Scholarships in USA

High dollar exchange rates, higher money woes for int’l students

It’s finally happened: the US dollar and euro currency are worth about the same for the first time in two decades. While US dollars is king now, knowing the dollar exchange rate against other currencies could be a strong determinant in study abroad decisions for international students.

This might spell good news for summer backpackers and exchange students to Europe if you’re flying in from the US, but what about the rest of the world?

Three-quarters of international students fund their U.S. degree from personal or family sources or their employment. What happens when the U.S. dollar is the strongest it has been in a generation, devaluing currencies around the globe?

— Karin Fischer (@karinfischer) July 18, 2022

News of the euro-dollar parity has rocked the global economy for the past week. If anything, it’s a rude wake-up call to how volatile other currencies can be measuring up to the dollar: it has gained 15% against the British pound, 16% against the euro and 23% against the Japanese yen.

It’s even worse if your local currency value was already weak against the dollar in the first place, as is the case for many developing countries. Just this week, the Indian rupee has depreciated to an all-time low rate, hitting the 80 rupee mark against US$1. Elsewhere, the Nigerian currency crashed to a historic low on Monday: the naira-dollar exchange rate was last valued at 620 nairas per dollar. 

US dollar exchange rate 2022

The euro currency has hit parity with the US dollar for the first time in two decades, upending the global economy in the post-pandemic landscape as many countries grapple with inflation. Source: Daniel Munoz/AFP

High dollar exchange rates add financial crunch to international students

Both India and Nigeria are top source countries for international students in the US. Indian students are the second-largest group of foreign learners in the country — in 2021 alone, 62,000 US visas were issued to Indian nationals admitted to American universities, and the numbers are expected to swell even further this year.

For Nigerian students, the US offers a multitude of study and post-study opportunities that are dimming in their home country due to a flagging economy. In a move to incentivise more Nigerians to American campuses, the US also offers attractive scholarships and visa interview waivers for prospective students.

Chasing the American dream will now become more distant for many who rely on scholarships and part-time jobs to fund their studies in the US. “A depreciation in the currency is forcing students to increase their budget by lakhs of rupees,” Jay Barot, an incoming Indian student at Vanderbilt University told the Times of India.

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