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How A Middle Class Family Can Afford An Education Abroad?

Foreign education is considered a sound investment for the future of children no matter which class one might belongs to

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Foreign education is considered a sound investment for the future of children no matter which class one might belongs to. Over the years, each and every student who has managed to go to abroad in a good university has eventually found a great career and a bright future. A large number of students are opting for overseas education in a hope to get a bright career.

Now, the exuberant tuition can be a deal-breaker for the middle-class families that don't want to burn their decade-long savings to send their child to a western country for a degree. The catch-22 is that they also want to send their offspring overseas, so their child doesn't get left behind in the fast-paced world where only the brightest survive. The good news is that there are multiple options for the parents without putting everything at stake such as:

1. Bank Loans
2. Up to 100% Scholarships
3. Near Free education in European countries such as Germany, Belgium etc.
4. Part-time Work Compensation

Let's see all of them one-by-one.

Bank loan is the widely preferred option. The fact that the Indian authorities have made it more feasible by charging low-interest rates (even lower in the case of girl child) and given lengthier duration to repay the amount. For instance, parents take a loan of 30-50 lakh to sponsor their child's education abroad. After 3-4 years of the degree programme or two-year postgraduate programme, the child is likely to gain lucrative placement in a company of repute. In the US, going with the current trends, he/she is expected to draw an annual salary of anything between $60,000 - $85,000. And if the person maintains a standard lifestyle, he/she can save about $30,000 - $40,000 per annum (converts to approx. 20-28 lakhs.) All in all, a student can pay off the loan in 1 to 2.5 years (depending on the loan amount). This deal sounds truly reasonable, and most parents will follow the loan path. Further, with private organizations such as Credila (HDFC) & Avanse offering loans, it is easier and convenient for students/parents to take loans these days. They offer up to Rs 1-2crore loan and also offer high collateral free loan to many postgraduate students.

But, there will be a section of parents who still vary of loans and do not wish to take a chance. Again, there are options available for them. Scholarships! Many countries across the globe and especially the USA offers significant scholarships to international students. There are many opportunities available such as RA (Research Assistant), TA (Teaching Assistant), Merit Scholarships, etc. to Indian students. To get scholarships, one must start early with profile building of their child and make sure he/she is first amongst the equals. Time management and prioritizing become crucial. If everything works out as planned, your child will become eligible for various percentages of scholarship ranging from partial to full. This is not easy and requires collective and well-directed effort. But, it is nothing impossible as we, Mnemonic Education, have sent many students overseas to elite universities on partial and full scholarship with impressive regularity. Not just at the postgraduate level but numerous universities are offering high scholarships to international students for undergraduate degrees. Some universities in the USA are the University of Texas, University of Massachusetts, SUNY (State University of New York), University of Illinois, Cincinnati University, etc. Moreover, there are scholarships available from organizations such as British Council, ETS TOEFL, etc.

Now if both options are not for you, then there's another way round without compromising on the quality of education. Several European countries, especially Germany, have universities that are government funded and are welcoming overseas students to propagate diversity and make their countries alluring to the students who would otherwise prefer the US or the UK. All these universities teach in English and have state-of-the-art resources. Again, if the application process is done with dexterity and purpose, the admissions in the biggest universities are up for taking. This way the parent will not have to take a loan or rely on scholarships and yet get their child the education of the highest order from countries like Germany, France, Italy, et al.

We should also keep in mind that unlike India, most students are encouraged to work part time (20 hours/week) abroad. This money is substantial enough to cover the cost of living expenses for the entire year. Moreover, the summer session is around 3-4 months in foreign universities, and a student is allowed to work full-time (40 hours/week) during these vacations. A student with a good internship/part-time work can manage to take out some portion of the tuition fee as well and hence fewer burdens on the parents.

It goes without saying that now is the best time to study abroad with options available that suit every individual's requirement. It's time we started preparing for our child's thriving future and set the benchmark for the generations to come.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Shirish Gupta

The author is Director, Mnemonic Education

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