Western Union Business Solutions now lets universities accept international students' tuition payments and fees in Indian rupees, The Western Union Co. unit announced July 17.
Available through an agreement with India's premiere ICICI Bank, the service will facilitate the processing of foreign tuition invoices and student fees directly via students' home country bank accounts. It initially will be available to participating universities in the United States and Canada and will roll out to additional markets in the coming months, Western Union said in a press release.
"This service will allow for the fast and reliable delivery of funds to universities, along with streamlined reconciliation and full student reference information," Raj Agrawal, president of Western Union Business Solutions, said in the release.
Western Union Business Solutions' steps to enable local-currency payments, including the Indian rupee, significantly will reduce the expense and effort necessary for students to pay their tuition, Peter Tom, director of the cashier's office at the University of Southern California, said in the release. "It will reduce our administrative costs, a savings we are passing on to our students by waiving fees for wire transfers made using" Western Union, he said.
According to the Institute for International Education's Open Doors report, students from India make up 14% of the international student population in the U.S. In 2010/11, there were 103,895 students from India studying in the United States, Western Union noted in the release.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada also reports that the number of Indian students granted visas to study in Canada saw a steep increase in recent years. By the end of 2010, the number of student visas the organization issued to Indian students had tripled from 2008 levels, the release notes.