According to the 2016 Indian Students Mobility Report, there was a 12% rise in the flow of students from India to the US and Canada in 2014, which grew to 17.8% in 2015.
The number of Indian students studying abroad is growing at a faster pace than ever before. Universities in the US and Europe are some of the most favourite destinations for Indian students. According to the 2016 Indian Students Mobility Report, there was a 12% rise in the flow of students from India to the US and Canada in 2014, which grew to 17.8% in 2015.
India surpasses China in terms of student flow, despite China being known as a nation for its high passion for study abroad. The report says that “In the US alone, nearly 45% of international students are either Chinese or Indians. That’s almost half the market. Canada seems to be headed that way too. In 2010, the percentage share for China plus India was 30%. In 2014, it was almost 42%.”
How do students find the money?
How do our students find money to study abroad? Fellowships and scholarships are available only in negligible numbers. While children of rich families draw money from the savings of parents’ income, inherited assets, and properties, many upper middle income families depend on educational loan as a major source for studying abroad. Getting a loan is a complicated affair though! In terms of tuition fee an Indian student studying in the US has to pay $19,380 each year. Additionally, students also have to pay another $12,640 for living expenditure. When converted to Indian currency, the amount goes to several lacks, which is beyond the capacity of many Indian families.
Huge expenditure makes it a chimera for many Indian students to study abroad. India also loses a hefty amount of money in terms of revenue loss. Statistics show that hundreds of thousands of Indian students now studying abroad cost India as much as $17 billion a year in lost revenue.
This is the context in which an international organisations like ‘International Student Exchange Programme’ (ISEP) loom as a bolster for many aspiring students. ISEP is a US-based non-profit organisation. It is dedicated to support aspiring students to overcome the financial and academic barriers to study abroad. ISEP was founded in 1979, as a tiny non-profit organisation, which has grown exponentially to 53 countries, with connectivity in 330 universities across the world.
Since it opened its doors, ISEP has sent over 54,000 students from various countries to study abroad. It is commendable that ISEP extended its support across the academic majors, socio economic status, and geographical location of students.
How to hunt for scholarships
ISEP offers a variety of scholarships and fellowships for students to study abroad, which incluude theISEP community scholarship, the ISEP founders’ fellowship, the Kansai Gaidai university merit scholarship, the Massey university scholarship, the Explore New Zealand scholarship, and the Annette Kade scholarships. These are some of the major scholarships offered by the non-profit.
ISEP manages all these scholarships and fellowships with donations from the public and corporations. In addition to the financial support offered, ISEP facilitates a good number of scholarships and financial aids from outside entities as well.
An important condition to tap the benefit of ISEP is that the institution in which students pursue the programme must be a member of ISEP. The non-profit offers three types of memberships. The first category is ‘ISEP for All’. To get membership in this category, institutions need not pay any fees. Such institutions can send their students to 13 universities located in 13 countries. The second category is ‘ISEP Direct Member’. Direct members have to pay an amount of $500 a year, for which they can enjoy the benefit of getting connected to 60 universities across 35 nations. The most prestigious membership is the‘ISEP Exchange Member’ which is available for $3,850. These institutions have access to 324 institutions in 56 countries for student exchange.
The most prestigious part of this category is that members can host students from other universities and nations on various short term programmes, internships and for various other programmes. Only three Indian universities are members in ISEP. The Hyderabad Central University is one among them. The Chitkara University and the Lovely Professional University are the other two member universities of ISEP.
ISEP’s vast network of international universities
Japan has the highest number of memberships with8 universities. Germany has the highest membership from Europe, with 18 member universities, followed by UK. Altogether there are 91 member Universities from Europe. The best news for the aspiring Indian students is that 167 universities from the US are members of ISEP, Many of which are state-funded public universities.
What can our universities learn from ISEP? This is a question that has to be discussed bypolicy level bodies at institutions of higher education. Why do we let students of private universities only be the beneficiary of such non-profit international organisations?
The Hyderabad Central University deserves appreciation for spotting such an international agency that supports students without a profit motive, to study abroad. Being a member of ISEP, the Hyderabad Central University can do a lot by retrospection of its benefits and experiences with ISEP. Furthering discussions about how to tap the benefits of these international agencies, like ISEP, for the benefits of the student community, will be an omen for those talented students who pursue studies in our public institutions.