For an Indian student, studying in an Ivy-league college has been a dream but something that they could never aspire to. Why is that the case? Foreign universities have been systematically charging International students double or triple the amount of money a student national student would have to pay.
“Pursuing Political Science at Oxford University is my dream but the tuition fees are something I can’t afford and the chances of me getting a scholarship are rather bleak,” confesses Priyanshi Bansal, a Sociology student from Kolkata.
Premier Indian institutions are still several steps behind Ivy-league universities which makes studying abroad a more lucrative option than studying in India.
Even elite Indian universities like Delhi University (DU) lack several facilities and have multiple issues. In global rankings like the QS World Rankings, Indian institutions do not feature in the top 100 universities. This along with the general state of the education system nudges students to apply at foreign universities.
The exorbitant rates of tuition fees coupled with the weak socio-economic background of a majority of Indian students means world-class education being gatekept.
The admission fees and the yearly fees of these courses are extremely overpriced and way out of budget for the average Indian who dreams of sending their child for higher education, abroad.
The average UK student pays about 10,500 pounds per annum while Indians, as international students pay 31,350 pounds per annum only as tuition fees. This means a vast majority of Indians can’t afford education abroad without financial aid.
1. Most countries already have a weaker currency compared to the UK and hence, the higher fees are a double burden.
2. The historical reputation of these colleges or the fact that there is a rich government backing them up with tax benefits, is possible thanks to colonialism 🙂
— Bijaya Biswal (@bijaya_biswal) September 25, 2021
The average Indian can only dream of an Ivy-league education. The only thing that makes this situation worse is the exams that are accepted by these universities are difficult to crack and inaccessible to many. The exams are equally expensive and not feasible for most of India’s average earning population.
Along with the tuition comes the cost of living in a foreign country which adds to the expenses. The cost of living in the UK for a month comes down to somewhere between 1100-1400 pounds, an infeasible proposition for international students from humble backgrounds.
What’s ironic is that these international students, especially those from Asia and Africa come from countries that aren’t as rich as their western counterparts, a part of which could be attributed to the period of colonial exploitation.
Instead of taking steps to correct the disparity and boost representation, the governments of these countries instead choose to not only charge higher amounts but also bring in tough immigration policies to keep out students from the global south.
The exchange rate of the rupee in contrast to the pound further exacerbates the problem of purchasing power parity (PPP).
Charging exorbitant fees from people who earn less and have less financial aid is discriminatory and preferential on several layers. It keeps Indian students systemically away from these Ivy-league universities.
Scholarships are scarce in these colleges because, with the sky-high tuition fees, only scholarships provide a safety net for the investment put in education. Three full scholarships are available for Indian students who want to study in Oxford for their higher studies.
It is excruciatingly hard for an average Indian to survive and almost impossible without a part-time job which again is hectic with less pay.
You may only work up to 20 hours a week. The United Kingdom laws restrict students from working full time which means they get lower pay than the minimum wage as they are not fully employed.
I even remember the differential. Home fees for one term were roughly £700, for overseas students £2,100 per term — three times higher. Imagine the rates are much higher thirty years later!
— Dr Matthew Fraser (@frasermatthew) September 11, 2021
Several restrictions are laid on working part-time as a student starting from the guidelines laid down by your university because of your major and then the governmental restrictions.
Educational loans in private commercial banks are not something everyone can afford. These banks have fluctuating rates and these rates are subject to the market’s current state.
Educational interests last as long as fifteen years for the students. It becomes tough to pay them back later on as with fluctuating rates and fixed salaries.
Crowdfunding education has been another option for those who haven’t been able to secure the ample amount of funds.
It is usually a safer approach and relatively less expensive than student loans and the like. The major flaw with this sort of funding is that it is not a secure path to education. Only a few individuals make it through and match their target amount.
Sumeet Samos Turuk is an anti-caste activist and rapper who was a student at Jawaharlal Nehru University has raised Rs 38 lakhs for his Oxford education and he is one of the hundreds who could fund his education through this method.
“Crowdfunding is the only option for me if I want to go to Cornell, My parents can’t afford my Masters abroad and my part-time job does not pay me enough to pursue higher studies,” a DU graduate, who identifies as queer, told YKA on conditions of anonymity.
With the current declining condition of the educational ecosystem, more and more students aspire to a better quality of education abroad to secure a stable future.
It is time for the Indian government to frame better policies to improve and for our universities to improve the quality of education. India should engage in bilateral agreements for more affordable education and subsidized tuition fees.
Scholarships for Indian students, especially need-based ones should be encouraged and furthered. Beyond bettering the international landscape, the government should take immediate steps to improve the situation back home and make sure figuring out finances is the least of students’ worries.