Thursday, April 05, 2012

Pay more for degrees in UK, New Zealand

If a falling rupee wasn’t problem enough for your foreign education plan, get ready to shell out more for that coveted degree. Some foreign countries have increased the fund requirement for meeting living costs. New Zealand and Britain have done so by 50 and 25 per cent, respectively. If you plan to go to the former, you need to have access to $15,000 per annum to cover living costs, against the existing $10,000 per annum. In Britain, effective this week, international students will have to show they’d be able to fulfill a fund requirement of £1,000 per month, against the existing £800 per month, up to a maximum of nine months, in inner London. Having the requisite funds is a key requirement to be eligible for a student visa to the UK.

According to education consultants, these changes may lead to a minor dip in student traffic to New Zealand and the UK. "Changes in the living cost requirement will ensure more genuine students go to these nations. While the student traffic to Australia, UK and New Zealand have been showing a decline, Canada has gained. Canada is a popular destination: if a diploma course in Canada costs $800-10,000, a regular degree in other countries will cost around $20,000," said Naresh Gulati, Chief Executive Officer, Oceanic Consultants, which advises on education abroad. Though, from last month, Canada has increased the student visa charge from Rs. 5,750 to Rs. 6,125.

Students have to also, in general, meet requirements on English-language proficiency and financial capacity and will have to satisfy the genuine temporary entrant requirement. And, all applicants would still be subject to basic requirements, such as health insurance and not being a security or health risk. The department reserves the right to look more closely at applications posing any particular concern.

Mansoor Amin, Director of Chennai-based Linking Overseas, a foreign education consultancy, said Britain had seen a huge dip in numbers due to stringent post-study work/visa options and its poor economic situation. Similarly, Australia, which used to be the third most preferred destination for Indian students, has been hit hard. It has, however, streamlined its visa rules since March 24. Under the new rules, students will not have the same documentary burden to fulfill while applying.

Overall, though, student loans for education abroad have been on a rise. Prashant Bhonsle, Country Head, Credila Financial Services, said, “We have not seen any impact on students applying for loans to go abroad. In fact, it has risen by one and a half to two times over last year. Canada has been a popular destination because of the low fee, stringent visa rules in nations like UK and a policy of giving job opportunities for students post the degree." He said New Zealand would not see much impact over the new visa norms, as the number going there for higher education has anyway been low.

M. Narendra, Chairman and Managing Director, Indian Overseas Bank, said, “Banks have a fairly good loan structure for students going abroad, where up to Rs. 40,00,000 of education loan can be taken. Banks also have a system of top-up loans to cover additional requirements when situations like these arise. So, students would not have a problem in getting access to more funds.”

Industry estimates suggest the number of Indian students to Britain has gone down by 50 per cent in two years, while that to Australia saw a 60-70 per cent dip per annum over the past two-three years. Which is why, said Amin, the Australian High Commission has floated an idea of allowing students a free three-year, post-study work visa, on completion of a minimum of two years of study.

A consultant, who heads a Delhi based foreign education consultancy said the increase elsewhere in the living fund requirement would mean increased opportunities for market leaders like the US and Canada to attract student traffic. “The US, which has always been a favourite destination with Indian students, stands to gain the most from these regulations. Students may also explore options such as Australia, which has introduced new visa regulations to make the application process simpler for students," said the head of the firm.

Source: Business Standard, April 5, 2012

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive