Most students who are planning for a MS in US are concerned with the funding for their Masters degree. How to get a scholarship? Where to get the money from? Should I go for loans or not? etc. To help you with these questions, here we provide a list of options that you can use to fund your Master’s program:
Self-funding: Self-funding for master’s is a difficult process but certainly one that will be worth the effort. What most Indian students do is take out a sanction for maximum eligible amount and draw about 1/4th for their 1st semester and living expenses. Once a student has completed 2 semesters, he starts working part-time or attempts for RA (Research Assistantship) /TA(Teaching Assistantship). Most of the Indian students are able to get RA/TA because the American Professors know that Indian students are hard-working and skilled. Moreover, they will put in considerably more effort to learn than their American counterparts because of their hard-working nature. Your GRE scores could also influence you obtaining a RA/TA.
Student Loans: Majority of the Indian students opt for student loans from Indian banks. You can apply to US banks as well, although they are extremely few in number. Also, while applying to US banks for a loan, you need to be a permanent resident of US with at least 2 years of residency or you need to find someone with such credentials to co-sign the loan. If you want to apply for a loan without any co-signing authority, you can only apply to MPower Financing, a bank which has provisions for that.
An easier option would be to apply to Indian banks. Here are the details of Indian banks giving loans:
- SBI– State Bank of India provides loans amounting upto 30 Lakhs. The interest rate charged is 12.5% per annum. The repayment of the loans starts after 6 months of completing MS. Student has to repay the loan within 7 to 7.5 years after completion of degree. This loan repayment strategy is same for all types of State Banks, what is different is the interest rate and variable loan amount.
- State Bank of Hyderabad – provides Max loan up to 20L with rate of interest of 12.7%. Another good option if you are an existing customer.
- Canara Bank – Provides loan up to 20L with interest rate of 11.6% per annum. Although the interest rate is low, the repayment period isonly 5 years after completion of the MS degree, failing the same leads to defaulting, and that is something which is extremely harsh on the budget of a student.
- HDFC Bank – CREDILA is the plan under which loans are given. There are two cases:
- a) They give advance up to 25L (property need not be submitted if the credit sum required is 25L). Loan fee is 12.9% for every annum.
- b) If the credit sum required us more than 25L, then property should be assessed and loan fee is 13.5%.
For the both cases above, you will have same time of 7 to 7.5 years for repayment, which is genuinely sensible.
Scholarships:The big S. Scholarships are a boon as gaining an education in US is expensive and Indian students need all the help possible when it comes to funds. One of the major mistakes students make in their quest for scholarship is assuming that scholarship deadlines and application deadlines are the same and apply to scholarship with the admission form itself.
Where to apply?
This is a question that has been the main concern for students. Quite an embarrassing number of Indian students don’t know where to even apply for scholarships, forget about acquiring one. You have to start with the college website of your preferred college. Check the website to gain information on which office is offering the scholarship, whether it’s the Financial Aid office or the Academic Department offering the scholarship. Then you have to look for the Scholarships for international students page. There is no specific list that can provide all the information to you. You have to figure things out on your own for the most part.
Regardless of the fact that details regarding the scholarship is mentioned or not on the university website, you can ask for the scholarship scheme by mailing to various authorities in the offices. To gain more information on this visit:
A large percentage of your selection criteria is attributed to your academic grades. High academic grades combined with a good GRE score and relevant experience in the research field is surely a recipe for success. However, some colleges still do not provide scholarship. So it would be a good idea to apply to as many colleges as possible to increase the probability.
RA: Research Assistantship is when you work on a technological problem and make some actual contribution to your field of study, and the experience that you gain is more valuable than the actual course work. Therefore, RA in most colleges will focus on a technical research oriented study and will furnish you with better skills and experience in your relevant field. And that is something which is extremely useful when you are applying for jobs in US.
TA: Teaching Assistantship is when you work with a professor and help him with a variety of work ranging from help with grading papers to actually teaching a class. As a TA, your work will generally involve grading of homework, projects and quizzes. For funding, TA gives a substantial amount of money and sometimes can give you a full fee-waiver as well, in many colleges.
Graph showing variation in Percentage of students opting for Student Loans vs Financial Grants.
Percentage of Funding Sources for International Students For Year 2012-13
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