Diving rupee hits students' plans for studies abroad

Aug 30, 2013, 04:27 IST | Niranjan Medhekar

For 18-year-old Prafulla Dhariwal, studying in one of US's top universities was always a dream and with his impeccable academic record - topper in this year's HSC examination in the division - he made that dream come true

Prafulla received a scholarship from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to study engineering in computer science with more than 80 per cent of his tuition fee covered.

Dollar dreams: Students line up at the US Consulate for VISA procedures. File Pic

But with the free falling rupee, which dropped to an all-time low of Rs 68 per dollar, has been giving the Dhariwal family back home nightmares. “When Prafulla first applied to MIT in October 2012, a dollar was worth around Rs 50, which increased to Rs 55 in the next months, and now it has crossed Rs 65,” said Sushil Dhariwal, Prafulla’s father who runs a small firm in the city.

Earlier, MIT had agreed to offer $45,500 as scholarship and Prafulla’s family was to bear the rest of $15,500 annually comprising of living and other expenses.

“As the rupee continued to depreciate we requested the institute to rethink this monetary plan and as Prafulla is a bright student, MIT increased the scholarship amount to $52,290,” Dhariwal said.

Prafulla’s sister Deepal had also gone to the US for her MS degree in computer science a few years ago. “She completed all her education there without much financial support from me,” added Dhariwal.

This story echoes in other families whose kids have gone overseas to study and has been hampering dreams of those several bright students who wish to pursue their studies abroad. Even the annual rush for academic records like transcripts to apply for foreign universities is at an all time low.

“Rather than applying to foreign universities for further studies, Indian Institute of Management (IIM) is back in demand. I don’t know whether this recent trend is due to the falling rupee or students getting ample career opportunities in India itself,” said Dr A D Sahasrabuddhe, director of College of Engineering Pune (COEP).

Placement officer of COEP Sandeep Meshram said, “Out of 700 graduates passing out every year around 20 per cent apply to foreign universities to pursue a PG course. But the numbers have decreased to 15 per cent this year.”  

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