Every year, thousands of students from India leave their home country to fulfill their dreams of studying abroad. There are several reasons that bring Indian students to international universities.
According to The Hindu, some of the biggest reasons include lack of top-quality programs for advanced degree in Indian universities, competitiveness of international education, foreign university’s degree more valuable in the Indian job market than a local degree, and better facilities, laboratories, and a more favorable culture of research, among others.
Recognizing this, StudyFree, a US-based international edtech startup, helps Indian students make their education dreams come true.
Founded by Dasha Kroshkina in 2018, StudyFree helps students to study abroad for free with the help of grants and scholarships. It operates as an online platform that helps applicants increase their chances to get a scholarship and be admitted to universities abroad. The platform offers over 15,000 programs from a bachelor’s degree to Ph.D. with scholarships around the globe. Currently, StudyFree has over 25,000 active users from 108 countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Africa, Kazakhstan, Brazil, and Asia.
StudyFree allows students to evaluate their admissions chances and receive recommendations on improving their admissions portfolio, get access to a database of 15,000+ programs with scholarship opportunities worth over $107,000, and a step-by-step admissions plan with actual deadlines. The platform also provides samples of all admission documents and video instructions on how to prepare them, all the necessary resources for admission and relocation, and also a personal mentor to help students get it all done effortlessly.
The startup claims to have helped 23,000 students, with 98% admission success rate, and get funded for a total of $4.1 million in scholarships and grants.
StudyFree is focusing on the developing markets. However, among other developing markets, the company’s interest is on India as the founder believes in the vast potential of this country. The company believes that India is a fast-developing country that holds much potential, and that when its students get the opportunity to gain a good education abroad, they will come back to their home country with state-of-the-art knowledge and will develop the market, applying their top-quality education.
Commenting about the Indian students, StudyFree said in a statement: “We’re super excited and proud to hold interviews with Indian students to recruit them as our ambassadors. Together we can promote the values of equal and free education and help Indian students open door to the world of international opportunities.”
The idea of creating StudyFree came from Kroshkina’s own experience. Having been born in a small Russian town, she couldn’t even think about travelling or education abroad. Financial limitations, lack of family support prevented her from fulfilling her international dream. However, after securing over $100,000 in scholarships and grants, she went on to study in Spain, China, and the USA (Stanford), and later worked for an investment bank in Singapore. Having learned how it feels like to be in the situation, Kroshkina decided she should share her experience and created StudyFree to help students around the world make their dream of studying abroad come true, no matter what their financial opportunities are.
StudyFree has already raised a $600,000 pre-seed round led by Acrobator VC (the fund launched by Bas Godska and Joachim Laqueur to invest in Western and Eastern Europe), with participation from Seedstars Investment (the Berkeley Skydeck and TechStars NY accelerators), as well as Chris Adelsbach as an individual investor.
The Delaware-based StudyFree is the winner of the Seedstars World Competition 2020/21, the largest startup competition in emerging markets, and its founder Dasha Kroshkina has become the first female winner and the first winner of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).