Students considering courses in Europe/Australia instead of U.S.

The declining value of rupee against the U.S. dollar has landed many a student from the city in a Catch 22 situation. Hyderabad has a record number of students going to the U.S. for their engineering and management studies.

But the jolt coming with the sliding rupee seems poised to ruin this American dream. “It has definitely affected the aspiring students. We have a lot lesser students dropping in for queries after the rupee fell,” agrees a director of a noted overseas education coaching centre in the city.

Course fee

The course fee ranges from Rs.80 lakh to Rs.1 crore in top universities. It is only from the second semester that you are eligible for a grant which is based on the performance in the first semester, says a counsellor in a city-based consultancy. In the U.S., a student is legally bound to work for fixed hours on campus, while in U.K., the student also has to secure funds for accommodation and sustenance as the stringent laws bar students from taking up a job.

Sharp increase

“There is a sharp increase in the amount I paid towards the rupee-pound conversion for my daughter's expenses who is studying in London, when compared to what I sent two months ago. You also have to pay commission to the money changers and the bank,” says a parent.

Most of the students in the preliminary stages of application to American universities are even contemplating backing out.

“The application fee per university is now coming to Rs.15,000-Rs.20,000. The test fees cost more and you also have to send the scores to the universities. The costs all add up to a whopping sum at the application level itself,” says Arjun, an advocate at A.P. High Court who is rethinking of his plan to study his Masters in Law at renowned names such as Harvard, Stanford and Cambridge.

With speculations hinting at the rupee to fall further, students are considering varsities in Australia, Singapore and Switzerland.

“Instead of paying Rs.50 lakh in the U.S., you can pay almost half for a university in Europe or Rs.10 lakh-Rs.15 lakh in Singapore. University of Wien in Vienna has fantastic options, for instance,” says Arjun.

Formula

The study and repay formula is still valid provided students from the State don't shift to inexpensive lower ranked schools once in the U.S., that is often the case which mars their employability.

“There are still a lot of jobs for qualified candidates. I know from my job search experience a few months back and from that of my friends that everyone had highly competitive multiple job offers to choose from when we were graduating. Students considering an education in the U.S. should think in terms of getting an opportunity to gain world class education,” says Rohit Kumar, who recently completed his doctoral work at Carnegie Mellon University and is working as a scientist at a prominent research firm in Boston.