Recent innovations in technology, finance, and the education sectors have made the study abroad marketplace ripe for disruption.
India’s demographic dividend is often touted as a game-changer. If we have so many young, bright minds, then India’s future is surely equally bright, we are told. But have you paused to wonder if we are building enough support structures to nurture our youth’s aspirations?
An inefficient market of international higher education
Today, there are millions of young Indians, many beyond the confines of the metro cities, who are eager to achieve social mobility through a top-quality education, international exposure, and a global career. A study abroad opportunity is often the most secure pathway to pick up the relevant skills, credentials, and networks to succeed. However, to a young student today, the aspiration of an international degree is often a shot in the dark. There exist a plethora of counsellors, coaching centres, financiers, and visa consultants who provide fragmented and piecemeal guidance. Often, the murkier underbelly of the study abroad marketplace exploits student ignorance and guides them in a direction that maximizes the advisors’ commissions and profits over the student’s future.
A breakthrough innovation rooted in experience
Recent innovations in technology, finance, and the education sectors have made the study abroad marketplace ripe for disruption. GradRight has emerged as a first-of-its-kind ed-fin-tech startup that brings together students, universities, and banks on a single platform to reduce informational asymmetry and optimize outcomes for all stakeholders. Aman Singh and Sasidhar Sista, co-founders of GradRight, have seen the shifts in the higher education sector from close quarters over the last decade.
Together, they anchored the set-up of Ashoka University, India’s premier liberal arts university today, and also played a significant role in the development of Krea and Plaksha University. In their meetings with thousands of students and parents across India, they could sense palpable anxiety and uncertainty around college choice and financing decisions. Family and peers, often with good intentions, but equipped with a poor understanding of the emerging trends in higher education, exerted a disproportionate influence on the student decisions. They felt an urge to build something that will empower students to take control of their education and their future. This led to the creation of GradRight.
Right college at the right cost
GradRight supports a student’s journey right from deciding their college and program to securing an education loan that enables them to enrol in that program. “SelectRight” is a proprietary data-driven tool built by GradRight that utilizes over 6 million data points to provide unbiased recommendations to students. Students are able to understand their probability of admission to various programs which are classified as ambitious, moderate, or safe. A personalized “match score” further equips students to select the programs that are best suited to their career aspirations, are easier for banks to fund, and provide a return that justifies the cost of the program. Once a student identifies their dream program, they are able to secure bank loans through the “FundRight” bidding platform that allows banks to make education loan offers to students based on their academic profile. Oftentimes, both students and banks are unable to get the best deal due to informational inefficiencies without a platform like ‘FundRight’. The platform increases the transparency of the entire process and allows the student to get the best interest rate and conditions on their bank loan in a competitive bidding process. Banks making bids can also be certain that a student will choose them based on their best offer. Finally, universities partnering with GradRight to enable financing for their admitted students can breathe a sigh of relief that their students are able to secure funding and join their program. Throughout the process, the team at GradRight works closely with the student to provide personalized guidance and address any anxiety or doubts they have. From a student’s perspective, the end-to-end support is simplified, digitized, and fast-moving. The days when students run from a counsellor’s office to a bank and back may be numbered.
GradRight has captured the imagination of young minds by solving a unique problem at the intersection of higher education, finance, and career pathways. The aspirations of Indian youth are bursting at their seams. We will need many like GradRight to create an ecosystem of support that harnesses the true potential of India’s demographic dividend.