Over the past five years, universities and colleges around the world have introduced partial and full scholarships exclusively for Indian students, as they target one of the world’s largest potential markets, along with other growing student populations such as China’s and Mexico’s.

Among those wooing Indian students are Cornell and Stanford in the US, University of New South Wales (UNSW) and Macquarie University in Australia, the University of Sheffield and Newcastle University in the UK, University College Dublin, Ireland (UCD) and University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

The scholarships range from full coverage to partial subsidies and automatic discounts for Indian students admitted.

This year, for instance, Macquarie is offering scholarships worth AU $10,000 to all Indian students admitted in February 2019 or July 2019, across most courses in the streams of Science, Arts, Business and Medicine. Last year, UNSW launched a ‘Future of Change’ scholarship for Indian students that would include one full tuition waiver and 60 subsidies for postgraduate studies. And Newcastle University in the UK offered a new tuition waiver this year under a scholarship scheme framed in conjunction with the British Council

Some of the scholarships are funded by Indian endowments at these universities. At Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, Reliance Industries has created the Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship Program, for Indian students applying for the two-year MBA. Cornell, meanwhile, has a Tata scholarship for students from India, launched in 2009 for undergraduate studies at the university.

“The new schemes reflect a growing interest in Indian students among prestigious universities around the world,” says Arjun Krishna, co-founder of WeMakeScholars, a higher education information portal. “Offering financial aid helps institutes stand out amid the competition for the brightest young minds. If a student is considering two colleges of the same stature, for instance, an automatic scholarship could tip the scales.”

Scholarships also encourage more students to apply. After the Tata scholarship was launched, annual applications from India for undergraduate studies at Cornell increased fivefold, says Jason Locke, the university’s vice provost for enrolment. The scholarship covers up to eight semesters of study in architecture, engineering, economics or business.

“India has become a priority country for us, based on increased activity in the form of partnerships, research collaboration, corporate engagement, and alumni relations. So the scholarship provision for India has expanded for the 2018-19 academic year,” says Alex Metcalfe, director of international affairs at Newcastle University.

The right fit

Depending on the university, the scholarship may be merit- or need-based. Another variable is the application process. Cornell considers you as soon as you are granted admission. Elsewhere, the criteria include a combination of grades and work experience.

And sometimes, because they’re so new, the scholarship comes out of the blue. Vicky Dalwani from Nashik had no idea that University College Dublin offered a VV Giri scholarship to Indian students. It was only after the 23-year-old had applied for admission to the Master in mechanical engineering programme in 2016 that he found out about it. “I had to fill out a separate form and that was it,” he says. “All tuition was covered and all I had to do was foot my living expenses.”

UCD has been offering five such full-tuition scholarships to Indian students every year since 2015, applicable to all but medical courses. Anusha De, 21, was a recipient this year. She will head to Ireland for an MSc in quantitative economics in September. “I’m already paying off an education loan I took for my undergraduate studies, so money was of paramount importance,” she says. “In fact, I only applied to colleges in Singapore, the UK, Australia and Finland which had scholarship options.”

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