7 Things To Keep In Mind While Financing Your Education

If you’re an aspiring graduate, or an experienced professional enrolling into a professional MBA program or higher studies, chances are you might need to fund your university education. It also might be one of the biggest financial decisions you make that will impact your earnings potential and financial goals in the long-term.

While securing educational loans has become pretty commonplace with all major financial institutions following standard practices in granting these loans, here are some tips to keep in mind before you sign up for one.

 

Finding funds

In India, most major financial institutions — from public banks to private institutions including NBFCs such as Credai — offer student loans. As per government mandate, banks can disburse up to Rs 4 lakhs without requiring collateral; anything above that amount typically requires a co-applicant and proof of security that will form the collateral backing the loan. Banks typically lend up to Rs 10 lakh for higher studies at Indian institutes and up to Rs 20 lakh for programs abroad.

You may also need to pay your bank 5 per cent of your loan amount in the form of margin money for domestic programs, and up to 15 per cent for studies abroad that typically require higher loan amounts.

While most banks follow a standard interest rates offering 1.35 to 3 percentage points above the Marginal Cost of Funds based Lending Rate (MCLR), some banks can give out cheaper interest rates depending on specific criteria. For instance, State Bank of India (SBI) has recently launched an 8.5 per cent interest rate on education loans for certain business schools such as Indian Institute of Management (IIM)-Ahmedabad and Indian School of Business-Hyderabad.

Unconventional avenues

There are also a number of emerging fin-tech players that have also begun offering loans to students with less onerous requirements than traditional banks. For example, P2P lending platform, Faircent.com, has teamed up with Bangalore-based micro-lending startups to offer student loans that require only part of the collateral. Another fin-tech startup Quiklo provides loans and financing to students to help them purchase study accessories including phones and laptops. Quiklo says its education finance platform will lend to students who have been declined loans in the past.

Govt push

To facilitate student loans, the Indian government’s Vidya Lakshmi Portal also provides a platform where people can apply and compare educational loans from different institutions. The website connects students with multiple banks, providing updates on the loan process and links to other government financial aid and scholarships. Of course, approaching your existing financial institution where you or your family already have a banking relationship, could make the process faster.

Use a loan calculator

It’s a good idea to use an online loan calculator to estimate how your repayment plan will look like along with details on expected EMIs. Most loans have a 5-7 year repayment period, but larger loans can offer longer repayment periods, depending on your financial institution. These loan calculators can also help assess the eligibility criteria for these loans.

Avoid the debt trap

Experts recommend paying down your student debt early before the interest rates compound prolonging your loan repayment. There are reports of some banks slapping interest rates even on the moratorium period– the grace period during which a loan does not become due which is usually six months after getting employment or one year after completing a course. Always factor in any processing fees or hidden penalties such as prepayment penalties or higher interest rates while signing up for loans that could compound overtime and eat away at your hard earned income.

Tax benefits

You can claim deductions on your annual taxes if you’re paying down student debt under the Section 80E of the I-T Act. These benefits will bring down your tax liability so it’s important to keep track of the necessary paperwork to claim these tax breaks on the interest payments. These tax deductions can be claimed by individuals as well as family members who are funding the education of their children or spouse.

Ask your employer

If you’re an experienced professional pursuing a part-time program, or taking a study leave, some employers can fund part of your higher studies. It’s a good idea to check with your employer on their employee education and training benefits programs before applying for expensive bank loans.

Education institutes must implement anti-ragging committee: Andhra Pradesh DGP

Image result for ragging
VIJAYAWADA: With many new educational institutes emerging across the state, Director General of Police Nanduri Sambasiva Rao on Friday urged them all to take measures and eradicate ragging in the state.

“I have made an official request through the principal secretary of higher education to ensure that anti-ragging committee and anti-ragging squad be established across all higher educational institutes as mandated by law,” the DGP said during a press conference in the city.

Making it clear that police aren’t the only main stakeholders in cracking down ragging cases, he said that it is the responsibility of institutional heads to stop it. He pointed out that over the years ragging has become a trend across the higher educational institutes and especially at a time when many of them are coming up. “There is no ragging in western countries and I believe there is nothing wrong in taking certain good things from them. I appeal all the students to welcome freshers into the college,” Sambasiva Rao said.

Sambasiva Rao also warned of stringent punishments existing under the UGCguidelines where admissions can be cancelled and students can be rusticated. He also cited that Supreme Court’s directive in the recent Kerala ragging case on implementing the anti-ragging committee and anti-ragging squad by the higher educational institutes.

Is online education right for you?

As a student at the University of Delaware, Harrison Young had a lot on his plate. With a double major in economics, in addition to energy and environmental policy, Young was balancing a rigorous academic schedule against a busy life on campus.

To offset some of the pressure, Young enrolled in a banking class during a fall semester that counted toward his major. Visiting home one winter break, he took an African-American history class. And then, one summer, Young fit a philosophy course around his work as a golf caddie and an internship, satisfying a humanities requirement. All of the courses, it’s worth noting, were online.

A young man is shown studying for an online education course on his laptop

“Taking these remote courses gave me much greater flexibility in my schedule, and doing the work on my own forced me to sit down and figure it out,” says Young, who graduated from Delaware in 2016. Now, the 23-year-old works at the intersection of solar energy design and sales.

Young is not alone. As recently as 2014, more than five million students were enrolled in online or “distance learning” programs at post-secondary institutions that grant degrees, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics. That’s nearly one-third of all such students.

Online students don’t fit any one particular profile: While many traditional 18- to 24-year-old college students enroll in distance-learning courses, there are plenty of adults with families and full-time careers also seeking to further their education online. Whatever the demographic, the freedom and flexibility of distance-learning is attractive to people from many walks of life.

students are studying

A modern take on an old higher-education model

Technology and changes in teaching philosophies have contributed to the rising popularity of online education, says Julie Uranis, vice president for online and strategic education at the University Professional and Continuing Education Association.

“We know that students need engaging and personalized learning experiences that move beyond the in-person pedagogical approaches that served as the framework for distance learning in the early days,” says Uranis. “There are many new technologies and opportunities available online that enhance the student learning experience.”

Today’s online educational experiences go far beyond simply watching recorded lectures on their computers. Distance learning students can choose between live-streamed and pre-recorded lectures. They can access assignments and course materials via increasingly sophisticated software. They can interact with professors and classmates by text, email or video chat. Home test-taking can even be proctored.

Students who live near the institution offering online classes frequently have the option to meet face-to-face with their instructors during normal office hours—just like their peers at brick-and-mortar schools. Online students can also often participate in campus activities including sports, clubs and Greek life.

An alternative route to a dream school

Riley DeLucas, 20, always wanted to go to the University of Florida at Gainesville (UF). When she didn’t get into the traditional program, DeLucas discovered another path to make her dream come true : she applied to and was accepted into the UF online program.

“It had everything I wanted,” says DeLucas. “And since I’d taken dual enrollment classes during high school, I already knew how to be successful.”

Now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in health education and behavior, all of DeLucas’ classes have so far been online. She recently applied for a different major in health sciences. If accepted, the program will be a hybrid one of online and in-person classes.

Staying organized is key

For DeLucas, online coursework has been an ideal way for her to earn her degree and simultaneously maintain her job as a sales associate for a national fitness franchise.

“Flexibility is the main advantage,” DeLucas says. While DeLucas must meet the same deadlines and carry the same workload as traditional students, the way she fits it all into her busy schedule is completely up to her.

students looking at bulletin board

Staying motivated

Joe Obermaier, 50, can attest to how essential self-motivation and diligence is to the success of a distance-learning student. The married father of two teenagers not only works full-time, but is also earning his master’s degree in Information Design and Technology from the State University of New York, Polytechnic–completely online.

“Time is definitely a big problem, particularly for project deadlines,” says Obermaier. “The real world and your family don’t care. You can’t let things slide or you’ll get buried quickly.”

To keep ahead of the work, Obermaier regularly works on his classwork late at night or early in the morning.

The accreditation question

One of the first things Obermaier checked when evaluating potential programs was whether his online degree, once awarded, would be different from a traditional degree in any significant way.

Online degrees offered from traditional campuses are accredited through national and regional accreditors—exactly the same way on-campus programs are. Distance-only institutions are sometimes accredited differently.

“While some accreditors treat distance programs as a substantive change from on-campus programs, others do not and treat the programs—if taught by the same faculty and focused on the same curriculum—no differently than on-campus programs,” Uranis says.

For distance-only institutions, there are specialized accreditors who focus on just these schools, and federally recognized accreditors can be found here.

Before you sign up, do your homework

Students researching online programs should consider the following:

  • Be sure the institution is eligible for federal financial student aid. If not, the program may not have met certain standards under Title IV of the Higher Education Act.
  • If the coursework leads to a type of licensure or professional practice, such as nursing or accounting, the program must have professional accreditation for students to sit for the certification exam.
  • Before making any decisions, consider online degree options at local community colleges, public, regional and state universities and non-profit institutions for the most affordable options.

 

DU’s summer school helps poor students realise dreams of higher education

Delhi University’s pre-entrance summer school is a boon for poor students, who want to pursue higher education.

The university provides free coaching to students belonging to the economically weaker sections, SC/ST, OBC (non-creamy layer), minorities and persons with disabilities (PwD) to prepare them for the postgraduate admissions tests.

This year, the university is holding free classes in five disciplines – English, Law, Mathematics, Physics and Zoology. The coaching, designed as a two-week course, started on June 7. The classes will end on June 19.

The entrance exams for postgraduate courses will be held between July 1 and July 6.

The initiative was started last year by the vice-chancellor. Officials said summer school coaching had 200 seats but after receiving an overwhelming response they decided to admit all 500, who applied.

“The classes will be held in the departments concerned. Last year we had only 275 applications,” said Shrikant Kukreti, the head of the Chemistry department and the initiative.

One of the 500 students studying at the summer school is 23-year-old Raksha, who hopes to become a lawyer and open up an NGO for children, women and differently-abled people after she completes her studies.

“The teachers help us understand the basic concepts. They teach in Hindi as well, as I am not very fluent in English. I hope that after I finish my studies, I can help other students,” she said.

Kukreti said the teachers at the summer school have volunteered to teach without any pay. “Last year the success rate was up to 30% and a student got admission in AIIMS with the help of these classes. We also plan to open up a Centre of Academic Empowerment in the coming years,” he said.

 

MoU signed to offer education loans sans any guarantee

National Institute of Tourism & Hospitality Management (NITHM) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Overseas Bank, Gachibowli Branch to facilitate education loans to the students without any guarantee or collateral security.

Bank Chief Regional Manager Shivkumar Chaturvedi and Director NITHM S. Chinnam Reddy and other officials were present during the signing on Thursday. Two new education loan schemes — Vidhya Surakhas and Vidhya Jyothi introduced by Government of India are to help students studying in India and abroad.

This is under Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme for Educational Loan (CGFSEL) fund managed and operated by National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company (NCGTC), a press release said.

 

DU’s summer school helps poor students realise dreams of higher education

Delhi University’s pre-entrance summer school is a boon for poor students, who want to pursue higher education.

The university provides free coaching to students belonging to the economically weaker sections, SC/ST, OBC (non-creamy layer), minorities and persons with disabilities (PwD) to prepare them for the postgraduate admissions tests.

This year, the university is holding free classes in five disciplines – English, Law, Mathematics, Physics and Zoology. The coaching, designed as a two-week course, started on June 7. The classes will end on June 19.

The entrance exams for postgraduate courses will be held between July 1 and July 6.

The initiative was started last year by the vice-chancellor. Officials said summer school coaching had 200 seats but after receiving an overwhelming response they decided to admit all 500, who applied.

All about DU admissions

“The classes will be held in the departments concerned. Last year we had only 275 applications,” said Shrikant Kukreti, the head of the Chemistry department and the initiative.

One of the 500 students studying at the summer school is 23-year-old Raksha, who hopes to become a lawyer and open up an NGO for children, women and differently-abled people after she completes her studies.

“The teachers help us understand the basic concepts. They teach in Hindi as well, as I am not very fluent in English. I hope that after I finish my studies, I can help other students,” she said.

Kukreti said the teachers at the summer school have volunteered to teach without any pay. “Last year the success rate was up to 30% and a student got admission in AIIMS with the help of these classes. We also plan to open up a Centre of Academic Empowerment in the coming years,” he said.

 

Nepotism in institutes affecting education quality: Parrikar

Panaji, Jun 15 (PTI) Expressing concern over fall in quality of education, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar today blamed nepotism prevalent in institutions for it.

He said many colleges hire their family members or acquaintance as teachers, which hampers the quality.

Image result for Nepotism,in,institutes,affecting,education,quality:,Parrikar

“If you see the educational institutes in Goa, there is a tradition to employ a person from our own family as a teacher. The result is , the quality of education is impacted,” Parrikar said at an event organised by state-run Economic Development Corporation here.

He shared one of his experiences and said during his visit to a centre training teachers, he asked some of the participants why they became teachers, only few could give a satisfactory reply.

“…Some could give satisfactory answer, some could not and some did not answer,” he said, adding that the image of being in a noble profession like teaching coupled with a good salary may be the reason why people choose to become teachers, even if it is not their core interest. PTI RPS ARS DK DK

 

Animal Welfare Activism Could Help Fund Education

Love for animals and support for their well-being can be personally enriching in and of itself – animals’ love and companionship are priceless. But advocating for animal welfare – and recruiting others to the cause – can also help students pay for their education.

A number of organizations believe animal rights and love and compassion for animals are reasons enough to award scholarships. Here are several such opportunities for animal-rights activists and aspiring veterinarians.

The Humane Education Network, for example, partnering with the Animal Welfare Institute and with support from the Palo Alto Humane Society, offers the annual A Voice for Animals contest. Students ages 14-18 can win one of multiple awards totaling as much as $5,900 for winning essays, videos or photography. The network is against animal cruelty and works to develop solutions to stop animal suffering.

The 2017 competition is closed, but the 2018 deadlines will be announced in December. Entries must be submitted via an online form, typically between January and March.

High school seniors passionate about animal welfare can apply for the Pet Lifestyle and You organization’s annual $1,000 Scholars Helping Collars Scholarship. Applicants must write a 500- to 1,000-word essay about their volunteer efforts to help animals and how this has changed their life or their views of animal welfare. They should also include two to three photos of them volunteering.

Portrait of an attractive young woman sitting with her pets on the sofa

Winners are chosen based on their description and consistency with the overarching theme of animal welfare as well as on their punctuation and grammar. This year’s award period opens Aug. 1. Applications are due by Feb. 15, 2018.

College students passionate about animal care and well-being can also earn scholarships to fund their education. The AKC Humane Fund annually awards five John D. Spurling OBE Scholarships, totaling $10,000, to undergraduates enrolled full time in a curriculum that advances responsible pet ownership, including veterinary medicine and technology, physical therapy, animal care and behavior, and grooming and training.

 Applicants must attend an accredited U.S. institution and use the award for tuition. Winners are chosen based on their academic record, experience with responsible pet ownership and two letters of recommendation.

Winners must agree to the AKC Humane Fund reporting process. The deadline to apply is July 1.

Pet Insurance U offers a $500 Animal Compassion Undergraduate Scholarship to an undergraduate veterinary student enrolled in degree programs at Western Association of Schools and Colleges-accredited schools. In addition to financial need, applicants must have strong academics, plans to pursue veterinary graduate studies and have demonstrated community outreach in animal advocacy and anti-cruelty programs.

Students may submit photos of their volunteer efforts along with their applications, which are due by June 30.

Oxbow Animal Health, which sells products for small and exotic animals, offers scholarship opportunities to students at various education levels who are seeking careers in either the pet industry or in animal nutrition and health.

These scholarships are $500 for high school seniors in Nebraska; a $1,000 award to current undergrads; a $1,000 veterinary medicine scholarship for students enrolled in veterinary school who show interest in exotic and small animal medicine; and two $500 veterinary technology awards to students pursuing careers as veterinary technicians, particularly caring for small and exotic animals.

Application requirements vary per scholarship but include essays and letters of recommendation. The 2017 award period closed on March 2. Keep an eye on the website for announcements for the 2018 cycle.
Scholarship opportunities extend beyond aspiring veterinary students. Law student members of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund who are committed to animal law may apply for the Advancement of Animal Law Scholarships. The ALDF awards three $5,000 scholarships to the first-place winners as well as $1,000 for each second-place finisher, the number of which varies every year.

Applicants should be active in their student ALDF chapter and plan to remain actively involved in animal defense following graduation. The scholarship also promotes leadership, and applicants should be interested in taking on leadership roles within their ALDF chapter if they receive the award.

To apply, current 1L and 2L students – or 3Ls in a four-year program – must submit two letters of recommendation, including one from a law school professor; a current academic transcript; and an updated resume. They must also answer several animal-welfare questions. The 2017 application cycle is closed, but check the website for updates on the 2018 submission deadlines.

Finally, the Catological Society for the Promotion of Animal Welfare awards a $1,000 scholarship for the best 500-word essay from a current undergraduate or graduate student on the habits people should adopt to bring about positive results for animal welfare. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents currently enrolled or enrolling at a U.S. institution. The deadline to apply is Aug. 1.

 These are by no means the only scholarships that can help animal activists fund their education, but they are a good starting point for students.

 

Sundaram Finance backs online education loans marketplace GyanDhan

GyanDhan, an online marketplace for education loans operated by Delhi-based Senbonzakura Consultancy Pvt. Ltd, has secured an undisclosed amount from Sundaram Finance Holdings, a subsidiary of Chennai-based Sundaram Finance Ltd, it said in a statement.

GyanDhan, which was founded by IIT Kanpur alumnus Ankit Mehra and IIT Delhi graduate Jainesh Sinha in May 2016, facilitates loans for students aspiring to pursue studies abroad. It has tied up with Axis Bank and State Bank of India to offer loans, and takes a commission from the lenders. The company claims to have helped more than 250 students get education loans worth Rs 60 crore.

The platform had raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding from Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs and Harvard Angels in July last year .

It had earlier received angel funding from Satyen Kothari, founder of Cube and Citrus Pay.

Sundaram Finance deals in retail finance with a presence in vehicle finance, home finance, mutual funds, general insurance and financial services distribution.

“We are already engaging with multiple startups with various types of engagement models – operational, financing and equity investments,” said Harsha Viji, deputy managing director, Sundaram Finance.

The group is looking to buy minority stakes in early-stage ventures for $1 million or less, though larger investments will be made where they are needed, it said.

The group is also planning to co-invest with venture capitalists and angel investors in this space.

In the same space, Chennai-based school financing company Shiksha Financial Services India Pvt. Ltd had received about Rs 6.7 crore ($1 million) from The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation along with Aspada Investment Company last year in November.

Other players in the segment are Delhi-based Indian School Finance Company Pvt. Ltd (ISFC) and Bangalore-based Thirumeni Finance Pvt. Ltd, which operates under the banner of Varthana.

While ISFC caters to private unaided schools, vocational colleges, coaching and tuition centres, Shiksha provides loans for asset creation, working capital and school fee in the education sector. Varthana offers loans to private schools that cater to the poor and the emerging middle class.

In September 2016, ISFC raised Rs 10 crore ($1.5 million) in funding from US-based impact investment firm Gray Matters Capital and its associate fund GrayGhost Ventures.

In April 2016, Varthana raised Rs 93 crore ($14 million) in its Series B round of financing led by Kaizen Private Equity and Zephyr Peacock India.

 

 

J&K CM bats for quality education, better teaching methods

J&K CM bats for quality education, better teaching methodsSrinagar: Outlining the importance of quality human resource, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Tuesday said the youth today must get excellent education as it would determine empowerment of nations in the future.

The students must be accustomed to modern methods of teaching to cope with greater challenges ahead in the field of academics, Sayeed added.

“The technology has shrunk world into a global village where competition is becoming tougher by the day. The talent of our youth needs to be channelized properly so as to prepare them for the world of cut throat competition.

“We cannot afford to lag behind…We have to place high priority on upgrading Government schools into institutes of excellence,” he said.

The Chief Minister was addressing congregations after inaugurating three higher secondary schools as Model Schools at Bijbehara, Ranibagh and Brakpore, in Anantnag district of south Kashmir.

While J&K Bank has taken up Bijbehara and Ranibagh schools under Corporate Social Responsibility, the school at Brakpore has been adopted by the Chief Minister under his Constituency Development Fund.

Laying stress on honing soft skills of students, the CM asked the teaching fraternity to encourage spoken English as a universal mode of conversation, which, he said, would be a premium to the curriculum vitae of students when they complete studies and venture for jobs in the ever-expanding market.

“Our students are very intelligent and have the right attitude to adapt to new methods of teaching,” he said.

Sayeed also laid emphasis on building capacities of teachers so that they are better equipped to impart quality education to their students.

“I won’t stop at upgrading a few schools but stress on going horizontal so that all schools are gradually brought under the ambit of the Model School Scheme,” he said, while calling for efforts from civil society to lay special focus on education of girl child.

In her address, Member of Parliament, Mehbooba Mufti, said the government has put focus back on education to achieve excellence, which was lost when the state faced turbulent times in the last two-and-a-half decades.

She urged the teaching fraternity to contribute wholeheartedly in improving standards of education so that our students also get a level-playing field.

“Together we will write new chapters in the education sector,” she said, while stressing on promotion of Kashmiri language as a compulsory part of school curricula.