Studying overseas can be one of the wisest and rewarding decisions that a student can make. You get an opportunity to get immersed in a diversified culture. Your mind will open to newer possibilities.
All this in addition to holistic personal development and receiving an excellent education.
But how to get money to study abroad? Well, don’t get perplexed with this. Many choose a personal loan for education expense, many get scholarships. That’s why I thought of writing this article regarding the sources of funding to study abroad.
5 Ways to Fund Your Study Abroad Program
1. Merit-Based Scholarships
Merit-based scholarships are awarded to students based on different criteria. Some of these criteria include:
- Academic excellence
- Achievements of the applicants
- Career aspirations
- Affiliations with important groups
You can apply for a study abroad scholarship through various platforms. Some include universities, state or federal government, local businesses, large corporations or professional organizations.
Each scholarship has its own eligibility criteria that the applicant must meet. Most governments, schools, universities and external organizations list their scholarship programs online. The listings usually have details of how to apply and what supporting documents you need to provide while applying.
Here are some examples of merit scholarships for Indian students who wish to study abroad:
I. Fulbright-Nehru Fellowships
The United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) provides these scholarships to Indian students who wish to pursue their master’s course or research in a U.S. institution.
- Students should have completed the U.S. equivalent of bachelor’s (4 years of education), and
- Should have at least 3 years of work experience in the area they wish to study in.
II. Tata Scholarship
Through this scholarship, it is possible for Indian students to study their undergraduate courses at Cornell University, USA.
- Should be an Indian citizen who has secured admission to Cornell University.
III. Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowships
Stanford Graduate School of Business together with Reliance Industries has started a fellowship program for the deserving Indian students to study at Stanford GSB.
- It’s open to the Indian Students who qualify for Stanford Graduate Business School for the MBA course.
- Those MBA qualified students are expected to return to India and work for an Indian organisation within two years of completing their MBA and share their study abroad experience.
2. Loan or a Personal Line of Credit
Another popular way to fund your overseas education is by taking a loan. It would help cover tuition fees and accommodation.
You can take a student loan or an education loan from either a private bank or a government to pay for your education abroad. You can choose a bank from your home country or a foreign bank in the country you wish to pursue your education. The loan would help in covering most of the tuition fee and accommodation.
Alongside the loan, it would be a good idea to have a personal line of credit. This would help in covering any additional expense you incur while you are studying abroad. For instance, if you need money for project work and you find yourself short of money, use the line of credit.
With the evolution of fintech, there are quite a few online lending platforms like LoanTap, Lendbox, MoneyTap, KreditBee, etc. from where you can borrow a personal line of credit. It works as a good backup plan, ensuring you never have to worry about unexpected expenses.
But remember loans seldom turn out to be debt traps. So, plan your things beforehand and keep yourself away from making critical career mistakes in your life.
3. Graduate Assistantship
A graduate assistantship helps students pay for graduate school fees through a combination of cash compensation and tuition waivers. Graduate Assistantship is a role provided to the students to support professors and universities.
This form of financial aid allows the students to get the funding in exchange for working as an assistant to lecturers in a university.
The aid could be a partial or full exemption of the tuition fees. It is a great opportunity for students to finance their education and gain valuable professional knowledge. It also helps them polish their teaching skills. And you would be glad to know there are technologies to improve it too.
Hiring for graduate assistantships usually is carried out by the administrator or professor of the school’s graduate program. The competition for such positions is usually intense.
So, if you want to come out a winner, you’ll probably have to demonstrate excellence in your undergraduate work. You can consider writing an application essay describing why you think you are a good fit for the position.
Depending on the role the student has to play during the assistantship, Graduate Assistantship can be of three types:
- Research Assistantship (RA): It is provided to students who can help in the research work of any professor.
- Teaching Assistantship (TA): The student would be responsible for assisting the teachers in lectures and even taking classes if required. This may include checking the students’ assignments and exam papers.
- Administrative Assistantship (AA): The student would have to assist the administrative staff. They would help in managing different kinds of administrative works of the university.
If you did not get a full scholarship, don’t be dejected. There is a popular way to fund the remaining cost of your tuition – Crowdfunding.
Yes, crowdsourcing is a common way most businesses use to raise money. But you can use online crowdfunding to raise money for your projects that you cannot afford otherwise.
Use the crowdfunding platforms like Ketto, Milaap, Bitgiving and Generosity, to share your heartfelt story, your motivation on why you want to study abroad and how the donations can help. Add in a personal video if you can.
If you have a great campaign, you will see many donations coming your way to fully fund you. There is no dearth of good Samaritans who want to help deserving students complete their studies!
5. Prodigy Funding
Prodigy Finance is a financial institution which offers loans to postgraduate students from about 200 countries across the globe. It was created to give a platform to meritorious and potential students from developing countries.
It is a community-based funding organization. Thus, the rules are more student-friendly as compared to other financial institutions. It helps deserving students find a way to fund their higher education.
For you to be eligible for a Prodigy Finance loan, you’ll need to meet these criteria.
- You must be admitted to a school and program that Prodigy Finance supports.
- Your chosen school must be located outside your country of residence.
Pack Up Your Bags!
Hope I have quenched your queries of funding your study abroad program to a great extent. So, when next time some of your friends ask you how to get money to study abroad you would guide them like a Pro.
If you have always dreamt of studying abroad, it is time to make it a reality. There are many ways to fund your education abroad. Some options even help you save money. Apply for either of the above-mentioned options and pack your bags. You may soon find yourself in the college of your dreams in a new country.
Author Details: Shiv Nanda is a financial analyst who currently lives in Bangalore (refusing to acknowledge the name change) and works with MoneyTap. Shiv is a true finance geek, and his friends love that. He has made it his life’s mission to help and educate people on various financial topics, so email him your questions at [email protected]