Weakening ringgit forces Malaysian parents to rethink study options

Weakening ringgit forces Malaysian parents to rethink study options

PETALING JAYA - Parents planning to send their children to study overseas, particularly the United States, are beginning to feel the pinch with the ringgit continuing its slide against the greenback.

Many are reconsidering their options by looking at other destinations for their children's higher studies.

Some are also planning to shorten the study period of their children to cope with the extra costs incurred, while there are those who are thinking of asking their children to take up part time jobs to help finance their education.

The ringgit has slipped to its lowest since August 2009 at 3.5280 to the US dollar.

A media practitioner said he enrolled his daughter for an American degree programme with a local college two years ago.

"She's doing a twinning course with two of the four years to be spent in the US. At that time, the ringgit was holding up fairly well against the US dollar.

"With the ringgit's slide now, I'll have to cough up much more to finance my daughter's studies in the US," he said.

Retired pilot Wong Yoon Fatt, a father of two, said he planned to send his 18-year-old daughter overseas as he had saved up funds for his children's education.

"However, if the ringgit continues to weaken, I may shorten the duration of their studies abroad. From three years, I may consider cutting it to just a year or two abroad," he said, adding that he would encourage his children to take up part-time jobs during their vacation.

Housewife Noorhaidah Mohd Ibrahim, 61, said if the economic situation worsened, she was prepared to send her 21-year-old daughter Tasneem to study at a local university.

"If we can get the same quality of education here, then why not?" she said, adding that she was planning to send Tasneem to pursue higher education in Britain.

Mass communication student S. Samhitha, 21, said she had a choice of continuing her final-year overseas but opted to stay back because of increasing costs to study abroad.

"I can still get the same degree here. However, the thing I will miss is the exposure of studying in a different country," she said.

Law student Janani Silvanathan, who is in Britain, said she would feel the pinch of the weakening ringgit in her next term when she would have to travel back and forth from Bristol to London weekly.

"Transportation will be more expensive. A train ticket from Bristol to London costs RM180 each now," the 24-year-old lamented.

A 20-year-old film making student who identified herself as Stephanie said she was planning to study in Canada but would have take up a part-time job.

"The depreciating ringgit will not severely affect me but my parents will definitely incur higher costs," she said.

Law student Lisa J. Ariffin, 25, who is studying in Cardiff, Wales, said she was more careful in spending money, even on food.

"I can't eat out as often and will always look out for good bargains or offers," she said.

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