Is it Worth Studying in America When Indian Rupee is Diving?

studying in america usdinrIndian Rupees continues it’s free fall and this puts current students and prospective in huge dilemma, confusion, anger and frustration. Here are some of the question I received about USDINR in recent few days

  • Sagar Solanki: What about those students who are planning for next year…? tough time ahead. Please come up with a post which can help us to reduce SOME cost.
  • Abhishant Guleria : Students with job can pay their loan anyways. What about who started this fall or will start in spring 2014?

As you can see impact of falling Indian Rupees against US Dollars has its advantages and disadvantages.

The Good

USD have raised about 40% compared to 2011. Which is great news for students who came to USA in Spring, Fall 2011 semester. Why?

With 40% increase, it should take 40% less time to pay off the loan. Plus 40% less money.  I’m sure lot of students and investors are happy about raising USD and falling Indian rupees.

USD have gone up by 12% in last 30 days or so.

Also, for folks like me who have invested in India are happy about raising USD against INR. That’s the common feeling among my friends here.

So, I have listed 2 advantages about raising U.S. dollars against Indian Rupees.

The Bad

What about students who came to USA in Fall 2013 or prospective students who are planning to com in Spring 2014 and later.

It is going to be difficult to manage your education expenses.

American eduction expense is directly proportional to falling Indian rupees.

For students who came to USA in Fall 2013 (August 2013), your education expenses just went up by close to 12% in just 30 days. You will feel the pain and your parents and sponsors will feel the pain.


Falling Indian rupees against the USD will affect several prospective students. For  middle class family, planning to spend 10 to 25% more on education is not an easy task.

This put tremendous pressure/sponsors finance. Some of you might even drop the idea about studying in USA.

Are you still considering not to come to USA with falling rupees.

I’m sure most of you are looking at USDINR exchange rate several times a day.

My thoughts

Amount of money you are going to spend on education is for a span for 2 years. You have a lifetime to earn that money back.

Indian parents ask the following question about higher education in USA.

  • How long would it take to pay off the loan?
  • Is it possible to get a job in USA after graduation?

If the answer to the second question is doubtful or no, there will be huge drop in number of students coming from India to USA. Indian students are sensitive to economic changes which affects the decision to study abroad.

I was just like any other student. My parents had the same questions.

But, living in USA changed the way I think about investment and education.

  • Education is an investment.
  • American education possibly the best investment option available to an international student.
  • American education  shouldn’t be measured based on expenses for 2 years for M.S. or 4 years for B.S.
  • ROI from American education is much higher and lasts a lifetime.

Your hope shouldn’t fall due to falling Indian Rupees against U.S. Dollars.

  • If you are a student, keep dreaming about American education.
  • If you are parents, think in long term returns, not short term expenses.

Your son and daughter will be much better person after studying in USA.  ( Watch this interview with Nitesh )

I understand that education will be more expensive than what you have initially planned, but on the other hand, that is only for few years.

If the Dollar falls, it will take extra time to pay off the loan. It might take 4 years instead of 2 years to pay off the loan. But, what if your son or daughter can start a business (like Happy Schools Blog)?

During my recent trip to India, I was talking to my uncle. I gave him several business ideas. After listening to my ideas, he said the exact same words.

All your ideas are based on how to make money are without investing lot of money. But, here in India, I ( and several others) think about making money by investing money. We think in terms of investing 20 lakhs to make 10 lakhs in profit. But, you are thinking how to make the same 10 lakhs profit without investing 2 or 5 lakhs.

I think, what he said is absolutely true and American education made me think BIG.

I’m not the same person when I left India. I have ZERO ides about business. All I cared was to get educated and get a job. Now, I think in terms of self-sustaining lifestyle business. That is made possible  only because of investment in American Education and exposure to ideas and connecting with people who have done that.

Back in India, I used to hear, read success stories. But, here in USA, I was able to meet and talk to real people who have done that. Not stories, but real people with real inspiring stories of both success and failures with lessons.

This raising U.S. Dollars and falling Indian rupees shouldn’t deter you or parents from gaining the same kind of experience, exposure and inspiration.

Over to you?

I have made my argument about why falling Indian rupees shouldn’t stop making progress towards your dream. I like to hear your counter argument, comments and feedback.

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  1. i will complete my graduation in mar2014.i want to go to US in spring 2014. but i heard that in spring there is not much probability for getting scholarships.i want to know what are the factors that affect scholarships in spring and how to get one?also im not interested in it,software jobs.i want to get into other companies like intel,etc. i am dng my graduation in electrical engineering .please someone help me.

  2. Don’t change your decision to study abroad, look for ways to save more instead. Research more on the universities that offer part time work opportunities and scholarships. Try to find out as many ways as you can to fund your degree, and combine different sources including grants and assistantships. If you still have time, read the recent report from the Center on Education and the Workforce, according to which, graduates in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math have good post graduate opportunities for work.

  3. Hi…I have completed my in Biotechnology with 8.14 Cgpa in 2013. My GRE score is 295 and TOEFL is 88. I am applying to next fall and i have some universities which i thought i can apply. The universities are
    University of Massachusetts, Boston and Amherst
    San Francisco state university
    Brandeis university
    University of Texas, Dallas
    Michigan Tech Univeristy
    Iowa State University
    University of South Florida
    Tufts University
    University of Alabama
    Mississippi State University
    Rutgers University
    So can anyone suggest me what are the possible universities to admission for my profile. Will i be eligible for financial aid in those universities. Please do make a reply to my post friends….

  4. Not only US Dollar, Australian Dollar and UK pound has also become expensive. UK pound is like 100 rupees to 1 pound. Another thing to note is that in US, Universities also raise their tuition/fees every year. So as compared to 2-3 years back, US Education is like 40% more expensive. On the other hands, your dollar savings and remittances, investments based on dollars has also increased.

  5. I have completed my Bachelors in Civil Engg in April 2013, and i’ve already applied for MS in Geo Technical Engg in 6 universities(SUNY – Buffalo, Clemson, MUST – Rolla, Michigan Tech, Univ of Houston Main Campus, Auburn Univ ) for this spring 2014.

    I left my Seat in Nicmar, Pune for PG in Construction Management (Flagship Program in the Flagship Campus) to study in US. Now with the Rupee exchange rate declining every day, I am in a dilemma, whether i should proceed if i receive Admits the universities or shall i drop the idea and take the NICMAR test once Again and join in it.

    I am Confused and could really use some Advice.

    1. If you want to work in India, then go for NICMAR. If you want to settle down in USA, then go for US universities. By the way, dont expect companies coming for Campus Recruitment and offering you hefty packages after your MS in Geotechnical Engineering. There is a struggle to find company which can sponsor H-1B visa. So that risk is always there. Why did you leave your seat this Fall when you are applying in Spring 2014?

      1. Munna,

        Thank You for your advice, but i don’t necessarily want to settle down in the USA. I am not bothered about the issue that, if the company that hires me sponsors my H1B visa or not.

        All i am worried is about that, whether i would be able to get a job (Availability of Job Openings in GeoTechnical Engineering ) and Payoff my Education Loan by the time i complete my OPT. Because, i really don’t want my parents to pay off my Graduate Education Loan.

        And the worst case scenario is, if i don’t get to pay off my loan during The OPT and doesn’t get an H1B Visa status, It’d be a big problem to repay the loan.

  6. I think that students are more worried about lack of job opportunities ( For non IT, Ph.D. students), H-1B visas then cost of Dollar versus rupee. But those Indians who get an opportunity to work in USA and sending money back home are happy as their dollars are worth more in rupee.

  7. Raghu,

    Assuming one does not get a job after M.S and he/she has no intentions to do Phd, then the situation is very depressing. Say for example you belong to life sciences and job scenario in these fields is still not good for international students. You go back to India and earn 20-30 K per month.

    Factors which have to be considered before assuming things are

    1) Does your University hold Career Fairs and if yes do you have companies of your field hiring students?

    2) If point no.1 does not apply then the next thing to consider would be your proximity to the industry.
    for example you may be in Texas and studying Biotechnology. Texas is not known as a Biotech hub so you have to head either to the North eastern part of U.S or California for better options. These can be testing times for middle class people especially when the rupee has fallen 12% in 30 days.

    I would say consider all the factors and then take an appropriate decision.

  8. Difficult post. A degree gained in the U.S. is the best thing someone can get, but a part-time job could help you with your expensives. I am studying a M.Eng. in Electrical Eng. I have a partial fellowship from the government of Ecuador, and I do some part-time jobs not neccesarily authorized by the college, like courier, walking dogs, grooming-washing pets, etc, all that to earn some extra-money. I will finish my studies for Spring 2014. I am sure that in my country or any other I will have a lot of jobs opportunities (professional engineer, advisor, consultant, lecturer, etc.). I recommend all prospective students to pursue graduates studies in the Nort-American region, like U.S., Canada or even Mexico. For all the money and time you will invest, it’s better to aim to the U.S. or anglo speaking country (see ranks of universities around the world).

  9. I think those middle class parents will never going to support their elder child if they have 3-4 other younger children and 2 other members to feed. The wish to study abroad is only for those people who are rich and have smaller family of 2-3 members.

  10. Raghu, great post as always. Enjoy reading your articles.
    Agree with you on te point that in India the mentality is usually that you need a lot of money to start a business. And I think thats true for the conventional businesses. In context of your point about investing lesser amount upfront, only business that comes to mind is some sort of Internet business like this blog that you have been successfully running. Do you agree with me? What other options could be there.. Would be interesting to hear your thoughts.


  11. I think this is just a temporary problem,its surely going to fall within 6 months or so, so effectively what u can say is that the 1st sem would be tough to endure,but then everything will pan out easy. And ofcourse education is a long term thing, so this is petty issue. However,if anyone is “really” scared,then just defer it by some time, its never late to chase ur dream…

  12. Rightly put. Education is always an worthy investment not only for money after the studies but for knowledge gained. Building a global network is a value addition you get from learning abroad.

    But it depends on case by case. For a parent who is just making two ends meet, it might not be possible to make an huge investment especially for US studies. By the time his/her son/daughter starts earning things might have turned differently. In this case, it’s better to look for cheaper German universities or equivalent.

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