Planning for higher education is one of the most challenging tasks for students and their parents. While students struggle to zero in on the course or the right university that suits them, parents find it challenging to manage the cost of their children's higher education. Sadly, things have only gotten difficult for parents and students in the last two years, especially for students aspiring to study abroad.
The ongoing pandemic has redefined the world’s way or living and has turned it upside down ever since it began in 2020. Lockdowns hit all sections of society, and education was no exception. Education became more complicated with the commencement of online learning, as students and teachers struggled to come to terms with digital learning in the initial few months of the pandemic. In this highly uncertain environment, where new virus outbreaks frequently threaten the slow recovery to normalcy, planning for higher education abroad is a monumental task.
Acquiring a student visa
One of the major hurdles in moving abroad for education is acquiring a student visa. Though the trend shows that the number of students moving abroad for higher education has been increasing in the last few years, 2020 saw only 2.6 lakh students being issued student visas to move to their desired country of education. According to a recent study, 5.6 lakh students were granted visas to fly abroad in 2019. Though the scenario improved significantly in the last year, the uncertainty over new variants emerging remains a threat to countries coming forward to offer study visas to students. Parents should be prepared to tackle this challenge as they plan to send their children abroad for quality education.
Choosing the right university or country
The other challenge in choosing the right university or country to study in these circumstances is analyzing the cost of each university and whether its offerings is worth the cost. If parents haven't been financially planning for their child's higher education abroad, they won't be able to invest towards this goal at this given point in time. So, they wouldn't be left with much choice except for an education loan, especially when securing a visa requires them to reveal their financial stability. But parents should consider some crucial points before applying for an education loan.
Applying for a loan
Applying for a loan may look like a more accessible option when parents need money in a short span of time to send their children abroad for education. Still, parents should keep in mind repayment and the collateral attached to the loan, especially in the new normal. The pandemic has tested people mentally, financially and physically to all extents, with millions suffering massive pay cuts because of the lockdowns. It has been even worse for others who lost their jobs to find an income to feed their family. At a time like this, opting for a loan should only be done after contemplating with yourself.
If it seems like the only option, it is essential to be aware that academic choices and the students' academic record play a crucial role in loan approval. One can increase the chances of availing a loan if they have admission to a reputed university in India or abroad compared to average universities. This is a consequence of the belief that reputed universities offer students better employment than others.
It can be highly beneficial for parents to be aware of subsidies given by the government on repayment of the loan. It is easy to forget that students need to repay the loan with interest, and it can be a massive financial burden at the time of repayment. Students will do themselves a lot of good if they begin repaying the loans as soon as they complete their education.It would also be wise to find an education counsellor or advisor to help you navigate through the crowd of choices that today’s modern day offers. An education counsellor can help both determine the best opportunity for a student and chalk out the best pathway to acquire it. Finally, having the financial aspect of higher education clearly planned out is an important and irreplaceable step.