One of the biggest constraints MS aspirants face is to deal with the whooping cost of MS study in foreign university. It’s not always easy to fund it from your own personal resources. You need to apply for loan or do something which can make you have a lump-sum amount of scholarship.
This scholarship or loan will aid you in getting through the fees of the university along with your living and studying expenses in foreign countries like US, Germany, UK or Australia.
First thing first
Once you are done talking with your parents and banks, now, look inward. Ask yourself clearly why you would like to do this course. Find inherent motivation. If you are going for MS just for excellent placements or amazing reputation, your motivation will run dry soon after you hit a wall! Find a reason that will not go away even when you will face tremendous obstacle. Know that reason and write it down.
Now, once you have at least one solid reason to do MS course, go to top universities and see the budget. Then if your budget doesn’t match with the fees in the top universities, go for 2nd tier or 3rd tier universities. You don’t need to worry about the university only as long as you are confident about the academics in the institute. Even if you are not able to go for the best of the best, you can be best of the best by sheer will and effort.
MS fee structure
The fee structure often varies drastically. If you take the average of the lowest and highest fees of the top most universities you will see that the median is somewhere near to US $45,000 to US $50,000. The fees are no way less and it’s a huge amount of money.
Even if it is not prudent to place your entire emphasis on the placement and compensation package, but still you need to do a cost benefit analysis and an opportunity cost analysis.
Cost benefit analysis
To understand about how to do cost benefit analysis you simply need to do a simple math. It’s called payback period. Now how would you understand the payback period? Simple! Take a blank sheet of paper. On the right hand side, first make a list of your most preferred universities and their fee structure.
The fees may vary and that’s fine. On the left side of the paper, now write down the lowest placement offered from that university in the last year (worst case scenario). You would get to know the range of the salary they offer even if you cannot get the exact figure. You can write directly to a professor teaching in the same university for more information.
Now, your work is to compare the two – whatever you have written on the right side of the paper and whatever you have articulated on the left side. For example, suppose you pick Stanford University and you see that the course fee is around US $78,000. Now you also get to know the least salary per annum you can get after your MS in Stanford is US $26,000.
The payback period will be then 78,000/26,000 = 3 years. That means within 3 years you would be able to get back your money. Do this calculation for all of your preferred universities and then pick the lowest payback period; that university should be your first choice in terms of fees.
Now, there are many more factors you need to take into account. One of them is what if you didn’t invest the money in MS? What then?
Opportunity cost analysis
Most of our decisions we make on autopilot without thinking what serves us most. Opportunity cost analysis can help us with making concrete decisions. Now suppose, you didn’t invest the median fees of US $45,000 – $50,000 in the MS course; instead, we are depositing it in the bank.
How much interest would we earn back? Is it smaller than the salary we are expecting at the end of the MS course or more? Before making any investment, thus, you need to answer these questions and do your own calculations. Once you are clear enough that doing MS is the rightest thing to do in terms of benefits received, go for it without worrying about anything else.
How to cover your expenses in US during masters?
The most volatile factors in regards to fees are bank loans and scholarship. Bank loans are loans offered or educational purpose. If you decide to take loans from public banks, the unsecured lending would be available up to Rs. 400,000. After that you need to keep a collateral security.
This way you can avail up to Rs. 15, 00,000 from public banks. If you choose to go for private bank, unsecured lending would be up to Rs. 7, 50,000 and secured would be up to Rs. 20, 00,000 to Rs. 30, 00,000. But the variable factors in availing loans largely depend on the bank and their offerings.
If you try to have scholarship, they are mostly based on merit. And the scholarship is dependent on the sole discretion of the university. Thus, these two factors are quite variable in their nature. So you cannot depend on them clearly. Then, what to do for reducing cost or covering the cost of living, staying and studying? The best way is to work while pursuing your MS.
It would be tough for you. Managing your study along with working! Usually you would be allowed to work for 20 hours in a week. The compensation you can expect around $6-$12 per hour. That will cover your living expenses. The last resort may be the fee waivers. You can talk to the university and ask for the waivers but it’s completely dependent on the situations and the discretion of the university.
It’s always better to take things in your hands rather than depending on the other variable factors. Be ready for the worse and try to build an emergency fund for the worst case scenario. Most students work during their MS because even $6 per hour helps in living in US or any other countries.
And moreover before going for foreign land read about their culture, the type of expenses, fees structure and have a number in your mind about how much cost you need to incur to cover all your expenses. This expected number will help you in tough times and will also assist you in finding solutions if anytime you need to avail extra cash.