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! 

Eligibility for Master’s Degrees in the UK

 Types of Master’s degrees:

Postgraduate Taught Degree (M.Sc.): This one-year degree program requires students to attend regular classes, write exams and complete a project at the end of the course.

Postgraduate Research: Students work on a research project and at the end of the program submit a Dissertation.

Minimum required qualification

Most universities in the UK accept a three-year Bachelor’s degree (12+3) but there are a few universities that require a four-year Bachelor’s degree (12+4) for admission to a Master’s program. Therefore, students who have completed their Bachelor of Science (B. Sc.), Bachelor’s in Computer Science (BCS), Bachelor’s in Computer Application (BCA) and other similar three-year degrees are also eligible to apply for a Master’s degree.

Educational Grade

The most important requirement for admission to a Master’s program in the UK is the academic grade obtained in the Bachelor’s degree. A minimum grade of 2:1 at the bachelor’s level or in some cases a grade of 2:2 is also accepted with relevant work experience. You can convert your marks into the grading system followed by universities in the UK by referring to the table below:

First-Class Honours (1)marks of 70% or above
Upper Second-Class (2:1)marks between 60-69%
Lower Second-Class (2:2)marks between 50-59%
Third-Class Honours (3)marks between 40-49%

English Language Proficiency Test

Universities require evidence that you are proficient in the English language. This can be proved by taking the IELTS or the TOEFL (accepted by a few universities). The minimum score required on the IELTS is 6.5 out of 9, with a minimum score of 6.0 in each section and the minimum score on the TOEFL is 80 out of 120.

Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

The GRE score is required by only a few top universities and programs. Therefore, if you wish to apply to some of the top ranked universities, then it is recommended that you take the GRE.

Relevant work experience (recommended)

Work experience is not mandatory for all programs but is considered especially if the student has a weak academic background (low GPA). In case of programs that accept students from different academic disciplines, relevant work experience is a mandatory requirement. Minimum duration should be at least one year.

For more details and inquiries about pursuing higher education in the UK, reach us at 020-67444222 between 2:30 pm to 6:00 pm (Monday to Friday) and enroll for admission counselling for UK right away!

Advantages of Pursuing a Master’s Degree in UK

The UK is recognized as the second best international study destination after the USA. It offers students world class career prospects, state-of-the-art facilities and a multicultural environment. Some of the most reputed universities in the world are located in the UK. In fact, four of the world’s top ten universities are located in the UK.

 Some of the advantages of Studying in the UK are:

 1.   A wide variety of courses to choose from

Universities in UK offer a wide choice of subject to choose from, therefore if you are looking at studying a specialized subject then you can apply to universities that offer a Masters in that specific field (e.g. Artificial Intelligence or Machine learning) or if you are undecided about your specialization you may choose to study a general subject (e.g. Computer science)

2.    Shorter duration courses

The duration for a Masters Taught program is one year. Some universities also offer a two-year program which includes one placement year.

3.    Benefits of world leading resources and facilities

Most campuses provide students with an excellent learning environment which is complemented by well-equipped labs with latest technology and modern facilities. 

4.   Top quality Faculty with industry exposure

Most professors who teach at the university hold a Ph.D. There has been a constant transfer of knowledge between universities and the Industries through research projects. This enables students and companies to collaborate with each other.

5.   Scholarships and Jobs while studying

Some universities offer scholarships to international students. The amount offered may not cover the entire tuition cost but it will surely reduce the fees to some extent.

Students can also apply for the GREAT Scholarship offered by The British Council

6.   Excellent job opportunities

Computer Science or IT jobs have been classified among the “Shortage Occupations” List by the UK Government.

For more details and inquiries about pursuing higher education in the UK, reach us at 020-67444222 between 2:30 pm to 6:00 pm (Monday to Friday) and enroll for admission counselling for UK right away!

Live Webinar: Master’s Degree in UK for Computer Science & Related Fields

Are you planning to pursue a Master’s degree in the UK?

Do you require guidance regarding the application requirements, career opportunities and work visa in the UK?

Attend our FREE LIVE WEBINAR on Sunday, 3rd July 2022 and get in-depth guidance on:

  1. Admission criteria
  2. Application process
  3. Visa formalities
  4. Job prospects after the degree

Register here

The webinar is open to students from Computer Science and related fields.

Dilip Oak’s Academy is the pioneering institute in India for higher education abroad and since 1996, the academy has sent more than 30,000 students to various American universities. This year, the academy has also launched admission counselling services for master’s courses in the UK, primarily for Computer Science and related fields.

For more details, reach us at 020-67444222 or email us at support@dilipoakacademy.com

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.

Application timeline for Fall 2021

 

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If you are applying for fall 2021 the clock has begun to tick. So, don’t delay. Here is a detailed Timeline to help you start and streamline your application process:

October-December 2020 

Register for the GRE and TOEFL examinations – these examinations should preferably be taken by 15th December 2020.

October 2020

  • Make a preliminary list of universities which meet your requirements considering:
  1. Broad specializations you are interested in
  2. Expected GRE score
  3. Academic record
  4. Budget
  5. Recommendations by seniors studying in American universities

November 2020

  • Documentation
    1. Start working on your Statement of Purpose (SOP). SOP is a crucial document that provides insights into your purpose of joining the course and university, your personality, experience in the field and long-term goals. It should be around 500 to 800 words long, precise, interesting, grammatically and technically sound.
    2. Arrange for 4 sets of college and university transcripts.
    3. Choose your recommenders (preferably college professors/project guides/employers) and keep recommendation letters ready.

  November-December 2020

  • Test and application process
  1. Take the GRE and TOEFL exams latest by 20th December 2020
  2. Shortlist your final 8 to 10 universities.
  3. Complete online application process latest by 30th of December and send the required documents by courier. Of course, universities accept applications even till 31st March, so you can send them by January too in case of any delay.
  4. Request the ETS to forward your GRE and TOEFL scores to the universities you are applying to. (scores take minimum 2 weeks to come)

 After sending the applications

You will most likely receive admission decisions from Feb/March. Once you receive the decisions, email your acceptance. This is very important especially when you are offered funding.

  1. When you have accepted the university’s offer of admission and the documentation formalities are complete, the university will send you the 1-20, an immigration document, which is essential for obtaining a visa. Some universities send I-20 along with the acceptance letter.
  2. Prepare the visa documentation according to the total cost of one year mentioned on the I-20
  3. Study the visa application formalities specified on the official website of the applicable US Consulate.
  4. Apply for a visa interview date – you can apply for a visa interview 120 days before the joining date mentioned on your I-20. Generally, students start applying for a visa from the third week of April. Once you get the visa date, proceed with the interview and complete the remaining formalities until your departure date.

At Dilip Oak’s Academy, we provide detailed guidance on these processes under our admission counselling services that include, selection of universities, drafting SOP and LOR, documentation process and visa counselling. Till date, we have sent 30,000 students to various universities in America including MIT, Stanford, Cornell, Carnegie Mellon and other top-ranked universities. To enrol, call us on 91-020-67444222, 91-8007878495.

 

 

 

 

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