By Pramod Thomas/ New Indian Express
Even though it is expensive to study overseas, Indian students seem to increasingly prefer it. Every year, around three thousand students, in the age group of 18 to 25 years fly abroad to pursue their studies and the number is growing at 25 to 30 per cent annually.
According to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data, money spent for studies abroad under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme in 2015-16 was Rs 8,160 crore. In May this year, Indian students have spent Rs 615 crore to study abroad. The amount spent in May 2015 was just Rs 85 crore. According to experts, more students are applying for post-graduation courses that last for six months to a year, after taking a break from routine jobs in an effort to add value to their job profile. The average money spent by Indian students to study overseas is $20,000 to 40,000 per year, varying from country to country.
“The overseas study market is growing at a steady pace. A desire to educate themselves at prestigious universities overseas act as a trigger for Indian students. Those who travel for post graduate degrees prefer countries where they can gain work experience before returning to India — the reason why the US and Australia are preferred,” said Karan Anand, Head, Relationships, Cox and Kings Limited, adding that the segment is growing at approximately 25 per cent year on year.
Experts also point out that there has been a significant number of students travelling overseas in last two years. Reasons: rising middle class income, parents who want their children to study abroad for better job prospects and access to high ranked universities.
“Generally students take education loans, loan against property (by parents) and savings to fund overseas education. Now more and more colleges offer student exchange programmes. Parents now look at this option since seeking admission through this route reduces cost by 35-40 per cent,” points out V George Antony, Managing Director, UAE Exchange India.
According to Neelu Singh, CEO and Director, Ezeego1, an online travel agency, international institutions and universities are competing to attract Indian students by creating a scholarship easy visa environment.
“Many international universities have tied up with local travel operators to offer educational study tours to potential Indian students to give first-hand information on their programs, campuses, career prospects etc. Though the US, UK and Australia remain the most popular study destinations, countries like Russia, Germany, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Switzerland and France are attracting students with affordable fees, scholarships, easy working visa policies and job opportunities,” she points out.
There has also been a significant rise in students exploring fashion, humanities, social sciences, Fine arts, Culinary arts in the overseas study market. Richard Everrit, Director-Education, British Council India foresees only growth “with increased exchange of individuals and resources”
“UK attracts more overseas students than any other country except the US (4.93 lakh from over 200 countries, including around 21,000 from India. Top subjects preferred by Indian students are Business and Management, IT and Engineering, Law, Art & Design and Humanities,” he added.