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Falling rupee takes many dreams with it

With the devaluation of the rupee against the dollar,students are rethinking their study abroad plans

education Updated: Nov 30, 2011 10:37 IST

Vineel Shah, 25, has started applying to various US universities for an MBA programme for 2012. However, the exchange rate falling to Rs 52 against the dollar could force him to shelve his plans until the currency stabilises at a more favourable rate. “The overall cost will go up by 10% to 12%, which can mean several lakhs more,” says the client servicing professional. “I’m very confused at this point, and I’m reconsidering applying for the 2012 intake for financial reasons.”

“Education in the US has become more expensive for Indian students as the devaluation has brought with it a cost escalation of almost 10%-15%,” says Ranjan Pal, president, Princeton University’s alumni club of India. “The option of going to the US has now become less attractive than before, because of the increase in cost of living, tuition fees and a volatile job market.”

Parents whose children leave for international universities next fall are worried too. “Our major concern right now is getting enough funds for the tuition fee, and especially enough liquid assets for my son's first year of education,” says a parent who requested anonymity. “Some of my stock will have to be sold, and I will also have to shell out more premium and money on the savings plan that I had started a few years ago.”

“Keeping in mind the rising costs, we are looking at universities that are relatively less expensive, but at the same time don’t compromise on the quality of education,” says Dhiraj Gala, a businessman whose daughter is applying to the US. “We are also prepared to reconsider our options over the next two or three months, after taking stock of the economic situation at that time.”

Experts advise that you keep a buffer of 20% when collecting funds to avoid disappointment later.

Scholarships
USA
* Fulbright scholarship
* Partnership for learning undergraduate studies (PLUS) programme
* International fellowship programme (IFP)
* The Hubert H Humphrey fellowship programme
* Dumberton Oaks Trustees for Harvard University

UK
* www.britishcouncil.org/india
* www.inlakesfoundation.org
* www.niss.ac.uk/adminother-funding.html
* www.rhodesscholar.org
* www.scholarship-search.org.uk
* www.shell.com/scholarships
* www.univerisitiesuk.ac.uk
* www.acu.ac.uk/scholarships

How to manage the monies
Here are the options you can consider if the exchange rate volatility continues next year:
* Network with seniors about on-campus jobs at the university
* Try to take extra credit courses per semester if you can manage the load, and graduate in a shorter period to cut down on costs
* Consider twinning programmes, offered by several Indian colleges, where you study part of the programme in India and the remaining part abroad
* Evaluate your shortlist of universities, and apply to less expensive ones that don't compromise on quality