With foreign universities offering increasing number of scholarships, pursuing an international degree is becoming a feasible option to the middle class.

At the Education U.K. exhibition conducted by the British Council in the city on Saturday, a good number of participants were on the lookout for universities offering scholarships that would help them pursue their dream course.

Since these scholarships are purely based on merit and are spread over a number of courses, many people, especially those from the middle class, now find education in the U.K. an attainable option, said L. Dhanasekaran, Head of Education, U.K. (South India).

There were queries from the participants regarding the scholarships managed by the British Council such as the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan ( CSFP), Scotland's Saltire Scholarship, and Dr. Manmohan Singh Scholarships, he added.

Titus Bobby, a graduate in Biotechnology, said such exhibition helped one get a clear idea about the various scholarships offered, especially those in the area of applied science.

“The kind of opportunities to pursue research programmes in the field of applied science is better in countries like the U.K.. The Jubilee Scholarships funded by the British Council and the Government of U.K. offers such opportunities and I am looking out for such scholarships,” said Bobby. The Jubilee scholarship is being awarded to 60 meritorious students who want to pursue a master's degree in Management, Science and Technology or Manufacturing, followed by a short internship in the U.K. The scholarship covers tuition fee, living expenses, international airfare and the visa fee.

“Coming from a middle class background, it's impossible to study in countries such as the U.K. without full scholarship. But the kind of international exposure and lifestyle that one would get in these countries attract people like us,” said M. Shaji, a graduate in Law. Scholarships are a major factor for many universities participating in the exhibition, where each is competing to attract the most number of participants. While most of the universities offer one or two full scholarships, there has been a substantial increase in the number of partial scholarships that are being offered for students.

Partial scholarships bring down the expense to a large extent and by accumulating a few such scholarships, pursuing a course in a university of your choice is possible, said one of the participants who has already qualified for two partial scholarships. “We offer only one full scholarship. But we offer many partial scholarships and this is a criterion to attract students,” said an official of the University of West London.