Studying abroad has become costlier amid a sharp fall in rupee. The cost for studying in the US has gone up by Rs1.5 to 2 lakh per year.
The increase in tuition fees in the US, the UK and Australia by 10% to 20% is another reason behind the costlier education abroad. Also, the airfares have increased in recent times, which has added burden on students studying abroad.
Adding to the woes, the visas of lakhs of Indian students have not been approved in countries like the US, the UK, Canada and Australia.
There are long delays in getting student visas while, at the same time, those students, whose visas have been approved, are facing inflation due to rupee depreciation.
Indian students abroad are also facing problems in finding accommodation due to the increase in the prices of hostels and homestays.
Germany seems to be reaping the benefits due to this delay in the approval of student visas by other countries.
According to a recent report by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the number of Indian students studying in Germany increased from 17,570 in 2017 to 34,134 in 2021.
Actually, education is subsidised by the German government. All international students studying in State-funded universities in Germany do not have to pay tuition fees. This is one of the biggest benefits for the international students in Germany and a major relief for Indian students amid the costlier education in other popular countries.
Although various courses are available at low cost to Indian students in countries like Germany, the students do not change their preferences easily.
Sumeet Jain, co-founder, Yocket, a community-based platform for overseas studies, said, "Due to the rupee depreciation, the average additional cost to study in the US has gone up by Rs 1.5 to 2 lakh per year. Despite this, the students do not make decisions without comprehensively evaluating various aspects."
Some students, who want to pursue post research, for them there is no point in moving to other countries. While many students keep their options open.
Students prefer the US for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) courses while for non-STEM courses they opt for the UK and Australia.
Experts believe that the continued delays in visas have jeopardised the competitiveness of popular places of study. While earlier countries like the US, the UK, Australia and Canada were the first choice of the students, now Germany, Spain, France, Portugal and the UAE have emerged as the preferential places to study abroad.
Significantly, the COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be a major obstacle for students who wish to pursue higher education abroad. In the US and some European countries, students are getting a waiting period of one to two years for visas. This simply means that an Indian student enrolling in a US university will be able to get a US visa after one or two years.
According to industry experts, the number of Indian students moving to countries such as the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand stood at around 1mn (million) in early-2022, almost double the levels before the pandemic.
Similarly, the number of visa applications has increased much more than before, due to which now there is a delay in the visa approval.
S Ghosh, a student from Kolkata, said it is taking around 440 days to get a visa.
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