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Wise study

Unfavorable exchange rates cost Indian students abroad ₹548 billion annually

February 27, 2024

A recent study by Wise, a global technology company, sheds light on the considerable financial hurdles faced by Indian students pursuing higher education abroad. The research, which goes beyond tuition and living expenses, underscores that Indian international students collectively lose around ₹548 billion annually due to foreign exchange fees – a frequently overlooked financial burden. With approximately 133,135 Indians studying overseas, this equates to an average annual loss of 41 lakhs per student from transfer-related fees. These fees, often entailing hidden charges within marked-up exchange rates by traditional providers, typically arise during transactions involving different currencies.

The study identifies the ten most expensive study destinations globally, factoring in both tuition costs and hidden fees. It reveals that international students worldwide overpay approximately ₹5.3 billion annually in concealed transfer fees when transferring money across borders.

According to internal Wise data, Indian students studying in the United States experience the highest expenditure on education, averaging ₹2,262,676 per year. The United States also emerges as the costliest in terms of transfer fees, with students losing an average of ₹75,799 annually. Other popular study destinations, New Zealand and Australia, follow closely, with international students paying ₹48,086 and ₹46,725, respectively, in transfer fees.

The study underscores the increasing demand among Indian students for overseas education, as reflected in RBI data showing that spending on global education fees and expenses exceeded ₹5165 million in 2022.

Surendra Chaplot, Head of Global Product at Wise, highlights the importance of transparent and cost-effective payment solutions for students and families. He underscores the significant impact of currency conversion fees, amounting to ₹24,000 annually for an average remittance of ₹800,000 per student. Chaplot advocates for increased awareness of hidden expenses, such as foreign transaction fees and undisclosed exchange rate markups, emphasizing Wise’s commitment to fee transparency and the use of mid-market exchange rates to empower students in making informed financial decisions during their study abroad experience.

Also read: 57% of Indian middle class aspires to study abroad: Report

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