UK students move to American Universities
British students are opting for American universities following the rise in tuition fees due to take place in 2012.
A study by the Institute of International Education in the US found that the number of applications have been steadily increasing since 2004, reaching 8,861 in 2009.
This year’s applications are expected to be considerably higher.
The Ivy League universities are the most targeted as students and parents look further afield for higher education.
Ivy League Institutions can set back students up to $60,000 (£27,000) a year. However, with the majority of British Universities, including Durham, set to charge £9,000 a year, students are thinking more carefully about their options.
Questions about the quality of university in Britain are also influencing decisions.
American Universities are renowned for valuing the individual, encouraging skills such as music and sport. Whilst Durham is also known to promote these values, especially through the college system, many other universities focus less on this aspect of development and learning.
Therefore, some parents are opting to pay the large financial sacrifice to send their child to one of the top universities in the world. Eleven of the fifteen top universities in the QS World University rankings for 2012 were American.
However the huge financial cost involved will still deter the majority of British students. A Durham third year student said: “I didn’t even consider applying in America.” In the face of higher tuition fees in the UK she maintained: “It would have been out of the question. A £27,000 debt is very different to an £80,000 one”.
There were other factors, such as the distance, to consider as well as the obvious financial issues. Many 18 year olds will not feel ready to leave the country for four years.
Scholarships or sponsorship would make the trip to America more feasible. However, these are not easy to come by.
Universities in England will also have to offer more financial support if they want to encourage students to enrol. Durham’s new support fund will help students to pay the £9,000 fees. It will supply up to £3,000 a year as a contribution towards living costs. This measure aims to encourage students from disadvantaged backgrounds to still consider university.
Durham’s ranking in the top three UK institutions in the Sunday Times University Guide 2012, may also help to encourage a high level of applicants in the future.