Student loans, How small-town India can pursue foreign education dreams

According to education consultants and financing companies, there has been a rise of interest from students who live in Tier 2 or 3 cities. Students believe that foreign degrees will prove to be a benefit in the future.

New Delhi:Amit Agrawal, Ajmer, and Sulagna Bhattacharyya, Barrackpore are two examples of the growing number of students from Tier 2/3 cities who are making an effort to get foreign degrees.

People in smaller towns and cities are now chasing global exposure after being once associated with those from metropolitan areas and well-to-do families.

Educational consultants and student finance companies are proud to say that there is a growing number of college and university students who are aware of the best courses for them. These youths have found that the diversification of education options to “affordable” countries like Spain, Italy, and France has helped them achieve their dreams.

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Amit, 21 years old, graduated from Ajmer College and is currently filling out applications for universities in the UK, USA, and Germany.

He comes from a middle-class family and is now banking on scholarships and self-funding options for his education. “I’m the first person in my family to consider studying abroad. He says that he used to think that foreign education was too expensive. But, he now has an idea of the benefits that foreign education offers and has access to financing options.

According to the Ajmer youth, his family will lend a loan to help him pay for his education if he is admitted to a top university.

Ditto for Sulagna Bhattacharyya. Because she believes that there are few opportunities for growth in her role as a software engineer, the B.Tech holder is now applying to courses in sustainability consulting in France.

France is a country that offers me the option of working-study programmes where my employer will pay a portion of my education. The variety and breadth of courses is greater than in India. She says that this arrangement is a good one for her since she will be able fund her own education.”

As a backup, the 24-year-old applied for UK universities. She says that while education in the UK can be expensive and may require a loan to pay, it will provide better opportunities for employment.

The Ministry of External Affairs reports that 1,33,135 students emigrated to other countries for higher education during the first three months of the year. This figure stood at 4,44,553 in 2021.

Aspirations of the middle-class and growth in funding options

An overseas study platform and student financing company shared numbers that show how eager students from the hinterland to go abroad for higher education.

LeapScholar, an overseas study platform, released Tuesday a report showing that 57% of Indian middle-class families earning between Rs 3-10 lakh and above were more inclined to invest in overseas education. They cite the promise of a better education and lifestyle, greater career opportunities and higher salaries.

This online survey, which included 649 respondents from all over the country, was conducted between July and August 2012. The survey found that 83% of students believe that an international degree will increase their chances of getting better jobs and give them an advantage over peers in the talent pool.

Vaibhav Sing, founder of LeapScholar said that the Indian overseas education market will grow multi-fold due to the rising aspirations of the student community. By 2025, over 2 million Indian students will be flying out and spending more than $100 billion on international education.

These aspirations are reflected by the expansion of student finance.

Prodigy Finance, a student financing company, claims it has seen a 135 percent increase in Indian disbursements between 2022 and 2023. Mayank Sharma, global partnerships head at Prodigy Finance, attributes this to the increased interest from students in small towns over the past year and the goodwill that they have shown towards the company.

Prodigy Finance recorded a staggering 689 percent growth in Tirupati and 332 Percent growth in Vijayawada. 337 Percent growth was also seen in Guntur. 337 Percent growth was observed in Guntur. Newsexposer. has received the data.

GyanDhan, a student finance firm based in Delhi, also saw significant growth after the pandemic of applications from small cities and towns. 53% of applications were from Tier 2 and 3, up from 37% in the previous financial year.

University Living, an accommodation platform for students that connects them with rooms and hostels in Australia, Canada, Ireland, and the USA, has also seen a similar trend. Mayank Maheshwari (the founder of University Living) said that in 2022, 69% of traffic to University Living was from Tier 2/3 cities, as opposed to 48% in 2021.

France and Italy are among the new options

The top three destinations for Indian students are still the USA, Canada, and Australia. However, France, Spain, and Italy are now on the list.

Earlier this month, Catherine Colonna, French Foreign Minister, had stated that India hoped to have 20,000 students by 2025. She said that the country was starting with 5,000 students.

Students faced language barriers when trying to travel to other non-native English speaking nations like Spain, Italy, and France. These options have gradually gained popularity with parents and students over the last year. University Living discovered that 5.67% of Indian students who have traveled abroad in the last year went to France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, and the UAE.

According to LeapScholar’s report, students are diversifying their country options by ignoring language barriers.

Shrilekha, a Mumbai-based entrepreneur, will fly to Italy with her daughter to study at a design school. She believes that India’s higher education options are so limited that it is possible to find better education abroad. Her daughter will have much more with a foreign degree, she says.

It will cost about Rs 7-8 lakh per annum to attend good colleges in Italy, including accommodation and education. My daughter will gain exposure to other countries while enrolled in private universities in India. Shrilekha states that she will learn a new language, and make global connections.

The UK has seen a resurgence in popularity after the pandemic. According to industry watchers, the UK has become a popular destination for higher education because of its relaxed visa policies and more options for students to work and stay in the country.

“Education remains one of the keystones of the living link between India and the UK. The UK is a leader in education. One of the most important groups of international students is made up of Indian students. The number of visas granted to Indian students in the UK has doubled in the past year. Nearly 18,000 visas for Indian students were issued in the year ended June 2022. This is an increase from the 56,000 issued in the previous year,” a spokesperson for the British High Commission told Newsexposer.

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