It’s not too late to apply for fall 2023

The United States is without a question every student’s first choice when thinking about studying abroad for master’s. To convert this dream into reality, many of you may have already started with your applications for the fall 2023 intake. Most universities began accepting applications in October. You might be thinking that it’s too late to apply for the fall of 2023 now that January has arrived. The good news for you, It’s not too late!

Let’s delve deeper into this topic.

  • Roughly 10% of the universities had their final deadlines on 31 December
  • Around 10% have their final deadlines on 31 Jan.
  • However, the majority (about 80%) of universities allow you to apply till March and some of them even accept applications till May.

Which means that you can still secure an admission in a good university even if you start with your applications now!

Why Fall 2023

Fall intake is usually the most preferred among Indian students and for good reasons

  • Fall intake offers a more diverse range of courses
  • Fall intake allows students a better access to funding
  • Many universities have waived of GRE requirement for Fall 2023
  • It also allows students to explore part-time on-campus job opportunities such as research assistant and teaching assistant
  • Probably the most important reason for the popularity of fall admissions is the higher availability of post-study work options for students who start their studies during fall

You must move quickly

Although most universities will still be accepting applications till march, you need to consider time required for documentation and university shortlisting. Documentation includes procuring transcripts, drafting SOPs, personal statements, diversity statements LORs and resumes. University shortlisting involves lot of research to select right universities according to your profile and interests. You also need to move quickly because even after securing an admission, securing a visa can be equally tedious considering you are already on a tight timeline.

We are here to help you

We at Dilip Oak’s academy are here to help you.

  • We are the best when it comes to admissions counselling. We will provide you with a well-balanced list of universities with safe as well as ambitious options, thus increasing your chances of admission.
  • We offer counselling for SOPs (statement of purpose), LORs (letters of recommendations) and resumes and help you prepare everything from personal statements to diversity statements
  • We also provide guidance for visa along with mock visa interviews

Dilip Oak’s academy can be your perfect guide into this often confusing admission process. We have been in this business since 1996 and we have more than 30,000 success stories to attest to our expertise in this field. Our counselors are experienced professionals who interact with every student personally to understand his/her unique requirements and provide guidance accordingly.

Best Wishes and Happy applying!!

As India’s leading Study Abroad Consultants, we offer GRETOEFL, and IELTS coaching, GRE Self Prep and guide students with university selection, application essays, and visa counseling under our Admission Counseling Services for USA, Germany and UK.

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! 

F1 visa interviews to begin mid-May

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.

According to the recent update from the US Embassy in Delhi, visa interviews for students will begin in mid-May.

However, the embassy has also stated that Indian applicants are unlikely to get a second or third chance if the visa is not approved in the first interview. You are therefore requested to keep checking the website for visa dates and thoroughly prepare for the visa interview.

If thorough guidance related to :

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

you can also enroll for our visa counselling services and along with the above mentioned services, also avail of mock visa interview appointment with Mr. Dilip Oak. To enroll, call us on 020-67444222 or email us at support@dilipoakacademy.com.

US Student visa update 

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 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

At the moment, many students are not able to get visa appointments and are confused as to how to proceed further. According to the recent update, the US Consulate has declared that students who have been previously issued any kind of US visa (B1/B2/L1/L2/H1-B/H4) can avail of the dropbox facility to expedite the process. 
The student has to login into his/her account on www.ustraveldocs.com, and answer a few questions to be eligible to avail of the dropbox facility. Following this, the student can directly book the OFC appointment. If the appointment goes well, the student will be directly issued the F1 visa within a week. 

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:

You can also contact us at the academy for any visa-related guidance and attend our LIVE visa workshop (webinar) by Mr.Dilip Oak on 17th April, 9 am to get in-depth assistance on the visa process. Register here: https://rzp.io/l/YoS0BjR3

US Student visa update 

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 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

At the moment, many students are not able to get visa appointments and are confused as to how to proceed further. According to the recent update, the US Consulate has declared that students who have been previously issued any kind of US visa (B1/B2/L1/L2/H1-B/H4) can avail of the dropbox facility to expedite the process. 
The student has to login into his/her account on www.ustraveldocs.com, and answer a few questions to be eligible to avail of the dropbox facility. Following this, the student can directly book the OFC appointment. If the appointment goes well, the student will be directly issued the F1 visa within a week. 

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:

You can also contact us at the academy for any visa-related guidance and attend our LIVE visa workshop (webinar) by Mr.Dilip Oak on 17th April, 9 am to get in-depth assistance on the visa process. Register here: https://rzp.io/l/YoS0BjR3

F1 Visa: Top 13 Frequently Asked Questions

Q.1 What is an form I-20 and how do I obtain it?

The Form I-20 is an official US Government form, issued by a certified school, which a prospective non-immigrant student must have in order to get an F-1 or M-1 visa. Form I-20 acts as proof-of-acceptance and contains the information necessary to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee, apply for a visa, or change visa status, and be admitted into the United States. The Form I-20 has the student’s SEVIS identification number, which starts with the letter N followed by 10 digits, on the top left-hand side.

Q.2 How early should I apply for my student (F1) visa?

You are encouraged to apply for your nonimmigrant student visa as soon as you have your I-20. To ensure you get an early and timely date you may apply at anytime. However, a student visa may be issued no more than 120 days prior to the start date mentioned on your I-20.

Q.3 I received my visa, when should I travel?

You may only enter the United States within 30 days of the beginning of the course of study stated on your I-20 form, regardless of when your visa was issued.

Q.4 What if I receive the I-20 form to a different school?

If you receive an I-20 form after scheduling your appointment, then you can inform the US consular officer of the new I-20 form at the time of the interview.

Q.5 I was working on an H-1B visa and have now been admitted to a university as an F-1. Do I need to return to my country to apply for a student visa?

No. Once you are in the United States, you do not need to apply for a new visa because the visa is only for entry into the United States. Check with USCIS to determine if you need to adjust the status of your existing visa. If you leave the country, however, you’ll need to apply for the student visa in order to re-enter the United States.

Q.6 What is the SEVIS system and how does it affect me?

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) program requires schools and exchange programs to verify the enrolment status of all new and continuing foreign students and exchange visitors. Student visa applicants are required to pay a SEVIS fee before a visa can be issued. Applicants are then required to provide the SEVIS I-901 fee receipt as proof of payment. The SEVIS website has more details on this.

Q.7 Can an F-1 student work in the United States?

Full-time students on F visas may seek on-campus employment not to exceed 20 hours per week. After the first year in student status, an applicant may apply for employment off campus with authorization from USCIS.

Q.8 Can my dependents apply for a tourist visa instead of dependent visa if they only want to visit me and stay in U.S. for a short period of time?

Yes, they can apply for a Tourist visa.

Q.9 How do I read and understand my visa?

As soon as you receive your visa, check to make sure all your personal information printed on the visa is correct. If any of the information on your visa does not match the information in your passport, or is otherwise incorrect, please contact the issuing authority (i.e. the US Embassy) immediately.

The expiry date of your visa is the last day you may use the visa to enter the United States. It does not indicate how long you may stay in the United States. Your stay is determined by the Department of Homeland Security at your port of entry. As long as you comply with the Department of Homeland Security decision on the conditions of your stay, you should have no problem. Further information about interpreting your visa can be found at the Department of State’s Consular Affairs website.

Q.10 My visa will expire while I am in the United States. Is there a problem with that?

No. You may stay in the US for the period of time and conditions authorised by the Department of Homeland Security officer when you arrived in the US, which will be noted on the I-94, even if your visa expires during your stay.

Q.11 What address should I mention on Form DS-160, if my current home address and my address on the passport is not the same?

You must mention your current home address in India and not the address printed on your passport.

Q.12 What if I receive an I-20 from a better university after getting the F1 visa?

If you have obtained your visa and need to change the name of the university on your visa, you have to go through the complete process once again by scheduling a new appointment after paying the application fee and service charges.

Q.13 Is there a quota for the number of student visas issued each year?

No. All qualified students receive visas.

For detailed guidance, avail of our visa counselling services by attending our Visa workshop webinar on 27th February at 9:00 am. 

If you are not already an Admission Counselling student at the academy, register for the webinar here: https://rzp.io/l/YoS0BjR3

Once you pay and enroll, you will receive the zoom registration link shortly.

US Student Visa: Basics and application process

The US government issues different types of non-immigrant visas.  For example, tourists and business-men are issued B-1/ B-2 visas and those authorized to work in the US are given an H-1B visa. Students going for vocational courses for shorter duration such as, in flying schools,  English language courses etc. get an M-1 visa.

However, most students going to an accredited university for a full-time academic program, require an F-1 visa stamp.

Students are allowed to apply for the F-1 visa 120 days before the date of reporting mentioned on their I-20 form. The I-20 form is an official document issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The following important details are mentioned in the document:

  • the name and passport number of the student
  • the name of the university which the student is joining
  • the program to which the student has been admitted
  • the date of commencement of the program
  • the date by which the program has to be completed
  • the total cost of education for one year.

The fall 2022 semester will begin sometime in the third week of August. So, if you plan to join an American university this fall, you can start applying for your visa from the third week of April.

How to Apply for an F1 Visa?

  • Get your I-20 from the SEVP institution
  • Apply online by filling the DS-160 form
  • Pay the general visa application fee ($160)
  • Pay the SEVIS  fee ($350)
  • Schedule your OFC appointment and F1 visa interview
  • Attend the F1 visa interview on the scheduled date

Keep in mind that you should have adequate liquid funds to cover the total cost of one year of education – this is mentioned in the I-20 form. Many students are under the wrong impression that their sponsor needs to deposit this entire amount in the bank and that otherwise their visa can be rejected. This is not true. Funds can be shown in the form of bank deposits as well as other liquid assets including education loans. Of course, having adequate funds alone does not guarantee a visa approval. The consulate officer also considers the following points:

  • whether you have admission to an accredited and reputed university
  • whether your academic background is good
  • whether your GRE score is satisfactory
  • whether your sponsor’s income is adequate

You should also have good communication skills and should be able to give convincing and honest answers to the consulate officer’s questions.

Start preparing your financial documents now and apply for an F-1 visa as soon as you get your I-20 form from the university you desire to attend. 

For detailed guidance, avail of our visa counselling services by attending our visa workshop webinar on 20th February or 27th February at 9:00 am. 

If you are not already an Admission Counselling student at the academy, register here: https://rzp.io/l/YoS0BjR3

Once you pay and enroll, you will receive the zoom registration link shortly.

Student visa application for Spring 2021

 

Deferred admission to spring 2021_

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most US universities could not offer in-person classes for fall 2020 semester and almost all of them offered online classes instead. However, a majority of students did not opt for online classes due to the following reasons:

  • Even for the online medium, students will have to pay full tuition fees for the entire semester. (Some universities have reduced fees by 20 to 25 per cent)
  • The online semester will mean no financial assistance, no campus jobs/RA/TA which then makes the course unnecessarily expensive to bear.
  • The online semester does not offer the exposure and opportunities that a student otherwise gets while on campus.

Considering this, most of the students have deferred their admissions and are now gearing up to join the spring 2021 semester. However, looking at the rising numbers of coronavirus patients in the US, there is confusion about whether universities will take in-person classes for spring and whether it will be feasible for international students to join the semester.

Though a majority of universities plan on resuming in-person classes for the spring semester, they are yet to make a final decision. Some universities are still sceptical whether they would resume in-person classes for spring at all. For instance, California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White recently announced that all 23 campuses, including Chico State, will conduct winter and spring 2021 courses primarily virtual. More details will be forthcoming as Chico State receives further guidance from the government.

Universities have also observed that most international students did not opt for online classes and hence they are considering introducing hybrid courses which will enable students to get F1 visa.  However, the final decision of universities is expected to be announced by the end of November/early December depending upon the pandemic situation in America.

In this case, we would recommend students to request an I-20 for the spring semester but not rush into applying for the visa. The Consulate has also advised students to observe the situation and apply for visa three to four weeks before the date of reporting. In case you apply for a visa and obtain one, and the university cancels in-person instruction for the spring semester, you will have to revalidate the visa for fall 2021. For revalidation, you will require new I-20 for fall 2021 and it can be done through the Dropbox facility.

 

 

 

 

How will the new F1 Visa regulation affect existing and new students?

What will happen to my F1 visa_ When can I return to the US_

This blog is regarding the recent announcement by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) about the continuation of F1 visas for students studying in the US and taking fully online classes for the fall 2020 semester due to the pandemic.

As per the regulation, students are not allowed to take fully online courses in the fall semester while in the US and they have to return to their home country before the semester begins. After returning, they can continue to pursue their semester online from their home country but they cannot return to the US until the university resumes in-person instruction. This does not mean that their F1 visa has been cancelled. It means that the embassy will not renew the F1 visa until the university resumes in-person instruction.

Students will not lose any credits earned in the fall 2019 and spring 2020 semesters. They will be required to take a break for only one semester, and again resume their studies in spring 2021. Also, this will not affect CPT or OPT in any manner.

The regulation also states that as an alternative, the student can either transfer to another school with in-person instruction or adopt a hybrid model with a maximum of one class or three credit hours online. This decision will not hamper the current visa process for students aspiring to join next year or those who have deferred their fall 2020 admissions to spring 2021.

New students, who have deferred their admission to spring 2021, can continue with their visa process since it is likely that in-person instruction will resume by January 2021. However, if the spring semester is also changed to online instruction, you will not be able to go to the US. In that case, you will have to defer your admission to fall 2021 and accordingly get your visas reissued for fall 2021.

Why 2019 is a Good Time to Pursue MS in the USA – Part 1

Blog-Why-US-2019

For years, Indian students have been flocking to universities in the United States of America to pursue higher education – mainly MS degrees. However, due to uncertainties in the recent immigration policies, there is some reservation in the minds of MS candidates about whether the USA is still the best option. In this post, we are covering a few points about why 2019 is actually an opportune time to apply to American universities.

1] Trump’s New H1B Policy

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require technical expertise. In late January, US president Donald Trump announced changes in the H1B visa lottery system, which will favour students with advanced degrees in STEM fields from US universities. The new approach may result in an increase of up to 16% H-1B beneficiaries with a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. university.

Statistical Advantage of the New Lottery System


H1B-New-System 

2] Beyond H1B – A Path to Citizenship

In January itself, Trump expressed his views on merit-based immigration in a tweet. He indicated that reforms would be introduced to ensure ‘simplicity and certainty’ to the stay of H1B-holders in the USA and also incorporate a path to citizenship. Realizing the need for legal immigration of skilled workers, he has said “we want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the U.S.

11-01-19-Trump-01

Further, a new law has been proposed in the US Congress to abolish country-wise quota for Green Cards. If passed, it could benefit thousands of Indian professionals waiting for a long time to secure Green Card. The proposal has been co-sponsored by 13 Senators and received great support.

To conclude, our advice to students is that do not give up on your dream of pursuing an MS in the US because of unverified rumors. The quality of education provided in American universities, the research facilities and the internships and work experience you will be able to secure are unparalleled. Seize the opportunity and make the most of it!