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Sending your child overseas for education? Read this first!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Every week The Afternoon D&C gives our junior readers and their parents some tips and tricks about the vast field of education. This week, as the admission season has arrived, thoughts of crossing foreign seas termed 'further education' and that too 'overseas' would have definitely popped up in the head. If you are nodding your head (by agreeing) while reading this, then avidly read on as the CEO and Co-founder of BookMyForex Sudarshan Motwani, shares about everything you need to know before entering the this new phase of your life..

Admitting kids in the finest of schools, enrolling them in best-in-class coaching centres and providing them with the most-relevant learning aides to boost performance, Indian parents leave no stone unturned when it comes to their child’s education. In fact, India ranks second (only behind China) when it comes to sending students overseas for higher studies; the country is much ahead of Germany and has more than triple the headcount in this global race when the US is brought into perspective. The credit simply goes to Indian parents’ uncompromising attitude to ensure their child’s academic success.

But, overseas education also comes with a range of challenges unique to its own, the biggest being outward remittance, or simply, sending money abroad. Apart from the dynamics of changing currency, there’s a lot that you should know in order to avoid making it a very costly affair:

Double-check the fee structure:
Go through the prospectus once again, as some universities have module-wise courses which require individual payments for each module and standalone examination fee to be paid during examinations. Communicate your doubts to the relevant authorities, in order to avoid any unwanted situation that can leave you in a veritable tizzy. This exercise can also help you to come across and apply for scholarships that are available.
 
The Government policy:
The Liberalised Remittance Scheme allows you to make remittances up to a sum of USD 250,000 for educational purpose in a financial year. Anyone who wishes to send money to his or her kids, needs to provide their proof of identity, proof of residence, source of funds(1 year bank statement/ITR), as well as PAN details. If the money has to be transferred to the institution, it can be done under the “education” category by providing a copy of the Invitation letter having fee structure defined, photo cum identity proof, source of funds (1 year bank statements/ITR) & PAN. An I-20 Form is required in case of American universities. The  Funds must be received directly from the remitter's savings account through NEFT/IMPS/RTGS/Cheque to partnering bank in case you are using a fin-tech like Bookmyforex.com. However, all payment methods are subject to clearance to initiate the remittances. Students can also pay fees directly using their savings account.

Make the most out of your money:
You’d rather want your kid to make good use of your money than burn it in the currency exchange. Global currencies are very dynamic in nature and are subject to constant deviations. A change of 10 paisa in conversion rate (which is less than 0.16% vis-a-vis the USD-INR transaction) will cost you about $400 for an outward remittance of USD 250,000. However, there are a few online RBI-authorised forex platforms like Bookmyforex.com which, despite facilitating lowest possible price through their tech-driven approach, also allow you to hold a particular price for up to 3 working days. Such platforms enable you to save as much as 6.5% on your standard bank transactions, which can result in savings of up to $16,000.

Choose the right forex:
The most popular method of transferring funds from India to abroad is the traditional wire transfer, also known as SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) transfer. But this involves dual charges levied by the home branch as well as the receiving branch, which needlessly increases the overall cost of education. An innovative alternate method to transfer money abroad through traditional bank remittance products is by using a forex card which can be carried abroad. These cards are Visa/MasterCard powered alternatives which can be used as an international credit or debit card. Forex marketplaces such as BookMyForex.com offer these forex cards, with zero charge whatsoever. All of the charges associated with using plastic money abroad get instantly obviated by choosing the correct service provider.

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