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The below content is purely for informational purposes and is not intended to constitute advisory of any kind. Please note, these are in-depth articles which are best viewed on large screen devices like laptops, desktops and tablets. The position reflected in this article has been updated as of February 15, 2024.

Pursuing higher studies abroad is an exciting proposition and has become a cherished dream for many students and their families. However, studying abroad can be costly and involves financial responsibilities requiring meticulous planning. In this article, we will understand the banking and financial aspects that will help you plan your overseas education.  

 

Have you estimated the cost of living for your international studies?

The most important step in moving abroad to study is to research and estimate your overall expenses, including the cost of living in your destination country. These include:

  • Tuition and university-related fees, including textbooks and co-curricular activities
  •  Visa and travel-related expenditure, including travel and health insurance
  • Accommodation expenses
  • Day-to-day living expenses, including groceries, meals, local transportation, etc.
  • An emergency fund for medical/travel/unplanned exigencies

In addition to the above, you should keep a buffer to account for any currency fluctuations during the course of your study. Taking all the above factors into consideration, studying overseas can be an expensive proposition. Generally, as a student, you will either self-finance the amount or consider a loan to cover the expenses.

 

Financing your overseas education

Basis your estimated cost of living, your next step should be to identify suitable financing options to fund your studies abroad. As a student, you have various financing options available at your disposal.

1. Education loans: Almost all leading banks and Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) offer loans for overseas education. These loans come in two forms secured loans, which necessitate collateral, and unsecured loans, which do not. The decision to provide secured or unsecured education loans is subject to the internal credit policies of the bank. You may be required to provide collateral if the loan is above ₹7.5 lakh.

Education loans typically come with a moratorium period of six to 12 months, which varies from bank to bank. During this period, you can:

  • Defer loan repayments altogether; or
  • Repay only the interest that is accrued during the moratorium period; or
  • Start making EMI payments on the loan.

ICICI Bank extends education loans to support your studies at leading foreign universities.

Apply for Education Loan

Before availing an education loan, it is essential to conduct a thorough review of the applicable interest rates offered by your chosen loan provider, as this will determine your EMI. You can also avail tax benefits under Section 80E of the Income Tax Act, 1961, on the repayment of your education loan. Please note, that this benefit is available only under the existing tax regime and can only be claimed by the person who repays the loan (either the student or the parent, as per the case).

You can use ICICI Bank’s expense & tax benefit calculator to ascertain the same.

To avail an education loan, you need to submit a set of documents. Click here to refer to the checklist. 

 

2. University scholarships/grants: You should look for scholarships or grants that may be provided by your university. You should submit your application for these scholarships keeping in mind the deadline set by the university.

3. Part-time jobs: Many countries permit international students to work part-time. Working part-time can help you cover some of your expenses, including tuition fees or living costs. Additionally, it may also add to your work experience.

 

Opening a student account for your overseas education

Before leaving for studies abroad, international students should open a student bank account or obtain a forex card to manage their finances overseas. These options are safer than carrying traveller's cheques or cash, reducing the risk of theft.

Banks like ICICI Bank provide a variety of country-specific student accounts and card options. These include:

 

1. International bank accounts: 

Certain banks offer migrating students the convenience of digitally opening country-specific accounts while they are still in India.

For instance, ICICI Bank UK allows students to open a Home Vantage Current Account instantly using ICICI Bank UK iMobile Pay. You can open this account digitally while you are still in India or from the UK. You also get access to internet banking, debit card, and mobile banking.

Similarly, ICICI Bank Hello Canada offers Permanent Residents (PR) and work permit holders the convenience of opening a Canadian chequing account before moving to Canada. ICICI Bank India customers can also open a Canadian savings account in their home country before their move. ICICI Bank Canada has collaborated with RBC Royal Bank of Canada to help newcomers (PR, study and work permit holders) settle in Canada by giving them access to their products. This collaboration provides account holders access to over 1,200 RBC branches and 4,200 RBC Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) across Canada, an RBC credit card with a limit of up to Canadian Dollars (CAD) 15,000, plus other exclusive offers.

Click here to know how to open an international bank account.

Mandatory requirements for student visa in Canada

 

Student Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) for Canada: If you want to study in Canada, you must open a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) account with any bank in Canada. This is a way to show that you have enough money to pay for your living expenses while you are there. The money from the account is released to you in instalments throughout your program.

ICICI Bank Canada offers a Student GIC account for students travelling to Canada.

 

Students applying through the Student Direct Stream (SDS) visa, must open a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) account with approved banks in Canada. A GIC is a fixed deposit that has a guaranteed rate of return over a fixed term and provides proof of funds required for the SDS student visa application. Funds can be transferred from the student or parent’s account. Once your account is funded, you shall receive an ‘Investment Balance Confirmation’ (IBC) certificate which is to be used as proof of funds while applying for your student visa. 

 

The funds from the GIC account are released to the student in instalments over the course of 10-12 months. This helps cover a part of their educational and living expenses while studying in Canada. ICICI Bank Canada offers a Student GIC account which gives students access to a dedicated digital platform, 24/7 contact center support and an easy application process. Students can apply for and open the account digitally and instantly while they are still in India. 

 

ICICI Bank Canada has collaborated with RBC which provides Student GIC account holders access to over 1,200 RBC branches and 4,200 RBC ATM’s across Canada, an RBC credit card with a limit up to CAD 2,000, automated monthly transfers from ICICI Bank Canada GIC to their RBC Student Account, plus other exclusive offers. 

 

To read more on the FAQ’s on ICICI Bank Student GIC Account, click here

 

Open Student GIC Account

 

2. NRI accounts: You have the option to open Non-Resident Indian (NRI) accounts in India, such as Non-Resident Ordinary (NRO), Non-Resident External (NRE), and Foreign Currency Non-Resident Bank (FCNR(B)) accounts. These accounts help you ensure seamless money transfers between your home country and the country you are studying in.

Open NRE Student Savings Account

 

3. Student travel cards & Forex Cards: Travel cards are beneficial for international students because they allow you to pay in the local currency and avoid any conversion charges.

Apply for Student Forex card

Conclusion

Creating a financial plan to estimate the cost of living while studying overseas is important. These expenses can either be self-financed or financed through scholarships or bank loans. You may also open an international bank account and get a forex card before you leave so that you can transact in the local currency and save on the foreign exchange conversion fees.

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Disclaimer:


The contents of this article/infographic are meant solely for informational purposes. The contents are generic in nature and are not intended to serve as a substitute for specific advice on any matter whatsoever. The information is subject to updation, completion and verification and the applicable norms may keep changing materially from time to time. This information is also not intended for distribution or use by any person in any jurisdiction where such distribution or use would be contrary to applicable laws or would subject ICICI Bank Limited/its affiliates to any licensing or registration requirements. ICICI Bank Limited/its affiliates and their representatives shall not be liable for any direct or indirect losses or liability incurred arising in connection with any decision taken by any person on the basis of this content. Please conduct your own due diligence and consult your financial advisor before making any decision. Terms and conditions of ICICI Bank and third parties apply. ICICI Bank is not responsible for third party services. Nothing contained herein shall constitute or be deemed to constitute an advice, invitation or solicitation to avail any products/ services of third parties.