begin and students are weighing several options before embarking on plans to study in foreign universities.

Vimal Jha, employed with a City-based firm, aspires to study MBA in the US. He estimated the expenses to be about 55 lakh. The continue fall of the rupee, however, has increased the cost to Rs 72 lakh, prompting him to rethink his plans.

“Several other students are likely to reconsider plans, owing to the financial burden placed by the fluctuating rupee,” said Suhas C S, City Head, Jamboree, an institute offering programmes for such tests as GMAT, GRE, TOEFL and IELTS. Nonetheless, a clear picture on the decline or increase in the number of applicants would emerge only after a month or two as it is still the beginning of the season, he added.

Sunitha Perumal, Country Product Manager, EF International Academy, preferred an optimistic view of the scenario. “The economy has fluctuated earlier too. In spite of the fall in rupee, students would still want to go abroad as it is not an overnight decision but a lifetime ambition of a family,” she observed. According to her, there has been (and would be) no decline in the number of Indian students going abroad for higher education.

The US remains the preferred destination, besides Canada, Germany and China which offer internship opportunities in addition to courses at lower fees compared with countries such as the UK.

“The UK still has stringent rules for visa while other countries attract students with comparatively relaxed norms and a wide array of scholarships,” said Perumal. Suhas mentioned that for undergraduate studies, students could also look at universities in Singapore which charge lower fees compared with those in Europe.

While being optimist, students would still have to plan their expenses well in advance as the cost this year would only be higher. They can negotiate with banks about flexible terms for loans and approach universities for more scholarships. They should select schools that offer more scholarships to Indian students, both Perumal and Suhas advised.

Students already in the midst of their course work say they will need paid internships and part-time jobs.

“Indian students now look for jobs or paid internships. There are five of us in my class. We want to start working from the next semester,” said Yashas Abbimut Jagadish, who is studying MBA in Munich. He had availed of a loan of Rs 10.5 lakh for his 13-month course.

The weak rupee has resulted in higher cost of financing, and some families have indeed seen their savings fall short and their dreams of a better future shattered.
To tide over this fund crunch, students are either looking at alternative sources of funding like scholarships or picking on campus part-time jobs, a recent study by ASSOCHAM study said.

The only set of students who will gain from the rupee depreciation are those who have already completed their studies and are about to begin repaying their loan. For them, the depreciation of rupee means fewer dollars to be paid back to the bank.

Bankers believe the impact of depreciation in rupee value will not be seen in the current year but it will do so in the next academic year. Banks will work out cost economics in March-April this year.

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