Rise in Indians pursuing overseas education due to women, tier-2, 3 town students: Study abroad consultants

Easy availability of loans, scholarships and a stable post-programme life are factors driving more Indian students to go for higher education abroad

Women from small towns are going abroad for studies (image : Pexel)Women from small towns are going abroad for studies (image : Pexel)

Pritha Roy Choudhury | April 8, 2024 | 01:36 PM IST

NEW DELHI: Much of the sharp increase in youths leaving India to study abroad is due to more women and students from tier-two and three towns opting for overseas education, say study abroad consultants.

In 2023, three countries issued record numbers of study visas to Indian students. These included Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“We have seen steady growth in the number of women applicants aspiring to study abroad. In recent years it is over 40% on the Leverage Edu platform just for last year,” said Akshay Chaturvedi, CEO, Leverage.biz. Most women applicants prefer the US, he further said. They opt for science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) programmes and prefer the United States as they will have a stable post-programme life there. The US is followed by the UK and Canada.

Study abroad scholarships, loans

Lil Bremermann-Richard, CEO, Oxford International Education Group, another study abroad consultancy that also provides language education and preparatory courses for those aiming to study in the UK, has also noted the trend and said that students from tier-2 and tier 3 cities are also finding ways to go abroad. “A paradigm shift in culture is linked with women's empowerment, especially concerning the flexibility for women to choose their career paths these days,” she said.

Shreya Khatri, now pursuing her master's in data science at the University of South Australia, completed her BSc from Jesus and Mary College in Delhi. She did not appear for any entrance exam to get into any of the universities in India as she always wanted to go abroad for her master’s.

Gaurav Batra, CEO of Infinite Group, feels that the easy availability of education loans is also contributing to the trend, "We have noted a growing enrollment of female students pursuing education abroad, with a significant increase by 20%-30% in recent years. Their desire for independence and confidence-building drives this trend. Also, there is the increased availability of overseas education loans and scholarships specially designed for female students."

Study abroad loan

GradRight is an AI (artificial intelligence) platform that has been guiding students and helping them build their study plans based on their academic records. The platform connects students with lending institutions such as banks.

"We use all the data we get…to help them figure out which college they should be considering without bias, and who will be able to fund them with how much loan and scholarship for those choices," said Aman Singh, co-founder of GradRight. "In the last one year, we helped students get loans to the tune of Rs 1,300 crore."

Students for over 2,500 towns and villages in India visit the platform, most of whom do not have access to potential lenders in the education space, he said. Also, most of these students do not have the collateral that can be used to secure a Rs 60-lakh loan or more.

Singh gave two such examples. Two years ago, a student from Jhora Pakhri village in Gaya district, Bihar, used the platform, went to the UK, graduated and got a job in that country. Another girl, an orphan from a village in the Vijayawada district, got all the assistance, including financial aid, through GradRight. She went to the UK and is pursuing her master's now.

Propelld, a fintech startup whose focus area is education, also offers collateral-free study abroad loans. Recently, the startup has again announced study abroad loans for students living in metros, tier 2, and tier 3 cities of up to Rs 50 lakh for a period of 10 years.

It will offer collateral-free loans and ensure quick approvals, requiring minimal documents from students aspiring to go abroad to complete their higher education. The startup is aiming for a Rs 100 crore disbursement this year.

Scholarships abroad

There is also a variety of scholarships available – government, those offered by the institutions and ones offered by nonprofits and similar organisations.

The GREAT scholarship of the British Council helps Indian students avail scholarships for postgraduate programmes across various fields of study in the UK.

Also, the British Council, in partnership with universities in the UK, offers a STEM scholarship for women who aspire to complete a one-year master's programme there. It also welcomes applications from women with dependents. The scholarship amount covers tuition fees, stipend, travel costs, visa, health coverage fees, and English language support.

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