Yes it is true. All Indian student going abroad, need to necessarily have a PAN card. This is as per the recent RBI (Reserve Bank of India) directive on the money being send abroad using the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS).
LRS is generally used by students who send money to universities abroad or people sending money to invest in shares and properties abroad. The main fulcrum of this act is to ensure that all money which is being sent abroad is under the individual limits that have been set by RBI. Currently theses limits are USD2,50,000 per person per year under the specified clauses in LRS.
What this means for Students:
In the earlier scenario, PAN card was not mandated for transactions less than USD25,000. Now all students need to have a PAN card. The process of obtaining PAN card is very simple and straight forward. Check out the procedure on the Income tax department website.
Is there a leeway:
All banks and AD2, necessarily have to follow the diktat from RBI and the same is already effective. Thus there is no option but to obtain the PAN card and have a smooth processing of University fee payment and for the living expenses.