For many years Indian students have preferred to travel to these top 3 study destinations in the world: the US, United Kingdom, and Canada. According to studies these three countries rank highest on many parameters like overall student satisfaction, global exposure, and return on investment after graduation. In the US alone, Indian student enrollment jumped from a total of 76,503 students during the 2005-06 academic year to over 132,000 total headcount during the academic year 2014-15. These countries are home to some of the best universities with top-notch faculty and facilities. Moreover, students have the option to select from a range of schools starting from private inclusive liberal arts colleges to full-fledged comprehensive public universities. So how do you go about choosing which country is right for you? You need to weigh the pros and cons of each, based on the following criteria.

Note that the following amounts are in US dollars and represent the average cost per year.

Cost of Tuition

The most important and biggest cost Indian students factor in before arriving at the decision on where to study is the cost of tuition. The exchange rate of Indian rupee against the currency of each of the three countries also variably affects the tuition cost incurred in Indian currency. The difference between public university and private university tuition can vary widely, and in some countries, the cost of tuition can be fairly high. When it comes to global standards, the US has a reputation of having the highest average cost of tuition. Tuition in the US averages $24,000 a year, but it can easily go up to $50,000 per year. In the UK, the average tuition is slightly lower at just under $18,000. On the other hand, the “Great White North” or Canada is the top selection of Indian students who prefer the best education on a budget. Because of low tuition cost and flexible immigration policies, India has sent a record number of students to Canada during the decade spanning 2005-2015

  • US average tuition per year: $24,000
  • UK average tuition per year: $17,860
  • Canada average tuition per year: $10,730

Cost of Living

Cost of living is the next big factor that needs to be considered after ascertaining the total cost of tuition at bachelor or master’s level for overseas education. The cost of living varies from country to country and largely from city to city. Generally, an average cost of living by country can give you a glimpse into how expensive it might be to live and study abroad. For instance, in the UK you'll need almost $20,000 a year to live abroad while studying. In the US, that cost runs just under $15,000 - pretty sizable savings. But if you really want to conserve cash while you're living abroad, you'll get the most bang for your buck in Canada (once again). The cost of living in Canada for students averages out to $9,000, although it can be as low as $7,550 and go up to over $11,000.

  • US average cost of living per year: $14,651
  • UK average cost of living per year: $19,490
  • Canada average cost of living per year: $7,550 - $11,300
Country Cost National Marketing Strategy Path to Immigration Work Permits
US Button Flag Icon Highest No No

On-campus work for upto 20 hrs/week: 12 month total curricular practical training(CPT) during study

Post-study: 12 months optional practical training(OPT); STEM majors can extend the period to 36 months

Canada Button Flag Icon High

Yes

Int’l Education Strategy

Yes

Extra points for immigration applicants with Canadian credentials

Work Permit not required: during study for upto 20 hrs/week

Post-Study work-permit: for upto 3 years

UK Button Flag Icon High

Yes

Int’l Education: Global Growth Prosperity

No

20 hrs/week: if you are in a degree programme or above at a higher education institution

Post-study work permit: cancelled in April, 2012

Doctorate graduates: get one year extension

Salary After Graduation

It all boils down to how worthy investment in overseas education is going to be for you. And an approximate amount of expected salary after graduation will help you figure that out! While it partly depends on the degree programme you choose to study and the school you study the course at, some countries offer an overall higher average starting salary for new grads. Take the UK, where even though the cost of living and the cost of tuition is fairly high, the average starting salary hovers around $41,000. Canada fares better with an after graduation salary of almost $48,000. And, to compensate for higher tuition costs and costs of living, the US offers a much higher salary for grads at $58,000. Apart from these immigration policies of these countries also need to be considered. At the end whether or not you can work after graduation depends on how flexible the immigration policies of that country are.

  • US average salary after graduation: $58,714
  • UK average salary after graduation: $41,384
  • Canada average salary after graduation: $47,843

For more helpful advice related to studying abroad, check out our blogs.

About the Author: Merette Kennedy is an American writer and avid book lover.  As a former international student, she completed her Masters Degree in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies from the University of Limerick in Ireland. She is currently residing in Boston, Massachusetts, and is in the process of completing her first fiction-based novel.

About the Co-Author: Mustafa Sutarwala is an all-round creative marketing graduate from Amity University Dubai, and is currently working in Dubai. He's inclined to digital marketing communications and works as the Creative Ninja for SchoolApply.