It comes as no surprise that foreign students contribute handsomely to the coffers of US colleges. Stats from 2015 indicate that some 133,000 students from India added $3.6 billion to US GDP. During 2014 and 2015, students from India – the #2 supplier of foreign students to the US – comprised an estimated 14% of all international students on college campuses across the country. The US State Department’s Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs publishes an annual report on international education and Indian students are front and center.
According to the US State Department reports, some $30 billion + was added to the US economy during 2014, with India making up a sizable portion of that figure. China is the ranking country when it comes to foreign students in the US, but the high growth rates among Indian students is notable. Most students from India come to the US and complete graduate studies. According to the State Department report from 2014/15, 64% of students are graduate students, 12.4% are undergraduate students, 22.1% are optional practical training students, and 1.4% are other students.
What Are the Costs of Studying in the US for Indian Students?
A surge in student numbers from India is a double-edged sword. It means that the US is benefiting from foreign student tuition fees, and cultural diversity, but it also means that there is an increasing financial burden on Indian students and their families. The fees can be crippling, especially when exchange rates are considered, and the high costs (fees, commissions, hidden charges etc.) of international bank transfers are factored in.
Budgetary concerns remain high on the agenda for Indian families. Given that the Indian Rupee (INR) is not a strong currency by international standards, more INRs are needed to pay dollar-denominated bills at college level. Some of the fees that are involved in studying at US colleges include immigration-related expenses such as student visas (F and M categories), travel and insurance-related costs, graduate and undergraduate costs, living expenses, and so forth.
Indian students may be required to take certain examinations such as TOEFL, IELTS, SATs, GREs, GMAT and so forth. These fees are minimal when you consider the tuition and fees of undergraduate attendance which can run $20,000 – $30,000. The average cost of living on campus can range between $15,000 and $20,000. Insurance is another big ticket item which can cost anywhere from $2,000-$2,500. In total, undergraduate costs of attendance can be as much as $52,500.
Saving Pennies on Rupees Puts Plenty of Dollars in Your Pocket
At graduate-level, the total cost can range between $29,000 and $45,500. Given that 1 Indian rupee the equivalent of $0.015, a substantial bankroll is needed to send a student from India to the US for several years of undergrad and/or postgraduate study. Banks and traditional financial institutions offer an ineffective way to transfer funds abroad. For starters, the international exchange rates are unfavorable to Indian families, given that high fees and commissions are tacked on to the inflated spreads that banks charge their customers.
If you’re considering transferring money abroad for school, you will want to look at the top recommendations for international money transfers (IMTs). International money transfer companies such as World First, and OFX have supplanted banks and traditional financial institutions as the go-to option for Indian students. For starters, they offer better rates, quicker transfer times, and less bureaucracy than banks in India and the receiving banks in the US.
It’s important to be able to negotiate the rate that you’re given when you’re dealing with large sums of money like educational funds transfers. It is possible to discuss these money transfers with companies like World First and OFX, since they value your business and will work with you. A saving of several pennies on every INR 1 that gets converted into USD amounts to huge savings when you’re dealing with figures of $30,000 – $50,000 for educational costs.