Overseas education now a distant dream for many

PETALING JAYA - The stronger greenback and pound sterling against the ringgit has made studying in the United States and Britain a more distant dream for many Malaysians.

A parent, who wished to be known as Julie, said she has to review her expenses as her daughter will leave for England in September.

"She took some time to decide where she wanted to study. I was watching the exchange rates closely and was not prepared for how low the ringgit would fall," she said, adding that she hoped her daughter would land a government scholarship.

Another parent, Noor Azimah, said she could still afford to keep her eldest daughter in Britain.

"We budgeted RM300,000 (S$108,000) for the three years of her studies and so far, it has remained within it," she said.

She said if the ringgit continued to weaken, it would affect her decision to send her three other children overseas.

The ringgit fell to 3.77 against the US dollar and closed at 5.75 against the pound sterling.

Meena Raj, 24, is doing her Master's degree through distance learning to save costs.

"It's a cheaper option and the total comes up to £6,000 (RM34,000)," said Meena, who works with a non-profit organisation for people with learning disabilities.

ASA Overseas Education Specialist senior operations manager Stanley Tan said: "There are expensive and cheaper options. You need to do your homework and find a university that suits you, your budget and expectations."