the US: The financial dilemma
universities in the United States are more than happy to welcome
foreign students who can pay full fees and fill their coffers.
It is only the INS which has become very wary, writes Mohan
the time of the year when students around the world graduate, and after
celebrating their much-earned successes, start working towards their dreams
and ambitions. For many Indian students, the dream is to move to the US to
study. This year, apart from the usual anxiety over preparing for education
in a far-away land, prospective students are bracing themselves for
protracted paperwork at American embassies. Contr-ary to popular myth, US
universities have no qualms about attracting and admitting foreign students.
On the contrary, they bend over backwards to attract foreigners who pay full
fees and tuition, lining their coffers. It is the INS (Immigration and
Naturalisation Services) that has become wary of admitting foreign students
without thorough scrutiny. But that is not the topic for this column.
Financing is the key to a foreign education and that is the topic.
average Indian family, sending a son or daughter to the US for higher
education can be an expensive proposition. Right from arranging dollars for
taking GRE, GMAT and TOEFL, to sending applications to American
universities, the expenses when converted to Indian rupees can add up pretty
In the recent
past, a number of readers based in India have been writing to me asking
about education and courses in the US. Some of them have explicitly
mentioned details they received from various universities and educational
institutions in the US, regarding financing for courses and education.
whom foreign exchange is really precious, need to do some serious math
before even thinking of taking on thousands of dollars in “financial aid” or
loans, especially since the tuition, travel and stay can add up to tens of
thousands of dollars. Education in the US, even with a loan is an expensive
proposition and the ROI (Return on Investment) may sometimes not justify the
expenses, especially in the current economic climate. For instance, an MS or
an MBA from a third (or fourth-tier) university in the US may help you land
“a” job in America but not “the” job. The question one should ask is, “How
many years do you think it will take to repay tens of thousands of dollars
in loans?” Students and their parents need to be really pragmatic about the
financial aspects of higher education and take a holistic view of the entire
speaking, except for the most talented, scholarships or grants are extremely
hard to come by and one should not be lured by hopes of easy money or
“financial aid”. Having said that, however, a world-class education in a top
university can be a passport to future growth and earnings, one that will
remain with you for the rest of your life.