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Indian students spend USD 13 billion for study abroad

According to industry body ASSOCHAM, over USD 13 billion is spent per annum by about 450 000 Indian students for higher education abroad. Over 90% of students who sit the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) and the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) entrance examinations are rejected due to mere capacity constraints. 40% of these opt (and pay) for studies abroad. To get a better understanding of the financial implications, one must compare tuition fees for both options: An IIT student pays an average fee of USD 120 per month, while students opting for studies in Australia, Canada, Singapore, the US and UK spend as much as USD 5 000 in monthly fees.

"Over 150 000 students every year go overseas for university education, which costs India a foreign exchange outflow of USD 10 billion. This amount is sufficient to build more IIMs and IITs," as ASSOCHAM President Venugopal Dhoot explained. Study abroad, according to the report, is clearly not the first choice for many Indian students. The compelling reason is the lack of capacity in Indian institutions. Dhoot’s formula for reversing the trend is simple: India must build a series of quality institutes with public-private partnerships and deregulate higher education.

The report is part of the ASSOCHAM publication “Reforms in Higher Education - Strategy towards Global Knowledge Hub 2020” released on May 17 and can be ordered with