Understanding the Cost of Studying Abroad
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6 Strategies to Lower Your Cost of Studying Abroad

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Read the 6 strategies by which you can reduce the cost of studying abroad. Save money during your studies and achieve great success while spending less

Yogender Panchal
Updated on:  30 Jun 2023  | Reviewed By: 
| 4.14K | 7  min read

There are so many options these days to finance the cost of studying abroad for Indian students. Students reach banks, NBFCs, and International lenders for getting their education loans that can bring a substantial change in their lives. This used to be a pricey affair a decade back, and only those from well-heeled families could afford to study abroad. Now, the credit culture in India has grown by leaps and bounds. The Indian government, RBI, and other stakeholders have pushed banks, financial institutions to expand the ambit of education loans. For instance, one can approach Public Sector Banks(PSBs) and Private Sector Banks for secured loans up to INR 1.5Cr.

 Banks are not only readily lending, but the government is also actively making policies for subsidised loans by further lowering the interest. But the problem begins here since not everyone in India has the capacity to pledge an asset that has value to the tune of crores of rupees. For students from financially marginalised sections, private sector banks, NBFCs and International lenders are the best choices. However, they also lend lesser amounts to borrowers seeking an unsecured loan. Banks are also under the pressure of Non-Performing Assets (NPAs), so they refrain from lending higher amounts in unsecured loans. So, this warrants the need to strategise so that those who have some sort of financial incapacity can bridge the gap through these strategies for financing their cost of studying abroad. 

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Always Aim for Scholarships and Financial Grants

It is perhaps the best way to reduce the cost of education abroad. Students who are aware of their financial capabilities must aim for scholarships as they tend to cover up to 100% of the tuition fee. In some cases, they even help students with their cost of living. The best part about the scholarship is that it helps banks give unsecured loans without any doubt. The scholarships and financial aid are given to meritorious students by foreign governments, private bodies, corporate-financed scholarships, organisations and trusts based scholarships. There is no dearth of scholarships for those who secure admission to the world’s top universities. This is the reason why most of the students from top colleges of India easily get scholarships and funding for their studies abroad.

Read more about: Study Abroad Scholarships (2023) for Indian Students


Categories of Scholarships 

  • list items Merit-Based Scholarships: These are offered to meritorious students and have an impeccable academic record. 
  • list items Subject-Based Scholarships: These scholarships are usually given by universities wanting students to study a particular subject or an area of research. 
  • list items Need-Based Scholarships: Students from economically poor backgrounds can claim these scholarships if they don’t have the financial capability to pursue higher education in a foreign country.
  • list items Student Specific Scholarships: These scholarships are granted on a case to case basis, and there is a broad range of criteria from race, gender, inequality of any other kind that can be the basis for granting this scholarship.
  • list items Sports Scholarships: As the name suggests, these scholarships are meant for those who have excelled in a particular sport and wish to represent a particular university at different events. 
  • list items Country-Specific Scholarships: These scholarships are offered by governments of one country to students of a selected group of countries or one country. 

  • Explore Study Abroad Scholarships

    Some of the top scholarships that are available for Indian students include names like Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship (For studying in the UK), Chevening Scholarships (for studying in the UK), Melbourne - India PG Scholarship (for studying in Australia), Fulbright-Nehru Fellowships (for studying in the US), Tata Scholarship - Cornell University (for studying in the US). So, one can see that there are so many options available for those who wish to lower the cost of education in a foreign country. 


    Do Part-Time Jobs to Manage the Cost of Living 

    Most of the loans cover the cost of living. But there is always a cap on it, and depending solely on the education loan to cover the living expenses is a bit extravagant for those who are not well-heeled. It becomes imperative for students to take up part-time work in order to finance their education. In this regard, even the Father of Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was of the opinion that after a certain age, students should take care of their education expenses to realise the worth of it. Once a student starts taking care of its expenses, they realise the worth of money and also the difference that education can bring into their lives.

    In most of the countries abroad, students are allowed to take up part-time jobs to take care of their living expenses. However, governments also keep in mind that the students mustn’t affect their education while earning that extra buck as the end goal of going abroad is to get an education, not to make money. So, there is always a cap on the number of hours for which an international student can work in a week or month or year. All the countries have their own set of rules for letting international students work. Some allow more working hours than others. Some might even put a tax on the income if it is beyond a threshold. For instance, if a student earns more than 450 euros per month, the income becomes taxable. But at the end of the day, part-time jobs are the best way to manage living expenses, and as stated earlier, students shouldn’t let this become a hurdle in their studies. 

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    Choose A Destination With Lower Tuition Fee

    It is perhaps one of the best ways to deal with the cost of education. Many countries have completely waived off the tuition fees, and students have to pay a bare minimum amount in taking a degree from top universities of that country. For instance, many European nations like Germany, Switzerland, France etc., have very low to no tuition fees.  This helps students take world-class education without the need to worry about high tuition fees. So, if a student goes to a public university in Germany, the chances are very likely that he doesn’t have to pay anything at all, barring some negligible administrative charges.

    One needs to worry about the cost of living, which can be easily financed through loans. So, if a student is ready to shift its place of study from high fee structure countries like the US and the UK, they can certainly save a lot in terms of the cost of education. The cost of studying MBA abroad at a public university in countries like Germany can be free, while the same can cost up to INR 50 lakh or even more. The best part is that most of the top universities in Germany, France, etc., are equally good as the universities in the US or the UK.


    Limit the Extravagant Expenses

    When an Indian student goes abroad, one of the biggest deterrents in managing the expenses is extravagant expenses. It is somewhat related to the human psyche to explore new places and try new things, but at times, one has to limit their expenses. In India, a movie ticket might cost INR 300 or more, but at the same time, a movie ticket in New York will cost $15, which by the current exchange rate is INR 1140. So, here lies the difference.

    Lunch at a metro city in India might cost around INR 500 per person, while the national average cost of a meal in the US is $25, which by the current exchange rate is INR 1900. So, this sums up the amount of money one can save if they just limit their expenses on a couple of things for a year or two. Nobody has ever died by not watching a movie every month. These are just some examples out of many where students can save money. Indians anyway are known for their simple lifestyle, so it’s time to keep this quality intact even while studying abroad. 


    Reducing the Cost of Study Materials

    It is another wise strategy to save a lot of money. Indian students don’t have to spend much on books while they stay here, but once they go abroad, they are startled by the price of books and other resources. However, this is something that can be easily tackled. Students can reach out to seniors for their textbooks, purchase second or third-hand textbooks, and explore free online resources. Another great way to deal with this expense is to take a paid membership of websites offering books for free. Many websites offer students millions of books by taking a minimal amount as membership charge.

    Building an affinity to online sources of learning and developing compatibility with e-books is certainly a big money saver. Often, one can easily get a pdf of a book at a much lower cost than the physical copy. So, this helps students manage their finances today and makes them ready for the real world work culture where they might have to read hundreds of pages while working.  It is essential for those in Law, Liberal arts, Humanities, Public Policy to have an affinity to read on computers and tablets.

    Read Also,

  • list items Education Loan Interest Rate
  • list items Foreign Education Loan for Abroad Studies
  • list items Education Loan Without Collateral For Abroad Studies
  • list items Education Loans with Collateral to Study Abroad


    Is it Worth Studying Abroad For Indian Students?

    The answer is certainly a yes. Recently Parag Aggarwal was named the CEO of Twitter which Indians celebrated. Where did he get his education? After studying in India, he went on to study at Stanford University. The same is the case with Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, Satya Nadela, Microsoft’s Chairman and CEO. The list is endless, and all of them have studied at foreign universities. So, there must be something that is there with the qualitative aspect of the education that one receives while studying abroad. It is certainly a big decision for middle and lower-class families, but the names mentioned above were also from middle-class families.

    They took the risk, and now they are on top of the world. It’s an investment in the future that is poised to give returns. Thinking about abroad education loans as a liability is one of the biggest mistakes in contemporary times. Is there a risk? Indeed, there is, but where isn’t? Everything has its own risk.  The first American to scale Mount Everest, Jim Whittaker, said, “If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space.”

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