Education Financing for Masters Abroad: Everything from Scholarships to Grants


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Anand Patinge

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The amount of money you will spend on your masters degree abroad depends on your university, the degree, and the duration of your course. Then there are other factors like the cost of living, health insurance, and more. For a Master’s degree from a decent U.S. university, you’ll spend anything between $57,000 (₹43.5 lakhs) and $80,000 (₹60 lakhs).

That’s a lot of money.

Thankfully, education financing for a master’s abroad is organized and effortless, particularly for an Indian student.

In fact:

Because so many Indian students pursue their Master’s degrees from abroad, funding options have opened up.

Education financing for master’s abroad: 8 options

There are seven major funding options for financing your masters abroad.

  1. Scholarships

A scholarship is the most common form of funding availed by Indian students going abroad. Usually, scholarships are merit-based. A scholarship can cover tuition partly or wholly. Some cover the cost of living, but by no means is that common.

Refer GradRight’s ready-reckoner of the top 10 scholarships for Indian students.

The source of a scholarship is usually:

–         Universities and private trusts

According to the Fulbright Commission, over 600 American universities offer scholarships of $20,000 or more to international students. The Rhodes Scholarship, established in 1903, helps outstanding international students pursue postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford.

–         Government

A notable example is the Chevening Scholarship provided by the Govt of the UK through the Foreign Office. Note that a particular scholarship might not be available for an Indian student. A good example is the Kennedy scholarship. It is open only to British nationals studying at Harvard and MIT.

–         Specific Fellowships

These targeted scholarships offer aid to students from a particular region or nation. For example, Felix Scholarship provides funds for outstanding students from India to pursue education at the University of Oxford, the University of Reading, and the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London.

2. Grants

Do not confuse a scholarship for a grant. You might think that these terms are interchangeable, but it is not the case. In the case of a scholarship, though the need is a factor, it is not the only factor. It might require a standard of academic aptitude or outstanding performance in sports.

A grant, on the other hand, is purely need-based. The purpose of a grant is to offer equal opportunity to those who need help. Pell Grant is the most well-known and awarded by the US Federal Government. The size of a grant is usually far smaller than a scholarship. For the 2021–2022 award year, the maximum grant amount for a student under the Pell Grant was $6,495.

3. Student loans

– Indian Banks

It is, of course, the most common method of education financing for a master’s degree abroad for Indian students.

The process, however, is laborious and confusing. Plus, you get the same offer as does a student who barely qualifies the bank’s minimum viability criteria. Your strong educational profile does not earn you any benefit.

Some popular international education loan providers:

  • SBI Global Ed-Vantage offers up to ₹1,50,00,000 for study abroad. The repayment option is through easy EMIs over a tenure of 15 years.
  • ICICI Bank offers loans up to ₹1,00,00,000.
  • HDFC Credila offers loans with no upper limit covering the entire cost of education abroad of colleges in 35 nations.

Most of these loans require a guarantor. After all, the bank will have to recoup the funds if the student fails to pay them back. Though one might have the score necessary to secure a loan, a guarantor for ₹3,00,00,000 might be harder to arrange. Otherwise, the bank would want collateral such as property.

Unsecured loans for large sums of money are rare and not found in the organized sector.

–  International Banks

Foreign banks do advance loans to Indian students but with an important caveat. The student must have a co-signer who is a resident there. In the case of the US, the co-signer must be a citizen or at least a Green Cardholder.

–  GradRight, India’s first student loan bidding platform

If you have the aptitude and competence, why not use it to secure a cheaper, more flexible loan?

  • Create a profile on GradRight.
  • Let public/private sector banks, NBFCs, and international lenders bid.
  • Choose a loan that offers you the maximum benefit (low-interest rate, higher funding, and flexible repayment).

You can also talk to financial experts at GradRight to compare different student loan offers.

4. Assistantships

An assistantship is an opportunity to intern within a department of your university to earn a stipend for your service. An assistantship might earn you a tuition fee waiver also.

Not only does it provide an income, but an assistantship is also a wonderful way to build connections and expand one’s network. You can expect to earn $10/hour to $35/hour in an assistantship. This could translate to $6000-$20,000 annually (₹4,50,000 to ₹15,50,000).

5. Student prizes

Student prizes are a great way to raise funds for your trip abroad. Of course, the amount might not be a lot, but every bit helps. Prizes are usually awarded for excellent academic performance.

The Global Student Prize awards $100,000 (₹76,00,000) to an outstanding student every year. It is open to students who are at least 16 years old. Maybe your college or district has a math competition coming up that carries a cash award. Well-established members of society often finance students in need out of generosity.

6. Earn and pay

Not very far-fetched. If you are in the US, the F-1 and M-1 visas allow you to work. If the school is in session, you can work 20 hours every week. During vacations, it rises to 40 hours per week. At a wage of $10 every hour, that is $200 a week or about $10000 every year (₹7,60,000).

7. Personal Loan

It is easier to avail of than a bank education loan but might need you to ask your family and friends. Of course, some might find it humiliating. A personal loan can also mean a loan for an unspecified purpose. Since they are mostly unsecured and without collateral, the rate of interest is high. Keep in mind that you would earn well after university.

Education financing for master’s abroad: final word

The biggest factor is to plan. If you want to do your post-graduation abroad, begin researching when you are in college.

Focus on where you want to study, the cost, and how to finance your education.

Usually, it works out provided you put in a lot of effort and work with clear intention.

Picture of Anand Patinge

Anand Patinge

A master storyteller, Anand has enriched multiple entities with captivating designs, compelling messaging, and impactful media campaigns. Beyond work, you can find him feeding stray dogs, exploring art, and watching insiprational documentaries.

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