Education Loans: Everything you need to know

After applying successfully for the Fall 2023 intake of your dream American university, many of you might be busy planning to arrange the finances for the program, right? Applying for a student loan is one such popular option preferred by many students and their parents. However, it is necessary to have the right advice before making a choice. 

This article is aimed to give you a broad overview of the student loan process and will also answer many of your queries about the same. So, let’s get started! 

What is an education loan?

An education loan is funds borrowed from a bank or a financial institution to cover the cost of tuition fees, allied expenses such as living and insurance costs.

Who is eligible for an education loan?

The eligibility for availing loan is determined by each bank/ institution independently, and several variations can be seen in them. However, the common requirements are as below:

  • The applicant and co-applicant should be citizens of India over 18 years of age
  • The student should have secured a minimum of 50% marks in HSC, and a bachelor’s degree
  • The student should have a confirmed admission from an overseas university (if applicable)  
  • The co-applicant should have a regular source of income 

What is the maximum amount of loan one can avail of?

There is no straightforward answer to this question, as it depends on many factors. But, many institutions offer loans with no upper limit if the collateral is provided. In the case of unsecured loans, usually, the upper limit would be around 45 to 50 lakhs.   

What are the applicable interest rates on education loans?

Various institutions, including public and private sector banks, offer a range of choices to students aspiring for education loans. Most of these loan schemes have a floating rate of interest calculated based on the repo rate and a spread decided by the respective institution. The interest rates are generally seen to move from  9.55% to 13%.  In addition,  a few nationalized banks also offer a concession of 0.5% for women students. However, please note that every institution has a different schedule for revising the rates; , it is advised to consult the representatives of such organizations to find out the exact cost of the loan. 

What is the tenure of a student loan? 

Education loan is generally offered for a period ranging from 10 to 14 years. 

How much time is required for the processing of an education loan?

Under normal conditions, student loans are processed in 15 to 25 days.

How to repay an education loan?

The terms of repayment of an education loan vary from bank to bank, and it is difficult to generalize them. But, as a common practice, a grace period of 6 to 12 months is provided after completion of the program.        

Documents required for applying for an education loan:

  1. Duly filled application form
  2. Passport-sized photographs of the applicant and the co-applicant
  3. Photo ID: PAN/ Passport/ Driving License/ Aadhaar / Voter ID of the applicant and co-applicant
  4. Residence proof: Passport / Driving License/ Aadhaar / Voter ID of the applicant and co-applicant
  5. Academic documents:
  • HSC Mark sheet           
  • Mark sheet of subsequent years of graduation
  • Mark sheet of entrance exams like GRE, IELTS, TOEFL etc. 
  • Scholarship documents (if applicable) 
  1. Proof of admission: Printed admission letter from the college or university (if applicable) 
  2. Bank statements of co-applicant: Usually statements of the last 8 to 12 months 
  3. Income proof of co-applicant:
    • For a salaried person:
      • The last  three  salary slips
      • Form 16 of the last two years
    • For a self-employed person:
      • Income Tax returns of the last two years
      • Financial statements of the last two years certified by CA
      • Proof of office (Lease deed, a Title deed, Utility bill etc.) 
  4. Collateral documents:
    • Property title deed
    • 7 / 12 extracts in case of land
    • Registered sale agreement etc.

The list shown above is representative only. The requirements may vary depending on the financial institution under consideration. Thus, it is always better to cross-check the requirements from the authorized representative of the concerned organization.

Additional Information:

Can I apply for a loan even if my admission is yet to be confirmed? 

Fortunately, the answer to this question is yes! Almost all banks accept loan applications even if admission to a university still needs to be confirmed or is in process. In such a case, the application is assessed based on the overall student profile, including academic performance and other criteria, such as the credit profile of the co-applicant. The bank may also approve the loan by issuing a sanction letter with the condition that the admission must be confirmed before its disbursal. 

Is there any tax benefit on availing of student loans? 

Yes. Under section 80E of the Income Tax Act of India 1961, an individual can claim a tax deduction on the interest paid on such loans. The maximum deduction that one can obtain is Rs. 40,000.

What is acceptable as collateral?

Collateral acceptable is either a movable asset or an immovable property. Financial assets such as fixed deposits in the respective bank are acceptable in the former category. The latter category of immovable property includes a flat, a house or a plot of non-agriculture land.

I hope this clears most of your doubts about education loans. I wish you all the very best! 

FAQs on F1 Visa appointments for Fall 2022

To help you get a fair idea of the current scenario regarding the F1 visa appointments, below are a few important and frequently asked questions and their responses as per the recent update from the US Embassy.

1) When will appointments for F1 visas begin for fall 2022 applicants?

F1 appointments for fresh applicants will most probably start from 17th May. Initially, they will open appointments till the end of June. This year, they will accommodate all the students intending to apply for an F1 visa for fall 2022. Therefore, students are requested to not panic and apply for the interview date only after they receive the I-20 from the desired university.  Also, we suggest that you take the visa appointment in Mumbai rather than in Delhi or Chennai.

2) If my visa was rejected the first time, when can I apply for the interview next?

They will most probably give a second chance to rejected applicants between 15th August to 1st September.

3) If I have any other US visa (B1/B2/H1/H4/L1/L2) which has expired, can I still get a drop box facility for an F1 visa?

Yes, you can, provided your visa expired not more than 4 years ago.

4) If I apply for the F1 visa through drop box, how long will it take to receive my passport?

You are likely to receive your passport within 7 working days.

5) Can I make changes to the already submitted DS-160?

Yes, you can make all the necessary corrections including the name of the university.

6) Do I need to show the same financial documents for the visa interview which I submitted during the application process?

 No, your documents cannot be the same. For visa interview, you mainly need to carry the latest documents including bank statement, fixed deposit receipts, loan sanction letter etc.

7) What are the vaccination requirements before landing in America?

As per the CDC regulation, you need to be double vaccinated and you are required to take the RT-PCR 24 hours before boarding the flight.

For further guidance related to :

  • filling the DS-160 form
  • payment of visa fees
  • scheduling/changing visa appointments
  • document verification

You can enroll for our visa counseling services and also avail of a mock visa interview appointment with Mr. Dilip Oak. To enroll, call us on 020-67444222 or email us at support@dilipoakacademy.com.

Advantages of Pursuing a Master’s Degree in Germany

Here are top five reasons to pursue a Masters in Germany:

1. No tuition fees: The greatest advantage of pursuing your Masters in Germany is that international students do not have to pay tuition fees since higher education in Germany is mostly funded by the state government. However, some universities charge a nominal semester fee and a small number private universities charge a tuition fee which is nevertheless very low compared to those charged by other countries.  

2. Industry-based specializations: Germany offers degree programs in very specialized fields such as Mechatronics, Commercial Vehicle Technology and, Advanced Signal Processing that are designed in keeping with industry trends. This increases your chances of getting high-paid jobs across diverse sectors. 

3. Quality education and internationally recognized degrees: German universities are known for their world-class education in terms of the advanced infrastructure, updated curricula and quality scientific research that they offer. A majority of these universities have affiliations with industry which helps students get internships and job opportunities after completing their courses in Germany as well as other countries in the European Union.  

4. Low living costs: Compared to other European countries, living costs in Germany are very low. Students also get concessions for housing and public transport.

5. Job opportunities: Germany offers a large number of jobs in technical fields and in Information Technology. After completing their Master’s degree, students can extend their visa for up to 18 months to find a job. They can also take up paid internships while studying. Indian students can also take up the on- and off-campus jobs for 150 full days or 240 half days. As mentioned above, students can also get good jobs in the European Union.

To help you get started with your preparation, we offer GRE Coaching, TOEFL Coaching, IELTS Coaching, and also Admission Counseling through which we provide guidance on the selection of universities, application essays, and visa counseling. 

Eligibility Requirements for Master’s Programs in Germany

1. Academic credentials

A majority of German universities require you to have completed 16 years of formal education (i.e. 12+4), i.e. a four-year Bachelor’s degree before going for MS. This is applicable to all students with a technical background in Engineering, Pharmacy, Architecture, and so on. For other fields like Arts, Management, and Computer Science, students are required to complete 17 years of education (i.e. 12+3+2).

German universities have a very high cut-off percentage. Hence, you need to have a minimum of 70% to 75% in your degree course or an equivalent CGPA of 7.5 to 8.5.

If you are planning to pursue an MS in Business Management, Finance, and Business Analytics, you are required to have relevant work experience of a minimum of 1 to 3 years.

2. Qualifying examinations

TOEFL or IELTS: English Language Proficiency Test scores are mandatory for programs taught in English. A minimum band score of 6.5 to 7 in IELTS or a score of 85+ in TOEFL is required by a majority of German universities. At Dilip Oaks Academy, we offer TOEFL and  IELTS coaching along with rigorous practice sessions and mock tests. (hyperlink underlined words)

GRE: a majority of German universities do not require GRE scores. However, some of the top universities, known as TU-9 universities, do require a GRE score. We recommend that you take the GRE if you aim to get into one of the TU-9 universities. Our  GRE Coaching will enable you to thoroughly prepare for the GRE. (hyperlink underlined words)

German Language: Some programs taught in English may require German Language proficiency certified up to the A1 or A2 level. Some universities may even require proficiency certified up to the B1 level.

We also offer Admission Counseling through which we provide guidance on the selection of universities, application essays, and visa counseling. 

The Art and Science of Drafting your Statement of Purpose

Drafting your Statement of Purpose should be considered to be, essentially, a communication exercise, which you ought to take very seriously. Why do we say this? Well, for two reasons: first, going forward, there will be many such situations in which you may have to interact with others by means of the written word. And second, subject-matter knowledge is not enough. You would need to find an effective way to communicate your message so as to evoke the desired response from its target reader(s).

Below are a few tips to draft a decent SoP:

  • Cover all important points: make sure you mention your academic accomplishments and major achievements, if any, along with papers presented, seminars and workshops attended, projects undertaken, and internship experience you have had, in their order of importance.
  • Highlight your soft skills: exhibiting good communication skills will enhance the impact of your academic performance and may even prove to be decisive if you happen to be tied with another applicant for admission whose academic performance is identical or equal to yours.
  • Avoid clichés: As far as possible, avoid words like “team player”, “leadership qualities”, etc. Try and find better ways to showcase such qualities or accomplishments. For instance, you may mention how effectively you worked with others in a close-knit team to successfully complete your project in a timely manner.
  • Keep it simple: It’s a rough draft. The beautification of language can come later as your suggested draft takes on a more sophisticated shape.
  • Start early: Some people tend to put things off until the last moment. On the other hand, starting early will give you more time to reflect on what you intend to include in your SoP. It will also minimize the risk of inadvertently leaving things out, enabling you to present a comprehensive narrative and present a strong case for your candidature.
  • Get help from experts: There are experts around who can help you draft an attractive Statement of Purpose thereby increasing your chances of getting admitted to the university of your choice. So, avail of their expertise and ensure that your SoP is a winner.

The F1 Visa Process

Most of you have received admits from the universities and are now in the crucial phase of visa application. Here is a quick look at the visa process, chronologically.

 

1. filling in the DS 160 form
2. paying the visa fees
3. scheduling appointments for:
a) submitting biometric data and documents at the Offsite Facilitation Centre and
b) the Visa Interview
4. post visa interview

1. Online Filling of the DS 160 Form
The first step is to fill the DS 160 form online. Filling the form generates a CONFIRMATION NUMBER. You will require this number to print the ‘Receipt of Payment’ (which, in this case, is printed out before you make any payment!) since it contains the CGI reference number that is required if you are going to pay the visa fees in cash.

2. Payment of Visa Fees
You can now pay the visa fees by:
1. Electronic Fund Transfer
2. Mobile Phone
3. Cash payment at any Axis bank branch (there are over 1800 branches across the country) If you make cash payment of the fees (recommended), be sure to take along the ‘Receipt of Payment’ that you printed out earlier. The bank will need to see the ‘CGI Reference Number’ on it when you go to pay the visa fees. If you fail to produce the ‘Receipt of Payment’ the bank will not accept your visa fees.

3. Scheduling the Appointments
You can schedule appointments only after the receipt is ‘activated.’ Usually, this takes an hour. Once the receipt has been activated, you will have to schedule two appointments:
1. Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC) – this appointment is for you to submit fingerprints of all ten fingers, photographs (digital and physical) and required documents. This appointment has to be scheduled at least one day prior to the visa interview date.
2. Visa Interview – this is the actual visa interview appointment.
Note:
1. You cannot appear for both appointments on the same date; and appointments for consecutive dates may not always be available. There have been instances where there is one whole week between the OFC appointment and the appointment for the interview. If that happens to you, you will have to make two trips to the consulate.
2. After the visa has been granted the passport is couriered to the home address (this facility is available for select cities only) or can be collected from the VFS center nearest to the home city.

4. Post Visa Interview
After you have been granted the US visa you can track your passport to check if it is ready for pick-up.
Once the passport is delivered at the pick-up centre you can collect it in person. In case you are unable to collect it, you may send your family member to collect it on your behalf along with your ID proof. Instructions on passport pick-up can be found HERE

If you have any queries related to:

  • filling the DS-160 form
  • payment of visa fees or
  • scheduling/changing visa appointments

these can be made at:

  • Email: support-india@ustraveldocs.com
  • Telephone: +91-120 – 4844644 or +91 40 46258222
  • Skype: user name: ustraveldocs-india
  • Online Chat: www.ustraveldocs.com

TIMINGS:
Monday-Friday: 8:00 am to 8:00 pm
Sunday: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm

Recommendation Letters – Part 2: Ingredients of a Good Recommendation Letter

What Recommendation Letters should Cover

Recommendation letters should cover the following points (also see the links to great sample recos at the end of this post):

  • How long the recommender has known you and in what capacity (teacher, seminar or project guide, practical supervisor, project leader etc.)
  • His or her assessment of your academic performance (relative rank etc.), intellectual abilities, work habits and character
  • Your special achievements – especially in projects or in papers presented
  • Your communication skills – how well you were able to present your seminars
  • Your social skills – ability to work well with others, leadership qualities
  • Some background about the recommender – this is useful in the case of professors whose work in a field might be good but little known outside India; things to highlight include area of work, achievements in that area (papers published, awards etc.), prominent places worked in, length of experience and so on

Applying for Transcripts from Pune University

In Pune University the process of applying for transcripts is as follows:

  1. Download the transcript form from the website of Pune University
  2. Fill up the form and submit the form in person at the transcripts department – this is located on university campus. Do not forget to carry original mark sheets if required for verification. In case you are asked to submit mark sheets, submit photocopies not originals.
  3. Pay the required fees immediately at Bank of Maharashtra counter located on the university campus. Continue reading

The University Transcript: A Comprehensive Description of the Details Included

Your transcript should contain the following:

  • a ‘bona fide certificate’ containing:
    • your name
    • the name of the college where you studied
    • the name of the course you studied
    • the duration for which you were at the university/college and date of completion of the course
  • the examination scheme which, includes details such as:
    • whether all subjects are compulsory or whether there are elective subjects, a project etc.
    • the number of semesters in the course and the duration of each semester
    • the duration of each lecture
    • the minimum marks required to pass in a subject
    • the maximum number of grace marks that may be given so that a student may pass or obtain a higher class
    • the score scheme used: grade point average (GPA) or aggregate percentage/class system
  • the ‘mark sheet’ section which, states:
    • the breakup of subjects studied in each semester
    • the number of hours per week for lectures and practical work in each subject
    • the maximum marks per subject
    • the marks you obtained in each subject
    • your total marks, percentage (or relative grade), class and relative rank in the class, college or university in each year
  • the highlights and history of your college or university (in brief)

Related Links

Recommendation Letters – Part 1: Who the Best Letters Come From

Recommendation Letters – What They are and Who You Should Get Them From

In the context of higher education in America, recommendation letters are statements by teachers, supervisors or employers which highlight your qualities, background and achievements and show that you are a good candidate for a doctoral or master’s program of studies.

To make sure that you are an applicant of good caliber every university will ask you to submit at least 3 recommendation letters along with your application form. If you are a student, these recommendation letters should come from teachers who have taught you important subjects or supervised relevant project work, research papers or seminars. If you are a working professional and your work experience is relevant to the field you plan to do your degree in, one letter can come from your immediate superior in the organization (if you have been working for a very long time then you can take letters from two people in organizations you have worked with, but at least one recommendation should be academic).

Continue reading