With the rupee in a free fall, students going abroad for studies look at part-time jobs

With the rupee sliding to its weakest ever against the dollar, students aspiring to study abroad are recalibrating their options. Since the admission process for the fall is already over, they are now concerned with admissions in spring.

Assuming the average tuition fee in a U.S. university is about $10,000, students joining this fall may find their bills increasing by at least Rs. 80,000 at the current exchange rates. This may not deter those with a single-minded focus on the best universities in the Western hemisphere.

“Students will now surely seek higher sanctions for loans and then look for part-time jobs or scholarships after going there. Most often, students who decide to go abroad don’t change their decision; instead, they look for ways to save money,” says S.S. Bhat, general manager, Priority & Credits and Financial Inclusion, Canara Bank.

But students from India who are dependent on a scholarship — but may have been considering paying their way to a foreign university — are deterred by the rupee’s depreciation. Says Anisha Peter, who has just completed her bachelor’s in communication studies from Mount Carmel College, Bangalore, “I have got admission into the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles. The fee, of course, is very high and if I take a bank loan, it will take me forever to repay the amount; therefore I have applied for a scholarship. If I don’t get the scholarship, I will look for a suitable music course in India or take up a communications course and pursue music simultaneously,” says Anisha.

Overseas education consultants say that the rupee’s free fall may open other doors, especially in countries that offer students the opportunity to work after completing their course.

Dilip Rai, Director, Overseas Education Services, Bangalore, says countries like Australia, New Zealand and Canada may become favoured destinations because they offer post-course work options.

The rupee slide vis-à-vis the pound means that the British currency is now Rs. 90.47.

This has rattled students who were planning to go to the United Kingdom for higher studies, and quite a few have been sending anxious queries to universities there.

“The fall of the rupee against the pound has certainly made Indian applicants think very carefully about studying abroad. Students I meet regularly in India are keen to find out about part-time work opportunities and scholarships. Students do their research to find out which university [affords] lower costs of living,” said Katy Woodford, associate director, International Office, the University of Sheffield.