UK Students Fleeing to America

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Ben Cohen
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Rising fees and lack of funding appears to be driving student away from UK universities and looking across the Atlantic for higher education. From the Guardian:

Data obtained from seven prestigious US institutions reveals that a major drive to recruit UK undergraduates is starting to pay off.

One leading headteacher told the Guardian that the growing interest came partly from a belief among parents and pupils that "UK universities were creaking at the limits".

Harvard has received 500 applications from UK students for undergraduate courses this autumn, a jump from 370 last year.

Meanwhile, the University of California, Berkeley, has had 166 applications from the UK, up from 130 last year. The university said applications from other European Union students had fallen from 343 last year to 281 this year.

The decision to raise fees in the UK has now made its universities some of the most expensive in the world, and it appears many students are failing to see the benefits given the extensive budget cuts under the Conservative government.

The pound to dollar exchange rate probably plays a role in this, and the US university system is far from perfect (most students go into extraordinary debt to go to college in America). But it is obvious that the uneasy combination of state control and austerity measures are making UK students question the benefits of an education at home.

Having gone through both the UK and US university systems myself, I would certainly lean towards the American experience over the British one. I had more class time, more resources and more work to do in America, and I felt the facilities were better and the attitude towards learning far more serious. I probably had more fun in the UK (tax free alcohol may have played a part in that....), but learned a great deal more in the US. Of course this is a highly subjective review, but in terms of value for money, the US (at least the state universities) are in my opinion, far superior.

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