IIT Chicago’s online degree programs are a blessing in pandemic times

With a drastic reduction expected in public education due to the pandemic, this institute offers Online Courses at 33% of the on-campus tuition fee.

As the world comes to terms with the scale and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries including India are rightly prioritising the health of its population over education for the time being. Experts believe a drastic reduction in public education is on the cards, which will subsequently result in comparatively expensive private education. In India, however, Illinois Institute of Technology, IIT Chicago’s online degree programs which are being offered for just 33 per cent cost of the actual on-campus tuition fee is no less than a blessing in the pandemic situation created by the outbreak of Coronavirus.

Illinois Institute of Technology, commonly known as Illinois Tech is a private, independent, not-for-profit university based in Chicago with programs in Engineering, Science, Architecture, Business, Law, Design, Human Sciences, and Applied Technology.

For today’s students, the coronavirus outbreak means a huge loss of learning time, with potential repercussions for their schooling and careers in the years to come. But the offering of IIT Chicago for Indian students looks more lucrative, given the predictions about the potential financial impact on education.

According to experts, the crisis will have a significant impact at two different levels: the loss of education spending for the duration of the crisis, as well as the resulting additional cost, and the expected downturn in future financial resources available to the education sector.

They point out that global inequalities in access to education will widen and the global learning crisis will be exacerbated, implying that education could become a victim of spending cuts, as money is channelled elsewhere. As ever, low-income countries are the most vulnerable.

Nevertheless, the online education program of Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT Chicago) for India is disruptively the best opportunity for students, especially for those looking to pursue their education from a university of international repute.

Providing UG, Masters and even PhD programs, the tech-focus university is especially becoming a favourite among working professionals due to the versatility of the programs offered.

The best thing about its online degree programs is that real classroom video lectures (recorded classes) are provided to the students, who can watch them as per their convenience and even multiple times. However, they complete their degree at the same pace as on-campus students.

“They get same project work, same assignments, appear in exams on the same date as do the on-campus students. Even they receive the exact same degree certificate but at just 33 per cent cost of the total tuition fee charged for the on-campus degree programs,” says Mr. Sri Kumar Panyam, Director India Operations, Illinois Institute of Technology, adding, “The significant difference in fee is what makes the online degree program lucrative for Indian students, especially the working professionals.”

Sri Kumar Panyam

Associated with the university from the last six years, Mr Sri Kumar has been interacting with the parents as well as enrolled students. He has also managed to create a useful parent network successfully.

Given that fact that the university provides three modes of study (on campus, online in India and hybrid mode of study), working professionals are provided the option to switch from online mode to on-campus mode, in case they are transferred to the US.

Interestingly, the GRE and GMAT tests have been done away with, keeping the pandemic crisis in consideration. Also, the absence of TOEFL or IELTS tests has made the online degree programs of Illinois Tech more lucrative.

That’s not all. Those learners who complete their online degree programs from Illinois Tech are deemed as American graduates who become eligible for a H1B Visa under American Graduate Pool quota. Every year, the number of visa applicants under the American Graduate Pool quota are very less compared to the general quota.

Although, the programs are quite attractive but it is certainly not only about the costs. The phenomenal and strong alumni network of the university is something that makes it stand out.

Speaking about the same, Sri Kumar Panyam, who is also the chief mentor of Indian Students Association in Chicago, says, “We prepare students for professions that require technological sophistication, innovative mindset and entrepreneurial spirit. From magnetic tapes, cell phones, bar code technology to Pentium4 chip, Amazon Alexa and Bira91 Beer, the inventions and innovations of our alumni have changed the course of human history.”

Some of the famous names from India, who happened to study from Illinois Tech, are Rajeev Chandrasekhar (MP from Bangalore), Jamshyd Godrej (Managing Director of Godrej & Boyce), Sanjay Kirloskar (Chairman of Kirloskar Brothers Ltd), GV Prasad (Co-chairman and Managing Director of Dr Reddy’s) and N. Srinivasan (Managing Director of India Cements and owner of Chennai Super Kings).

The list is too long but to specify, almost 75,000 world renowned businessmen, industrialists and others have completed their education from the international university, which speaks about the quality of education on offer.

With two annual intakes, in January (Spring Intake) and August (Fall Intake), this world-class university has established three registered offices in India. Mr Sri Kumar Panyam, along with his team, provide free services including assistance right from the admission and throughout the program at these offices.

While the full repercussions of COVID-19 are yet to be seen, IIT Chicago’s online degree programs for Indian students will continue to change the transform the education sector, adapting to the situation as it evolves in the country. The world’s education sector must learn from this university quickly if it is to effectively overcome the unprecedented – and largely unknown – challenge now facing it.

Students who want to switch to the reputed international university for their higher studies and working professionals who want to upgrade their skills while keeping their job intact can take advantage of this splendid opportunity by visiting IIT Chicago’s official website www.iitindia.iit.edu

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