Here is the transcript if you would like to read it instead:
Jaya: Welcome back to our monthly podcast – The spirit of Kairos is to talk about doing the right thing at the right time for personal finance. We have Srimathi here joining us on our episode today! Hi Srimathi.
Srimathi: Hi Jaya, thanks for inviting me to the podcast today!
Jaya: It’s my pleasure. Today I wanted to speak with you about planning for education overseas. Many students in India or abroad nurture a dream of studying overseas. We had put up a Karios Poll last week- What is the main reason for students to pursue graduation aboard?
We received a great response. 40% of the people who voted felt better curriculum, opportunities & job are the primary reasons to study aboard.
However, studying abroad comes with its own sets of challenges. Given the rising inflation and educational expenses, it becomes difficult to meet the financial requirement via savings alone. What are your thoughts on this, Srimathi?
Srimathi: Definitely Jaya! A savings approach alone may not be sufficient to anticipate unforeseen costs. Moreover, the rising cost of living and the desire to pursue education from top-tier universities have further added to overall academic expenses.
Jaya: So how should one plan for an educational goal?
Srimathi: A lot of planning and preparation goes into it before the application process. Depending on your stream, country, program, and program duration, the cost of higher education is determined. As you told me, studying abroad comes with its own sets of challenges. The biggest being the financial one. The cost of overseas education is high for most streams compared to costs in India. However, your dream of studying abroad can turn into a reality if you plan it well. Hence, good planning is a must to ensure that sufficient funds are at your disposal whenever you need them.
Jaya: That sounds right! So how should one estimate the cost of their study programme? Is there any specific way to estimate it?
Srimathi: There are no specific steps to do, but one needs to consider various elements while planning for it. So, The cost of the program you want to pursue is based on several factors including:
- tuition fee,
- living costs (food, on/off campus accommodation, utilities, petty cash).
The expenditure should also consider:
- the cost of books,
- health insurance,
- airline expenses,
- visa application,
- health check-ups,
- university applications, and
- other miscellaneous expenses that could be endured during the entire tenure abroad.
One can also choose to hire a consultant for the preparation of the application, whose cost also needs to be included in the budget.
Jaya: That’s pretty much a list of things one has to think about. How to plan for funding the education?
Srimathi: One way to define ‘budget’ is the total money you are ready to spend from your savings, plus the amount of external funding you can get. External funding depends upon a variety of academic and financial factors. Another way is by getting an education loan. it is one of the simplest and most convenient ways to fund your foreign education expenses.
Jaya: What about scholarships?
Srimathi: That’s an interesting question. Most universities have scholarship programmes. They could apply for university-specific scholarships. Also, there are various types of scholarships available. The student needs to search for the one suitable for him/her.
Jaya: can you provide more input regarding this?
Srimathi: Definitely, an important thing to keep in mind is that the scholarships are competitive and require a strong CV as support. The student needs to prepare in advance to make a strong resume by gaining some industrial experience or having done a few summer internships also helps. An applicant could also approach the student help centre in the desired university to get information about the scholarships offered by the university for international students.
Jaya: Coming to inflation effect while planning for overseas education, how to factor these?
Srimathi: If we are just talking with the perspective of inflations – let’s assume it’s the same 10% going forward:
If the cost of engineering education in India today some premier institutes cost 10 Lakh – The education cost in India after 15 years would be 40 to 50 Lakh.
If medical education costs today Rs 25 lakh in a private college – you can safely assume you have to build 1 crore corpus in 15 years.
The average cost of attending a four-year college or university in the United States rose by 497% (cumulatively) between the 1985-86 and 2017-18 academic years which is more than twice the rate of annual inflation in the same period. The scenario is not very different for other popular overseas study destinations like the UK, Canada, and Australia.
Jaya: Looks like inflation does play a major role. In our another Kairos poll- 100% of the people who voted agreed that currency inflation, education inflation & increasing living expenses impact education cost. I wanted to ask you- are there any other additional costs one should consider apart from the fees for studying abroad?
Srimathi: Other additional costs you will need to consider in your budget include your study visa and application fees, university administration fees, student application fees, compulsory fees for services, processing fees as well as insurance to use the on-campus medical facilities for general check-ups, basic testing and prescriptions for common illnesses.
Jaya: What is your opinion on insurance & other needs?
Srimathi: There are no specific insurance requirements set out for international students. However, in most cases, the specific institution will determine the base level of coverage. If it’s not determined, it’s advisable to take student travel insurance which will take care of the hospitalisation costs in the foreign country. Even in our Kairos POLL, 88% of the audience agreed that insurance is necessary to study abroad.
Jaya: That’s nice- I think we have covered various things to be considered before planning one’s education aboard.
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