Master(s) plans go for a toss

The overseas higher education dream just got dearer for many Indian students in the backdrop of the depreciation of the Indian rupee that stands at a record low of 60 per US dollar

Published: 01st July 2013 09:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st July 2013 09:19 AM   |  A+A-

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It’s not just people with petrol cars who groan every time the rupee value takes a plunge, even students aspiring to do a Post Graduate course abroad are hit badly. With the rupee reaching a record low of 60.75 against the $ last week, several students who had applied to universities in the USA and UK have had to put their plans on hold, because the cost has gone up by almost `5 lakh per PG course. Things have gone downhill, as hardly two months ago, the rupee stood at 54 against the greenback.

Chennai girl Vijayalakshmi had shortlisted two universities in Western Europe and one in the US, that offered degrees in corporate communication, “I was keen on studying abroad due to the quality of education, but now I am hesitant. I may have to look for cheaper options,” she explains.

According to her, there are two kinds of people who go abroad for education – those who go there for the sake of education alone and those who want to have the ‘study abroad’ experience. People in the first category were most prone to having to lose out on their dreams, she said.

The problems are even worse for those wanting to do their UG course abroad, as this costs up to `8 lakh more now. Though he’s only just finished school, Aparajith says that he may have to jettison his plans of studying at a university in Connecticut, where he has been accepted.

Normally, he would not have even bothered to browse the daily newspapers, but the rupee’s performance has made him a ‘believer’. With most of the Indian students who study abroad taking educational loans, it stands to reason now that the compounded interest will be that much more now.

Divya Shivaram, who is pursuing her masters in Intelligent Systems at the University of Sussex, since last year concedes that paying for the EMIs of her educational loan is becoming onerous by the day, due to which she is eager to get a job at the earliest.

Meanwhile, thrift is the keyword for Indian students studying abroad, who are tightening their purse strings.

From seeking university scholarships and stipends, to shunning luxury, they are doing it all, says Venkateswaran Ganesan, who has completed his masters in microbiology and cellular sciences at Gainesville, Florida and intends on doing his PhD, “The first year the university covered my tuition expenses. When I transferred to a masters degree, I was able to live off what I had saved until then. Except for the essential eating, rent and clothing, I manage with what I have,” he states.

Doing a PhD is at the back of his mind; however, he has resolved to find a job at the earliest else return to India in a few months, work there and try applying next year.

The only people who can consider themselves lucky are those who have had the luxury of paying much in advance.

Anush Rajashekaran, who is doing his masters at the London South Bank University, had the goo fortune of paying his agent well in advance and so, when the prices peaked, he had the signed agreement form to go with.

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