Making money in education


The foreign universities bill aspires to impose economic constraints on foreign players by creating an investment requirement of ~ $ 11 Mn and prohibiting them from repatriating profits from their academic ventures.  So why should anyone want to enter India?  Unless they’re into philanthropy, or just plain nuts?

Well the truth is that there are enough ways to still make money for a foreign educational provider.  This report in Mint reveals more than usual

Foreign universities want to expand their presence in India, senior administrators at these universities say, but they don’t expect to immediately build their own campuses even if the law is passed…“My research has shown that there is tremendous interest in India and a whole gamut of potential ways to interact, but setting up a campus in India is not what every institute is interested in doing,” Green said, adding that the interest in India is more in research partnerships and cooperation

Read between the lines.  One can set up technical partnerships with Indian colleges and charge a royalty (for practically nothing).  The Indian college advertises their foreign tie-up for selling seats and increasing their prices.  Everyone wins.

Similarly, there are several colleges that are keen to get foreign faculty – preferably famous ones – on their board.  Even if it’s for a few days, or for an executive workshop / programme.   The big ones aren’t averse to this practice either.  There’s a lot of money in such programmes.

Those who are interested in the big game, can set up operating companies that manage the entire academic programmes.  This is similar to how hotel operators work – get someone to create the shell and then operate them for a fees / royalty.

There are other ways too.  Point is, that the regulations will never prevent a foreign player from making money, or repatriating it.  It only creates perverse incentives to circumvent the system.

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