What am I doing here? | india | Hindustan Times
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What am I doing here?

Why is it that international students are made scapegoats by the institutions to recover their costs and expenses? What special services do international students receive to make them pay so heavily? Is there any hope in revising these fee structures or do we have to accept it like it's a universal fact which cannot be argued and changed? In our series From the Varsity, Abhay asks why institutions pick on int'l students to recover costs.

india Updated: Jan 09, 2004 13:27 IST

Standing at the heart of London's famous Oxford Street I look up at the sky and wonder, "What am I doing here?" I get no answer. That's when I realise that I have a lot of questions to which I have no answers. I am supposedly in the UK and I am here to do my 'masters' degree. Now that answers one of my many questions. Further I think, 'What does it take for a student staying in India to come to the UK for further education?'

Most of the students who come here either are very rich and have parents who can afford their education or those who take loans and are sure about repaying it back as they know they are intelligent enough to do so. An undergraduate degree here, which lasts for three years, demands an international student fee of £7,000 on an average per year. This means £21,000 in three years for a degree from a good university in Britain for any international student. But what we fail to see is that a home student or any one from the European Union (EU) pays a fee of £1,100 on average per year.

That amounts to them paying £3,500 for their degree, as compared to a whopping £21,000 for an international student.

A postgraduate degree also costs £7,000 on an average for the year. As we know a masters degree in UK is just for a year. However, yet again a home student pays about £1,000 only.

There is no doubt about the fact that being home students you are entitled to subsidiary in the tuition fees. This is your right and should be respected by everyone. But which 'right' is right if it's unfair and unjust. Just because of the fact that they are citizens and get the right of subsidy does not mean that they pay a seventh of the tuition fee paid by an international student. If you are an international student your parents earn in a different currency which is generally low against the UK sterling pound, which, as we all know is one of the strongest currencies in the world.

If you had problems just to fund your tuition fees which is exorbitant, then your worries don't end here. We have not even taken into consideration the living costs and expenses for a student which ranges from accommodation fee, food and clothing, books and stationary to travelling and leisure. On an average a normal international student would easily spend about £6,000 per year on all the above mentioned needs. Along with the already exorbitant fee, it adds up to £13,000 per year for an international student to study and live in this country. Normally a home student would pay £1,500 as he has the benefit on minimizing his living expenses by staying with his parents.

We can see this injustice shown by the institutions towards the international students. Why is it that international students are made scapegoats by the institutions to recover their costs and expenses? What special services do international students receive to make them pay so heavily? Is there any hope in revising these fee structures or do we have to accept it like it's a universal fact which cannot be argued and changed?

Maybe, you have the answers. All I have is questions.

(The writer is student at the University of Essex)