Despite global economic uncertainty, Indian students hoping to study abroad have more options when applying for different scholarships this year.
Various scholarships are open for applications at the moment, most of them for masters programmes at universities abroad.
The British Council, which handles some scholarships for UK university aspirants, is in the process of launching a new scholarship, but details are yet to be finalised. The British Council handles the Commonwealth and Chevening scholarships, among others.
“We have managed to give the same level of funding or more, and local partners have also come in to help us,” said a British Council official. “Education is very expensive. We are trying to encourage more students to avail of funding.”
In 2011, there were around 39,000 students enrolled at British universities and around 1.03 lakh students enrolled at US universities, two big destinations for post-graduate studies for Indian students.
The HSBC-Chevening scholarship, previously the HSBC scholarship, awarded two full scholarships until 2009. From 2010, they began awarding three scholars.
The Goa Education Trust scholarship for students of Goan domicile or parentage seeking to study in the UK opened in 2010.
Testing organisations, such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the International English Language Test System (IELTS) have also been offerring scholarships since 2010. The TOEFL has, this year, increased the total funding amount by $ 10,000 and plans to award 10 instead of nine Indian scholars.
The Fulbright scholarship programme for studying in the US has doubled since 2009, thanks to a large part of the funding coming in from the Indian government, said the programme coordinator.
Nearly 120 to 140 scholars receive Fulbrights every year for masters programmes, doctoral and post-doctoral work, a number that has doubled since 2008-09, the year of the recession.
The Inlaks Foundation continues to fund 10 to 15 students for masters programmes at reputable universities abroad every year and the fluctuating dollar rate hasn’t affected the funding amount of those pursuing US-based degrees.
“We have been able to keep up, and continue to cover the cost for all our scholars,” said Amita Malkani, administrator of the Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation.
“The Foundation also offers the Ravi Sankaran Inlaks Fellowship for a masters in field biology, ecology and conservation that was instituted three years ago and has seen a lot of interest,” said Malkani.
All of these scholarships vary in amounts offered, requirements and eligibility criteria.