UK students leaving in droves for America

The number of UK students choosing to study in America has increased for the past two years. In most cases it is believed the decision is made for financial reasons as students feel that they will incur fewer debts if they study in America.

This raises concerns that there will be a further increase in the figure in 2012, when the Government’s proposals to cut funding and raise the tuition fee cap to £9,000 will come into place.

The increase in students from the UK travelling to American universities has risen this year by 2%, although there was a 4% decrease in the number of students in Europe continuing their education in America.

In the UK the average cost of tuition fees in the current academic year is £3,323 for the standard undergraduate. For overseas undergraduate students the fees are £10,463 for band one subjects (arts or classroom based degrees) and £11,435 for those taking band 2 courses (science and laboratory based degrees.) Tuition fees in the United States are actually higher than those within the UK. For example, the cost to study at Harvard University (including room, board, healthcare and student services as well as tuition) is $50,723.

However, American universities offer more generous scholarships and bursaries to their students. For example, at Harvard, if a student’s family were unable to pay any part of their tuition fees, the individual would receive a scholarship of $50,000, having to contribute themselves £1,500 and a further $2,500 through ‘self help’ (a job or a loan). The maximum grant currently offered by the University here at Warwick is a £2,906 maintenance grant to those whose household incomes are less than £25,000 per year. However for the year 2011 to 2012 the university will be launching the Warwick Undergraduate Aid Programme (WUAP) which will also offer a £1,500 yearly scholarship for undergraduates who fit their criteria.

Another incentive for some students to attend American universities is their offer of a wider curriculum as a degree in the United States consists of the study of many different subjects. However, a student who spoke to the Boar said: “I’m passionate about my degree subject and as an arts student would not enjoy having to study maths or science, I would just have no interest in them.”

UK universities are yet to publish the tuition fees they will charge in 2012 or the financial aid they will offer alongside this. Although the exact figures are yet unknown, in the future more students may choose American universities in light of the changes. One undergraduate at the University said: “I expect people will go abroad, it won’t be a choice for some if they can’t pay the tuition fees here.”

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