As Ringgit weakens to RM4.08 against the US dollar, several private universities based locally have started amending their courses and fees to compensate for the depreciating Ringgit.
Programmes offered at the university are being restructured to lessen the financial burden faced by their students.
Taylors University’s American Degree Transfer Programme Dean, Dr Andy Nazarechuk said its twinning courses allowed students to study on local campus for the first two years and abroad for the following two years. Now, it will be changed to three years study on local campus and only one year abroad. Taylors would also look into introducing more local courses by January next year.
UCSI University’s International University Collaboration Centre Manager, Erniechitra Dzureen said the weakening Ringgit would most probably not deter parents from sending their children overseas. This is because Malaysian parents are generally willing to spend whatever amount needed to give their children the education they want.
Although education in Australia costs almost twice as much compared to United Kingdom, parents still choose to send their children to Australia for their tertiary education. When the Ringgit was stronger, parents had to fork out an extra of RM150,000 to RM180,000 for an Australian education. Now, they will have to fork out even more. USCI expects that their students will opt to complete their courses locally instead, especially if the Ringgit depreciates further.
Another private university in Damansara (which declined to be named) will be increasing their course fees, effective from January 2016. After the fee restructuring takes place, the university expects to see a drop in the number of students enrolling in its twinning courses.
As the Ringgit continues to depreciate against the US dollar, many students studying overseas will have no choice but to tighten their belt. Though students could be studying in various parts of the world, their fees are typically paid in US dollar.
Students who are yet to leave overseas for their education realise that they will have to be more careful with their expenditure and may need to work on campus to earn some pocket money to cover their expenses. Some will see their fees increase up to RM44,000 per semester.
Not only will their fees increase, other expenses like hostel fees or accommodation rental, food travelling expenses and books. Even a night out with friends would now require budgeting. In addition, travelling back home for semester breaks will cost more too – even up to RM1,500 one way.
Even students under scholarship are not spared as they still have other expenses like food and lodging. They would need to opt to cook more than eating out.