Indians students and foreign or International education

Studying in a foreign university was earlier for super rich or many went to do Masters and that too with a scholarship. In India, the number of good quality colleges(IIT, Medical, Arts Colleges) are limited and the competition is fierce. Entrance exams are mandatory, and to be a part of a good college ) you need to secure a good ranking.  Now many children are going for a foreign degree even at the undergraduate level and without a scholarship. USA, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia are some popular destinations to attend university. An overseas education has several distinct advantages, flexibility in the curriculum, state of art research facilities, world-renowned professors, cross-cultural learning. This article looks at the reasons for Indian students going for international education, and looks at the cost and other factors of foreign education in different countries .

According to World Education News and Reviews, an education news portal, the number of Indian students enrolling in seven key foreign destinations has more than doubled from 1.38 lakh to 2.8 lakh in the past decade.

  • Studying in the US went up from 132,888 in 2014-15 to 186,267 in 2016-17.
  • Studying in Australia went up from 60,000 in 2016 to 68,000 Indian students

Why are Parents Looking for International Education?

Tough Entrance in India

IIMs(Indian Institute of Management), IITs(Indian Institute of Technology), and AIIMS(All India Institute of Medical Sciences) are amongst India’s dream schools that lakhs of students contest to get admission in. The rat race to secure admission is intense one needs to ace entrance exams for certain disciplines for e.g. Joint Entrance Exams (JEE mains) for engineering colleges and National Eligibility and Entrance Test(NEET) for medical colleges.

Engineering There are 23 IITs (INDIAN INSTITUTES OF TECHNOLOGY), 31 NITs (NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF TECHNOLOGY), 18 IIITs (INDIAN INSTITUTES OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY), 18 CFTI (CENTRALLY FUNDED TECHNICAL INSTITUTES) and thousands of other colleges . Close to 12 lakh prepare for JEE Advanced, a little over 7000 students are shortlisted for the B.Tech and BE programmes offered by the IITs, acceptance rate of 0.5%.  India has 3225 engineering college only for undergraduate studies with an intake of 15 lakhs of students.

Medical  Over 13 lakh candidates appeared for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).  There are 460 medical colleges in India where qualifications are recognised by the Medical Council of India; these medical schools have a combined capacity to provide medical education for 63,985 students

This is true even for admission in Arts Colleges

With Indian cut off marks skyrocketing – SRCC had a cutoff of 100.25% this year for Economics for non-Eco students As Want admission in DU? Here’s a subject-wise cut-off of top colleges

According to a Press Trust of India report, more than 250,000 students registered for 56,000 seats at 61 colleges for undergraduate courses in DU on its admission portal in 2018. T

SRCC has the highest cutoff for B.Com.(Hons) and B.A.(Hons) Economics at 97.75 per cent and 98.5 per cent respectively. The highest cutoff for B.A.(Hons) English has been released by Hindu College at 98 per cent.

The Hindu analysed last year’s cut-off on the parameters of the CBSE 2017 results and scores of students. In its report, it said that the number of students scoring 90 per cent and above in 2018 is 72,599, which is an increase of about 19,000 from last year.
First Cut off list for Hansraj College: The North campus college has kept the cut off for B.A. (Hons) English at 97.25 while the cut off for B.A.(Hons) Economics is 98 per cent.

High cut-offs cause even the brightest students to give up on their hope to secure admission in course of their choice at a college of their preference. Eventually, students with a strong academic standing and enough budget choose to further their higher education abroad at a university of high repute

More Options of Study

An often raised concern about the Indian education system is that its academic institutes focus only on delivering popular STEM(Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) courses. There is a lack of professional institutes for students who wish to take the road less-travelled. There is a rich variety of courses available to international students in countries like the US, UK, and Canada. Contemporary, unconventional, mixed courses such as entertainment, sports, psychology are offered in international countries. For e.g. a student who wants to study filmmaking in India has fewer film academies or schools to choose from and may end up with just a diploma. Whereas the same student can pursue a fully accredited bachelor’s degree and study filmmaking in greater depth if the course is pursued abroad.  or You can double major in Physics and Music with a minor in European Art.

Better Research Opportunities

Bookish knowledge and rote learning become things of the past. Students pursuing subjects especially in research-centric areas like biology or pharmacy do not receive enough support from Indian colleges in terms of infrastructure and resources. Whereas colleges in America, Canada, Britain etc are abundant with resources to provide students with sophisticated technologies, equipment, and infrastructure to conduct in-depth research. One can attend lectures by Nobel Laureates, industry experts, renowned scholars, academics, political leaders.

Settling after studies

Countries like the US and Canada offer attractive job prospects post-graduation and their flexible immigration policies allow students to seek employment on completion of studies

Global exposure

One truly evolves into a global citizen. The diversity of the students you will encounter and the opportunity to live in another country, which is an education in and of itself. The challenges of each country and the way they can create new educational and professional opportunities are also worth considering.

People feel that overseas the study environment is very conducive for holistic learning as the Equal emphasis is given to academics, extra-curricular activities and work experience at the time of admission.

This has forced many Indians to look overseas.

Which countries are Parents Looking for International Education?

The United Kingdom: The Mecca of foreign education, the UK is home to globally renowned universities. Indian students are studying in a large number here as the UK government and UK universities provide numerous scholarships for Indian students in the UK.

The United States of America: The USA takes pride in its Ivy League colleges. A lot of Indian students are choosing to study in the USA for the excellent research facilities and Master’s degree. Many universities here give internship in USA opportunities to Indian students in top technology companies.

Australia: Many world-ranked universities are here providing amazing academic opportunities to Indian students. Of late, the country has emerged as the top study abroad destination for Indian students.

Canada: A dream destination for Indian students, Canada is home to some of the best universities teaching Arts, IT and Business. Excellent post-study work options are available here along with an internship in Canada chances.

New Zealand: A very beautiful country, New Zealand is also a highly attractive study abroad destination for useful Post Study Work Rights. Data shows, over 28,000 Indian students were enrolled at universities here in 2015 which is a 150 percent increase since 2010. Also, according to the high commission, 28% increase has been recorded in the number of Indian students choosing to study at New Zealand universities in 2017.

Ireland: This neighbouring country of the UK is also selected by a lot of Indian students. In 2016 there were over 2000 Indian students in Ireland, and this number is increasing every year. The country is incredibly beautiful having world-ranked universities.

Singapore: Truly cosmopolitan, Singapore attracts Indian students in large number. About 3,000 Indian students are going there every year as getting a job and work permit is easy here due to low population.

Germany: Yet another favourite destination of Indian students, Germany allotted over 13,500 college seats to Indian students in the year 2016. The number of Indian students here has increased threefold in the past seven years and Indians form the 2nd largest group of international students. No tuition fee is the biggest USP here.

Malaysia: Various scholarships are offered in different fields, like Science and Engineering, Agriculture, Fisheries, Biotechnology, IT, Food Security and Environmental Science.

Dubai: Indian students are also choosing Dubai, especially for civil engineering, as they can work in an internship program with university approval here.

Comparing Countries for International Education for Indian Students

Many counties like Canada, UK have a strategy to attract international students called as National Marketing Strategy. For example the National Marketing Strategy of Canada says it is our blueprint to attract talent and prepare our country for the 21st century. With the support of all the players in the research and education fields—provinces and territories, educational institutions, non-governmental organizations, the private sector—we can make Canada a world leader in international education and ensure our future prosperity

Country Cost

per year

National Marketing Strategy Path to Immigration Work Permits
USA Highest

more than 40 lakh

No No On-campus work for upto 20 hrs/week: 12 month total curricular practical training(CPT) during study

Post-study: 12 months optional practical training(OPT); STEM majors can extend the period to 36 months

Canada High

20 lakh


Int’l Education Strategy


Extra points for immigration applicants with Canadian credentials

Work Permit not required: during study for upto 20 hrs/week

Post-Study work-permit: for upto 3 years

United Kingdom High

25 lakh


Int’l Education: Global Growth Prosperity

No 20 hrs/week: if you are in a degree programme or above at a higher education institution

Post-study work permit: cancelled in April, 2012

Doctorate graduates: get one year extension

Australia Moderate

30 lakh


National Strategy for International Education 2025


Extra points for immigration applicants with Australian credentials

20 hrs/week during the study; unlimited hours during breaks

Graduates with a minimum of 2 years in Australia can get a post-study work visa for 2 years

New Zealand Moderate

20 lakh


Draft Int’l Education Strategy for New Zealand to 2025


Extra points for immigration applicants with New Zealand credentials

20 hrs/week: during study

Post-study: 12 months permit

Germany Low

Rs 5.4 lakh


Strategy DAAD 2020

No 90 days/year: on student visa

18-month visa: extension post-study


Cost of Studying in Countries like USA, UK

One needs to look at Tuition Cost and Cost of Living etc.

If you take the cost of living, comprising accommodation, conveyance, academic supplies, health insurance and entertainment, add another Rs 10 lakh. The cost of living in foreign countries is also significantly higher. For instance, you will need Rs 5.3 lakh in New York or Rs 3.7 lakh in Sydney to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with Rs 1 lakh in New Delhi.

You also need to factor in inflation and rupee depreciation. The rupee has fallen to 74 against the dollar, which is bad news for those planning to study abroad.

Cost of Studying in theUnited States of America  USA

One year’s tuition fee in some Ivy League colleges can be almost Rs 30-35 lakh— almost equal to the total expense incurred on the child’s school education. Even second rung colleges cost the earth. A master’s course from a public US college costs Rs 20 lakh a year.

If you are planning to send your child abroad for studies, keep a target of at least Rs 50 lakh per year for a three-year course. Factor in 8% inflation to calculate the future cost. In 10 years, the present cost of Rs 50 lakh for a three-year course would have risen to Rs 1.07 crore. An eight figure amount may seem daunting right now, but it is achievable if you have enough time and discipline. Depending on your risk appetite and existing savings, find out how much you need to save every month to reach that goal comfortably

Cost of Ivy League Colleges in $ in USA

Cost of studying in Ivy League Colleges in the USA as per Ref are
Name of University Annual cost Without Aid SAT/ACT score
University of Pennsylvania $73,400 1480/34
Yale University $73,000 1510/34
Harvard University $71,300 1520/34
Stanford University $70,800 1480/33
California Institute of Technology $70,600 1560/35
Massachusetts Institute of Technology $69,000 1530/34
Vanderbilt University $69,000 1510/34
Princeton University $67,700 1500/34

Tuition Fees 
Varies drastically across public and private colleges. Rs 25–30 lakh in a private college, Rs 15–23 lakh in a public college

Cost of living
Average cost of living is Rs 75,000 a month. Living on the east coast is cheaper than on the west coast.

Cost of studying in Australia

Tuition Fees
Rs 10-16 lakh for an undergraduate course
Rs 12–18 lakh for a postgraduate course

Cost of living
Prescribed cost as per visa requirement is Rs 86,000 a month. Varies across cities. For example, the difference in living cost between Sydney and Canberra is around Rs 17,000 per month
Total annual cost: Rs 25 lakh
Tuition Fees: Rs 15 lakh
Cost of Living: Rs 10 lakh
Cost of studying in United Kingdom
Tuition Fees
Fees ranges from Rs 8 lakh to Rs 18 lakh.Cost of Living
Prescribed cost as per visa requirement is Rs 1.1 lakh a month for London and Rs 91,000 a month outside London.Total annual cost: Rs 25 lakh
Tuition fees: Rs 13 lakh
Cost of living: Rs 12 lakh

Cost of Studying in Germany

Tuition Fees
No fees in public universities. Some universities charge a nominal social contribution fee of about Rs 40,000 per year.

Cost of living
Rs 54,000 a month in big cities like Munich and Berlin. It can come down to Rs 42,000 if you live in college dorms instead of private accommodation. In smaller cities like Freiburg, Leipzig and Hannover, living cost is about Rs 42,000 a month.
Total annual cost: Rs 5.4 lakh
Tuition fees: Rs 40,000
Cost of living: Rs 5 lakh

Cost of studying in Canada

Tuition fees
Rs 10-15 lakh for an undergraduate course
Rs 8-20 lakh for a postgraduate course

Cost of living
The prescribed living expense as per the visa requirement is Rs 57,000 per month.Total annual cost: Rs 19.8 lakh
Tuition fees: Rs 13 lakh
Cost of living: Rs 6.8 lakh

Cost of studying in Singapore

Tuition fees
Rs 5–13 lakh for an undergraduate course
Rs 10–25 lakh for a postgraduate course

Cost of living
Living expense for a student is upto Rs 50,000 per month.Total annual cost: Rs 18 lakh
Tuition fees: Rs 12 lakh
Cost of living: Rs 6 lakh

real fears about not being able to find food suitable to Indian eating habits or a frugal minded aversion for paying high prices abroad for cheap Indian staples.

Mahatma Gandhi understood this, and perhaps his first attempt at writing a book was a Guide to London that he wrote, off and on in 1893-94, during free time in his early years as a lawyer in Pretoria, South Africa. The book was never finished, but the manuscript was retrieved years later by his secretary Pyarelal, and it provides a fascinating early glimpse of the preoccupations of Indian students abroad.

The advice he proceeds to give might be a template for what so many students after him have heard: live simply; make friends but don’t feel the need to adopt expensive foreign habits; learn how to cook, and so on.

Gandhi gives a lot of specific advice, like on the size of trunks to take and how much to pay for them. He gives detailed lists of clothes, toiletries and stationery to pack in them. And some of his advice might still make sense. Just get one good jacket, he advises, and not a full dress suit: “I bought it myself and am very sorry for it. I wore it but three or four times. I consider that to be the most foolish expense I incurred in England.”

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