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.

Snacks to gorge on while watching cricket

1. Favourite cricket snacks!

A nail-biting match, couple of beers and scrumptious food to gorge on…what more could any cricket fan wish for while cheering their team on? When the cricket fever is on, it is difficult for cricket fans to contain their excitement. Where the emotions run from head to foot, people tend to get hungry. With all that excitement and nervousness, you need something more indulgent to fuel that enthusiasm. Here’s a list of snacks that you can binge on while you sit down to enjoy your favourite sport. Moving away from the outside junk and making quick recipes at home which are tasty and more hygienic is always a better option to serve the tummy. Here are some quick hacks to nail those perfect snacking ideas during the nail biting moments of cricket matches.

2. Stuffed Mushroom

Stuffed Mushrooms is a tasty yet healthy and quick option to indulge during cricket matches. Mix breadcrumbs, chopped mushroom stems and grated Parmesan cheese with a table spoon of pizza pasta sauce; stuff into mushroom caps, drizzle with olive oil and bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes. Now spoil yourself and your guests with these miniature delicacies. Try other exotic mushroom snacks recipes like Mushroom Kebabs recipe, Stuffed Mushroom Caps recipe , Jacket Potatoes With Garlic Mushrooms recipe and Mushroom Tikka recipe .

3. Pepperoni Pizza Bread

Pepperoni Pizza Bread is a fun recipe for craziness overloaded cricket get-togethers, oozing with loads of mozzarella cheese to make your mouth drool. Arrange bread slices to cover a baking tray, brush with extra virgin olive oil and grate few cloves of garlic over it. Bake it in the pre-heated oven for 3-4 minutes and then top with pizza sauce, grated mozzarella, sliced pepperoni and olives. Bake it further until cheese starts to bubble. Sprinkle with dried oregano and chilli flakes if you like.

4. Banana Prune & Chocolate Toasties

Slice few banana and Prunes in a bowl. Break fruit and nut chocolate bar into small pieces and mix all. Apply butter on both sides of sliced bread or sliced brioche and fill in the banana, prunes and chocolate mixture. Make toasties in sandwich griller. It goes awesome with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream as dessert or with a chilled glass of milk for kids. You can also hog on some outstanding Baked Chili Cheese Toast recipe, Spicy Toast recipe, Brown Bread And Egg White French Toast recipe and Tomato Concasse On Toast recipe.

5. Chicken Mayonnaise Sandwich

Grilled, Tadoori or Curried Chicken, sliced & mixed with mayonnaise is the most pleasurable thing for food lovers. To get the finger licking chicken sandwich grab a cup of sliced boneless chicken (grilled/ Tandoori / curried) , tomatoes, a slice of cheese, a fried egg, may be some lettuce, little mustard and a generous blob of mayonnaise. Mix everything & tuck it between 2 slices of multi-grain bread to make a perfect scrumptious sandwich. Now dig in the never-ending indulgence. You can also binge on Egg Salad Sandwich recipe , Veg Mayonnaise Sandwich recipe , Grilled Chicken Sandwich recipe and Chicken Cucumber Sandwich .