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HindustanTimes Sat,29 Nov 2014

Weakened rupee deters many from studying abroad

Shaswati Das, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, June 20, 2013
First Published: 22:46 IST(20/6/2013) | Last Updated: 02:15 IST(21/6/2013)

Mohit Khurana’s dreams of graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in the US may have to be put in cold storage for a while. Khurana, who was all set to pay $36,000 to the varsity, is reconsidering his plans, thanks to the steadily depreciating rupee.

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The rupee weakened further on Thursday and hit Rs. 59.74 against the dollar.

Students who had applied to US universities are required to pay their fees in Dollars, failing which, their visa applications are not processed.

The weakening of the rupee means the students will now have to pay more for the same amount of fee in dollars. The rupee depreciation has escalated this cost by several lakhs.

“I have to pay the university $36,000. I have taken a student loan for 50% of my total course fees. But the remaining 50%, which I have to pay for myself, will become a huge strain on my family’s finances,” said Khurana. 

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And, there is no certainty of securing jobs despite an education abroad. Added to this is the fact that most students who pursue undergraduate and graduate studies in the US are not permitted to undertake paid internships in their first year of study.

“I need to do a lot of rethinking as I can’t do any paid internships in my first year. I don’t even know if I will find a job after two years and pay off my loan. Taking a loan at this juncture is a big gamble as I have to cough up nearly Rs. 8 lakh more on tuition and housing expenses,” said Ishani Mehta, who got through George Washington University.

But banks said that students still have a reason to feel hopeful. While borrowing the entire loan amount at the current exchange rate may be a mistake, students have the option of borrowing a part of the money now and the rest when the exchange rate stabilises.

“If a student wants a lump-sum loan, then we charge them as per the current exchange rate. But most banks give them the option of taking a small fraction of their loan now at the ongoing exchange rate and borrow the rest of the money later,” said a senior official at a private bank.


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