How can I get financial assistance for my study abroad?
How will I manage my finances?
How much money should I save for my education in a foreign country?
These are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding ‘money’ and it seems appropriate to discuss them here, to allow more and more students to benefit from this information.
Keeping in view the facts that scholarships are limited in number and a large number of students apply for them, it is logical to assume that their availability is hindered by competition. This may or may not be true; depending upon the number of students who actually qualify to get a scholarship in a particular field of study. Consequently, many scholarships may remain unutilized due to limited number of applicants. So, a good rule is to “always apply for as many scholarships as possible”. You can search for scholarships yourself or inquire about them from your ‘Office of Foreign Affairs’ (or the likes); this information is essential and can provide you the opportunity to get completely or partially free education; depending upon the type of scholarship you are able to avail.
As more and more students are turning towards the idea of studying in foreign countries, the availability of funding is increasingly becoming a problem. Rules differ from one educational institution to another and hence generalizations cannot be made in this regard. In many instances, your domestic financial aid package (for education at local level) is considered relevant and valid for your education abroad. This means you are likely to benefit to the same level and extent during your study in foreign institutions as you benefit locally.
The next option is to save money. Although this method of funding was widely used in the past, it appears that this trend is changing. Firstly, due to rising inflation, it is almost impossible to ascertain with confidence the expenses that are likely to accrue in the future; so one cannot plan how much to save. Secondly, due to the sharp rise in living expenses, saving for education is no more a viable option. The tendency to save for education is therefore declining. One clever option is to invest your money (e.g. in real estate, stock market etc.) and sale your merchandise when you need it for education; however, the reality is that very few people are able to plan things in this way.
Getting a bank loan for education is a workable option and many banks around the world provide this facility. The terms and conditions for securing such loans differ from one country to another. In under-developed countries, most banks are reluctant to provide loans to the ‘really-deserving’ students due to the risks associated with recovering such loans. In developed countries on the other hand, getting a loan for educational purposes is often a convenient option; hence many students opt for such loans.
An important thing to remember in this regard is the difference between loans and scholarships/financial aid. While scholarships and financial aids benefit you by all means, bank-loans are different in two ways. First, you have to pay back your loan after graduating from the institution. Second, you have to pay additional amount of money i.e. interest. So, a clever idea in this regard is to search for the most appropriate bank and loan-plan that fulfills your needs, but adds little to your financial burdens. Remember:
High interest rate = More problem in paying back after you graduate
Fake Bank Statements
Interestingly, one of the most commonly used method is the use of a ‘fake bank statement’ to make foreign educational institutions believe that the student or his family is capable of bearing the expenses. This cannot however be recommended as it is morally and legally unacceptable. Students submitting such fake bank statements often plan to ‘earn while they learn’. Although it used to be a feasible option in the past; it has now become a problem in some countries and students opting for this option should confirm if they are legally allowed to ‘work’ in their destination country.