Azara Blog: British students are allegedly invading American universities

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Date published: 2010/11/28

The BBC says:

The Fulbright commission, which promotes study exchanges between the US and the UK, believes that the numbers of British students in America in the next academic year could rise "dramatically", in the wake of rising tuition, and a limited number of places at home universities.

Lauren Welch, who is the director of advising and marketing for the commission says interest from British students in American institutions has "skyrocketed".

At a recent undergraduate study fair for pupils looking to study in America, she reported a 50% increase in attendees on previous years. The commission's website has seen traffic go up by a third.

"People are worried that they may not get a place in the UK so they want to throw their hat in the ring in other countries to see what happens," explains Ms Welch.

The price of tuition in the United States varies dramatically across universities. The annual average cost to study at a private university on a four-year course is £20,000, at a public university it is £12,000-£18,000 .

"While the possible rise in tuition rates won't be on par with the US, I think the sense is that students are thinking I have to pay £9,000, why not go an extra couple of thousand pounds more and have that added bonus of going abroad," adds Ms Welch.

Another poor BBC story, but most of their stories about America are poor, because their journalists do not seem to have any understanding of America. In this article, they quote Welch, whose job in life is to spin these kinds of stories. In reality, the best private American universities (Harvard, etc.) charge 30k pounds per year, and it takes four years to graduate. Compare that with perhaps 15k pounds per year to go to Cambridge or Oxford, assuming that tuition fees do go up to 9k pounds per year, and with a three year course. Needless to say, 120k > 45k and by quite some margin.

The overwhelming majority of UK students will continue to stay in Britain. The odd rich person (like Emma Watson, who goes to Brown and who of course had to be mentioned in the article because the BBC wanted to show a photo of her) and the odd person who stumbles into America for other reasons will be the exception.

UK universities do not have to worry about competition from the US for UK students, they have to worry about competition for students from outside the UK, in particular from outside the EU. On this score the Tory government seems set to make things worse with a politically motivated and economically and (future) foreign policy damaging policy to reduce the number of foreign students coming to study in Britain.

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