Newspaper article International New York Times

Costs Drive Both Sides of Study Abroad ; British Flee Rising Fees; U.S. Students Fear High Price of Overseas Classes

Newspaper article International New York Times

Costs Drive Both Sides of Study Abroad ; British Flee Rising Fees; U.S. Students Fear High Price of Overseas Classes

Article excerpt

Rising university tuition costs are encouraging British students to consider studying overseas, while worries about high costs and debt are deterring United States students from going abroad, a survey shows.

A sharp rise in university fees has encouraged students in Britain to consider studying overseas, while worries about high costs and debt are deterring United States students from going abroad, according to a study by the British Council's research arm, Education Intelligence.

The study, published April 24, surveyed 7,000 British and American students on international study opportunities, access to information, scholarships and perceived barriers to taking up foreign study programs.

According to the report, 37 percent of the British students said they were considering overseas study, up 17 percentage points from 20 percent compared with a similar study a year ago. In contrast, the number of American students wanting to study abroad dipped to 44 percent from 56 percent.

Among British respondents who were interested in studying abroad, 57 percent cited rising university tuition as a reason. English universities raised undergraduate tuition to about 9,000 pounds, or about $15,100, in 2012 from about Pounds 3,000, to offset government spending cuts.

"Students are having to pay quite a high price for university at home," Elizabeth Shepherd, the report's author, said in an interview. "They are beginning to look at other countries."

For 32 percent of students in the United States, cost was the greatest nonacademic barrier to study abroad, the survey found. Economic conditions and uncertainty were factors impacting on choices, with American students concerned that study abroad would further increase their debt at a time of rising costs for a college education.

"We got a sense that it is really about the perceived increase in costs of not just study abroad but of higher education in the United States," she said.

The aim of the survey was to understand the barriers, perceived or real, that British and American students felt prevented them from studying overseas, Ms. Shepherd said: "There's a profound similarity between both countries in that they are home to some of the best higher education institutions in the world, but they have significant problems with inspiring their own students to go overseas."

"Students have a perception that they have access at home to the best-quality education in the world and if they go overseas the quality may vary -- and that's a perception that is very widely held by U. …

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