Rising tuition fees “drive students to study abroad”

The number of British students studying in the US has risen again. The Fulbright Commission says "rising tuition and and limited places in the UK drive students to study abroad."

The number of British students studying in the US has risen for the second year running as “rising tuition and limited places in the UK drive students to study abroad,” according to the US-UK Fulbright Commission.

New figures released by the Fulbright Commission on behalf of the US Institute of International Education show that a record 8,861 UK students studied at American universities in 2009-10, marking a 2% increase from the previous year. This is in contrast to a 4% decrease in European students studying in the States that year including a 12% decrease at the undergraduate level.

The Fulbright Commission – which aims to foster mutual cultural understanding through educational exchange between both the US and UK – has been inundated with calls and visitors from British students interested in studying abroad. Traffic to its website on US study has risen by 30%, in the last year while attendance at its recent USA College Day was up by 50%.

Lauren Welch, Director of Fulbright Advisory Service, said:

“British students and parents are feeling the squeeze between rising tuition and budget cuts at UK universities. The gap is closing rapidly between tuition rates in both countries, and students are going to study where they can get the most bang for their buck. Many students are saying when you’re already paying up to £9,000, what’s another £3,000 to study in the States?”

The Times quotes Andrew Halls, headmaster of Kings College School Wimbledon, who says he has seen a “quantum leap” in pupils’ interest in studying in America since higher tuition fees were announced the Government this term:

“If the tuition fee comes in, parents and students are going to look abroad in a way that we haven’t seen … There will be a great deal of resentment in the middle classes about serious university courses which the Government wants people to study but which are going to lead to such huge debt and higher interest rates. America is now looking much more viable.”

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.