As the Indian rupee continues drastically falling down against the British pound and US dollar, there are more and more concerns about Indian students being able to pay their student loans and actually coming to study overseas.
According to the currency website XE.com from mid-May to 10 September, the rupee’s value declined 17.4% against the British pound, 14.5% against the US dollar, compared to only 10% against the Australian dollar.
The effect of the rupee’s fall on international education markets has the potential to be massive due to the fact that roughly 800,000 Indian students go overseas to study each year and the number of Indian students studying abroad rose a stunning 256% from 2000–2009. Besides, India’s population of more than 1.2 billion people (over 17% of the global total) makes it the second-most populous country on earth after China; forecasts predict that India will overtake China by 2028. India accounted for 11% of all global graduates in 2010 and is expected to overtake the US and produce 12% of the share of graduates by the end of this decade.
The most popular student destination countries - the US and the UK – turned out to be most concerned with this issue. Indian students make up such a large proportion of the overall base of foreign students in the US and the UK that a significant drop in their numbers now would be a large blow to the international education sectors in these countries in general.
Still despite the unsettling situation with Indian currency some US-based organisations claimed increases in Indian applications over 2012. On the other hand other sources claim that there has been a significant drop in applications from Indian students. This is due to their disability to pay their student’s loans.
Some reports say that the banks are considering extending the period during which students can repay the loans to “spread interest payments over a longer period and reduce the cost.” However whether this development will transpire or not is still unclear.
The forthcoming national election in India may bring new policies that will ease the current economic crisis and give some hope to next year students. The prospective students and their parents may benefit from the rupee’s eventual rebound. If it doesn’t recover, they will have more opportunity than 2013’s Indian students to adjust to the situation. Thus thay may decide not to pursue education abroad; change their study abroad destination country (for example, Australia’s currency hasn’t appreciated as drastically relative to the rupee as those in the US and UK so has become more affordable as a result); prioritise education institutions that respond to the rupee crisis with grants and scholarships – or at least more flexible payment plans; prioritise destination countries with more open work and immigration policies, so that they may pay back their loans.
The above-mentioned options also may be considered excellent opportunities for various educational establishments, associations or agents to guide Indian students towards affordable, quality options for an education abroad.
It is still considered that in the long run Indian students’ demand for education is not going to decrease and they will still form a large amount of international students at overseas universities, the main question now is where they will get this education as it seems over the next few months we international HE institutions will be have to fight hard to receive the most Indian students.
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