Top fundraising ideas to study abroad
Updated on Mar 16, 2016 - 4:25 p.m. IST by Manashjyoti
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Top fundraising ideas to study abroad:
While the prospect of studying abroad is an exciting one, managing the necessary funds isn’t exactly a walk in the park. It is because studying abroad is a very costly proposition; for example, according to FAIRFX, the average annual cost of studying in Australia is £27,277  (the highest of all countries), while it is £23,592 in case of  the USA, which happens to be the most popular internation destination among international students. Further, even before you reach foreign shores, you will be required to give proof of sufficient funds to cover minimum first year of your study at the time of applying for the student visa.

 

With that kind of money involved, it is anybody’s guess that students have to depend on resources other than their own: scholarships, loans and tuition waiver. Also, when it comes to scholarships, it is open only to the crème de la crème of students, among other conditions.

In this article we explore the top fundraising ideas to study abroad.

Scholarships/Fellowships: Highly coveted, these outright grants are given to students with outstanding academic credentials and performance. Since students are not required to repay the grant amount, they are free of any financial obligation, unlike in the case of educational loans. While scholarships are primarily merit-based, there are many specialized scholarships designed for and restricted to a particular community, country or students with particular skill sets.

 

In addition to universities, individual governments and private organizations extend scholarship to students. For example, while Inlaks Scholarship is offered by the Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation, the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship is extended by the Swiss government and the Curtin International Scholarship is offered by Curtin University. To earn these scholarships, which may fund your studies abroad, you need to know about them in detail in the first place, like the awarding body, scholarship amount, application deadline and the documentation process, or else it may happen that despite having all the qualifications your application could be rejected.

 

Types of scholarships

Scholarships can be full or partial. If it is a full scholarship, it most probably will cover not only your tuition fees, but even your cost of living in the foreign country, like the fully funded international scholarships in UK. Normally, there is high competition for these scholarships, and candidates with consistently outstanding credentials are picked. Many universities and scholarship providers also demand that candidates have minimum GMAT/GRE or SAT/ACT score. Partial scholarships as the name suggest only sponsor some of your expenses and you will be required to chip in additional funds from your own pocket.

 

Here are some of the top scholarships to fund your studies abroad

Assistantships: While scholarships and loans are the popular options for funding your study abroad program, a less explored but very effective way to fund your studies abroad is by taking up the role of an assistantship at the university you are enrolled in. For example, if you are a ‘Graduate Assistant,’ you will be eligible for a host of benefits including financial support, in the form of tuition remission and/or a stipend, apart from being covered by the university’s health insurance plan.

Graduate assistants are of two types:

  • A teaching assistant: Job responsibilities chiefly include the role of an instructional assignment holding meeting with studentsadministering exams and tests, among others

  • A research assistant: Is given the responsibility to assist faculty members with their academic research, like helping them collect, code, clean and analyze research data.

Tuition waiver: In the case of a scholarship, an external agent pays for your tuition fees and living expenses (or some part of it), if you have been granted a ‘tuition waiver,’ you are exempt from paying the total tuition fee. Tuition waivers, another effective way to fund your studies abroad, are available for the duration of your study and normally don’t exceed your billed tuition fee, even though you may be allowed to receive multiple tuition waivers from different sources; for example, The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) accepts a multitude of tuition offers. Another feature of tuition waivers is they are frequently awarded in conjunction with scholarships or assistantship programs.

Part-time jobs: You can work part-time during your studies in most of the top academic destinations, like you can work up to 20 hours when class is in session and fulltime during holidays in New Zealand and earn NZ $14.75 per hour. Part-time work not only helps you fund your studies abroad, but gives you access to the country’s industry which you can use to hone your skills and test your theoretical skills. It must be remembered though that work visa isn’t uniform across countries, like if you want to work during study in the USA, you can work off-campus only in the second year of your postgraduate study and in a field related to your study; but before that you will need an F-1 visa to be able to work during study in the USA.  

Self-financing your studies

If you sponsor your study abroad yourself, the immediate benefit is you don’t have to worry about getting caught up in the not so sweet cycle of EMIs, a natural progression of educational loans. Also, there is less hassle in the sense that you don’t have to read through fine prints and lengthy terms and conditions to apply for a loan. Importantly, self-financing doesn’t mean you have to bypass benefits that come your way on account of your merit and performance, be it scholarships or fellowships. It is simply that you are digging into your own pockets, whether it is by selling your stocks, bonds, equities, using your savings or through some other means.  The downside of this type of funding though is liquidation of your savings and you might also miss out on interests/profits.

Education loans: When all options to fund your studies abroad dry out, you know where to head: a bank! Most countries around the world offer very liberal intererst rates for its students and therefore it is not a surprise that they continue to be the biggest source of funds for international students. In fact, almost all major banks today have dedicated departments to extend financial help and loans to needy students at reasonable interest rates. Take the case of India, where HDFC, an Indian banking and financial services company, has partnered with Credila, a specialist in the education loan domain, to extend loans that fund international students. 

 

Not all degrees are equal

As already mentioned, studying abroad is a costly business, and when the education program in question is an Engineering or MBA degree, the stakes only get higher. If you want to study MBA in a top university in the USA, say Harvard, first-year tuition fees stands at $61,225. With fees as high as this, it is only a loan that can save you and help you hold tight to your dream of studying in USA or wherever.

 

Pointers when taking out a loan to fund your studies abroad

It will serve you well if you don’t take any decision in rash and take time out to do the necessary research while deciding on a particular loan to fund your studies abroad. Typically when taking a loan, make sure that.

  • You have easy EMIs to deal with

  • Interest rates are not very high (to know you aren’t overcharged, compare with those offered by other banks)

  • The loan terms are flexible enough (i.e., flexibility in the choice of collaterals)

  • It provides you tax relief Sec 80-E of income Tax Act

  • You get customized loan solutions (yes, it is possible)

When speaking of overseas study expenses, the topic of discussion normally revolves around tuition fee and living expenses, but not to be overlooked are expenses related to health insurance and travel insurance, especially the former. Actually, health insurance is needed to get admission in most of top universities across the world and can cost $1,144 or more per quarter.

Hopefully, the top fundraising ideas to study abroad outlined here would clear any doubts about the funding process you may have had and enable you to take more informed decisions.

 

Stay tuned to www.studyabroad.careers360.com for more news and updates on Manage your funds

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