Are you an Indian student considering pursuing a master's degree abroad? You're not alone!
According to the QS International Student Survey 2021, a staggering 91% of Indian students have a high interest in studying abroad.
While the high cost of grad school may seem daunting, it's important to remember that there are ways to invest in your education and make it more affordable. With careful planning and the right strategies, you can make your dream of studying abroad a reality.
Keep reading to learn more about how to save up for grad school and achieve your academic and career goals!
Choosing The Right College
Picking the right university is very important, given the cost you incur. Spending hefty amounts on a lacklustre college just because it is abroad can be a bad financial decision.
Breaking down the Return on Investment
One key factor to consider is the cost of tuition and living expenses, as these can vary significantly depending on the location and type of program you choose
It's also important to factor in any additional costs such as airfare for trips back and forth to your home country
In addition to these direct costs, it's important to consider the potential impact on your income during the course of the program. If you are unable to work while pursuing your degree, the money you give up due to unemployment can be a significant hidden cost
On the benefits side, earning a master's degree can help you build expertise in a specific area of study
Since your expertise usually translates to an earnings bump, it is important to research the potential salary increase you can expect after completing your degree, as this can help you determine the potential return on investment
How To Finance 💲
Loans are a common way to finance a graduate degree, as they are easily available from a variety of sources
International students may also be able to secure funding through their home country or through the university they will be attending
These loans usually have an 8.5-16% interest rate depending on the bank
Consider the exchange rate between the two countries if you are considering a loan in a different country. For example, if the dollar is expected to appreciate against the rupee by more than the difference between the interest rates, it makes more sense to get a loan in Indian Rupees
These scholarships may be offered by the university, a private organization, or a foundation, are typically competitive and may require the submission of transcripts, letters of recommendation, and personal statements
They can be Merit-Based Scholarships, which are awarded to students based on their academic or athletic achievements, or Need-Based Scholarships which are awarded to students based on their financial needs (this will require proof of income and tax return documents)
It's also worth considering other options such as teaching or research assistantships, which may provide a stipend in exchange for part-time work
Some universities also offer work-study programs that allow students to work part-time on campus to help cover the cost of their education
It's important for international students to start researching and planning their funding options as early as possible, as the process can be competitive and require a lot of advanced planning
Saving Up! 🏧
It is advisable to start saving for grad school at least 3-5 years before you plan on going
This will give you enough time to save a significant amount of money and also allow you to plan your finances better
It is generally recommended to take a loan for a small percentage (around 20-30%) of the upfront payment and save the remaining amount
As a rule of thumb, your student loan payments each year should not be more than 8-10% of your annual income
Liquid Mutual Funds
Debt Mutual Funds
Equity Mutual Funds
Allow you to save a small amount of money regularly and offer a fixed rate of interest
Invest in highly liquid debt instruments like commercial paper and treasury bills, that offer a higher rate of interest than recurring deposits
Invest in fixed-income securities like bonds and debentures that offer moderate returns with relatively low risk
Invest in equities that offer high returns with higher risk; appropriate for the long term
In Closing 🚪
Pursuing a graduate degree can be a significant investment in both time and money, but it can also be a valuable career boost.
Not only does a graduate degree often lead to increased earning potential, but it can also provide students with valuable technical skills and knowledge that can help them stand out in their field.
Additionally, grad school can be an excellent opportunity for students to gain real-world experience and build networks in their chosen industry.
Use the excel spreadsheet attached below to calculate how much you need to save for Grad School!