Falling rupee fails to stop students study abroad dreams
The strengthening of dollar against the Indian currency has made the study abroad a bit costlier. While the government and the Reserve Bank of India are taking measures to arrest the fall of the rupee against the dollar, the students who have already packed their bags to study abroad are in a fix. With dollar and pound sterling becoming dearer, the cost of academic programmes in the major study destinations abroad has also become costly.
The continuing rupee slide can have major repercussions on the education sector, predict market gurus. In the meantime, many universities abroad have taken some measures to attract the student community from India during this crisis situation.
Reduced duration of courses
One of the developments which resulted from the sliding rupee is the shrinking of courses by foreign universities. These universtities are of the view that the reduction in the number of months will help cut the soaring education costs while studying abroad.
Selected institutions based in New Zealand have announced condensed master’s courses wherein students of a two-year master’s programme will be permitted to finish the course within 12 to 18 months. A similar step is being taken by Australian institutions as well. Authorized “credit subject exemptions” for students are being allowed if the corresponding student had earlier pursued a similar course at a relevant level. Other options being given to students include relaxation in work days and continuation of courses during breaks and holidays so as to shorten the programme duration. This way, students will not only be able to slash their stay charges but will also be able to reduce their tuition fees. A faster course completion means students can start paying off their study loans earlier.
American Universities are also not far behind in adopting steps to attract Indian students. Concordia University, New York, has collaborated with Chennai-based Women’s Christian College to offer an American Transfer Programme. The programme will enable students to wrap up an American bachelor’s degree in three and a half years instead of four years and an American post graduate degree in four and a half years instead of six years.
New scholarships and financial aids
Another initiative taken by foreign universities is the introduction of newer scholarships. Anglia Ruskin University, UK, has decided to offer new scholarships programmes to students if the rupee continues its downward trend.
Universities in New Zealand have come up with a novel marketing idea to attract international students. They have decided to offer PhD courses to international students at the same rate as that of their domestic students.
Germany has introduced a new education scholarship for architecture courses for students pursuing both masters as well as extension studies in the field of architecture.
Leniency of banks
Not only universities, but other stakeholders related to the study abroad sector are also exploring new ventures to encourage students to pursue their studies in a foreign destination. Western Union Business Solutions, a unit of The Western Union Company, has announced a new service that will allow universities and higher education institutions across the world to accept tuition payments in Indian Rupee. Weizmann Forex and Paul Merchants Limited, Western Union Agents in India, will make the product accessible at various locations across India.
A number of Indian banks have also extended repayment period of education loans taken by students to pursue their studies abroad. State Bank of Hyderabad has decided to extend its study abroad education loan repayment period from seven years to ten years. HDFC Credila has planned to make its education loan taken for studying abroad repayment period for fifteen years in certain cases. Indian Bank is considering lowering its EMI rate on education loan.