Budget International Study Courses Gaining Rapid Popularity


Termed as ‘budget’ education or blended degrees, these options are increasingly becoming popular among students from India. The allure of these programs lies not only in their affordability but also in their ability to alleviate financial burdens.

In the US, a four-year bachelor’s degree can cost anywhere between Rs 1-1.5 crore, covering tuition fees and living expenses. However, study abroad platforms like Leap, upGrad, and Great Learning offer hybrid programs that enable students to obtain the same degree for just Rs 45-50 lakh. These firms have forged partnerships with universities in various countries including the US, Germany, France, Canada, Ireland, and Finland to provide these hybrid services.

For instance, upGrad Abroad has collaborated with 80 foreign schools, IIIT Bangalore, and IMT Ghaziabad. Through this program, students complete part of their coursework in India before transferring to foreign universities to finish their education. This approach not only saves students a substantial amount of money but also allows them to obtain a foreign degree equivalent to that of regular students at these universities.

As an example, upGrad has partnered with Germany-based IU International University of Applied Sciences to offer a BSc Computer Science program spanning six semesters (or three years). The first two semesters are conducted online, with a tuition fee of Rs 4.07 lakh. Subsequently, students spend the next four semesters studying on campus in Germany, where the tuition fee amounts to approximately Rs 10.8 lakh. According to upGrad, this arrangement leads to savings of up to Rs 15 lakh compared to pursuing a full-time degree in Germany.

The company asserts that these courses are meticulously crafted following extensive discussions with foreign universities and Indian partners. Upon completion of the online portion of the course in India, students must fulfill specific requirements and achieve a GPA of 3-3.5 or higher to qualify for on-campus studies.

“There’s no compromise on the quality of students going abroad. The role of Indian institutes ends as soon as the online portion of the course is completed. The credits earned by a student during the online course are transferred abroad,” said Ankur Nyati, president at upGrad Abroad.

Mohan Lakhamraju, the founder and CEO of Great Learning, a provider of hybrid courses, highlighted the difficulty many students face in accessing high-quality global education due to its high costs and logistical challenges.

“With hybrid degree options from top universities, we are working on reducing these barriers to give more people a chance to experience world-class education,” he said.

These programs are gaining significant traction. For example, upGrad attracted nearly 4,500 graduate-level students last year. The hybrid model is particularly successful for courses in countries like Germany, France, and Ireland, where the cost of education is already lower than in the US.

Nyati noted that there is considerable interest in these programs in tier-II and III cities because students from these areas are aspirational but often lack exposure. “We have been able to break the affordability barrier for them. It’s not just the academic pedagogy. The six to eight months of online learning helps students navigate the cultural nuances of the countries where they will finish their degrees. We are also hiring a couple of German coaches to teach the language,” he said.

Another study abroad company, Leap Advantage, has partnered with Colorado State University, University of Delaware, Michigan Technological University, University of Detroit Mercy, and others to offer master’s degrees in various fields such as computer science, computer engineering, data analytics, finance, mechanical engineering, business administration (MBA), and health informatics. After completing six months of online courses in India followed by 12-18 months of on-campus education, students receive a three-year post-study work visa.

These companies assert that these universities are among the top in their respective countries. For instance, according to Leap Advantage, the 18-month mechanical engineering master’s program at Michigan Technological University boasts a placement record of 93.8%, with average salaries of approximately $96,000 per year.

While the accuracy of these claims requires verification, blended degrees also have many supporters, particularly in smaller towns. According to a survey conducted by upGrad, nearly 60% of the 25,000 respondents interested in studying abroad come from Tier 2 and 3 cities, compared to 42.8% from Tier 1 cities.

Read More: https://educationviewindia.com/

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