Recession, rupee woes fail to deter Gujarati students going abroad

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The trend of Gujarati students going abroad for education has remained “very consistent” over the years and has, in fact, increased in 2013 by nearly 40% as compared to last year even when the rupee is depreciating.

Recession seems to have left these students unaffected. The rupee depreciation has not had any impact on students going abroad especially from Gujarat, according to experts.

About 40-50% of total queries and applicants are from Gujarat, Sunitha Perumal, Admissions Manager, Education First International Academy, Bangalore, told Business Line here.

Australia being the “most expensive” study destination, the focus is shifting towards US and UK, she said, quoting from an HSBC August 2013 report.

On an average, consultancy firms are getting around 5,000 enquiries in a year from Gujarat, she said. Most students grab the opportunity provided by scholarships, grants and fee waivers that cut down their tuition fees and living expenses to a larger extent.

According to an IIM-Bangalore study, 2012, the USA still attracts more than half of all Indian students going abroad to study, but it saw its share of students from this country drop from 73.4% in 2000 to 53.6% in 2009. The UK overtook Australia in 2009 as the second-most important destination, attracting 17% of all Indian students studying abroad in 2009.

But the UK’s “exorbitant” financial demands on Indian students could wean away these students. Germany and France, like the US, have lost some share of Indians since 2000, but they are expected to gain if the UK loses them.

Most of the Indian student’s preferred fields are business or STEM-related (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Many of them are even taking on heavy financial burdens and debt to do so.

According to an Assocham Report of June 2013, students proposing to go abroad for higher studies may become victims of the weakening rupee. If the dollar remains around Rs 60, the impact in the overall expenditure could be 15 to 20%, said D S Rawat, Secretary-General, Assocham.

About one lakh Indian students go to the USA each year, followed by the UK (55,000 in 2012), Australia and South-East Asia.

Students planning for next year’s admission will also have to pay more for TOEFL, GRE and GMAT application forms, apart from the admission forms of foreign universities.

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