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More British students choosing the USA

British students increasingly want to study at US universities as they face higher fees and graduate unemployment at home, the research organisation World Education Services claims. Assessing a sample of applications made prior to the academic year, WES found there had been a 22% rise in UK interest between 2008 and 2010.

"Students are becoming more selective about their study options"

A moderate 13% rise followed from 2010 to 2012, but WES claims, “Combined with anecdotal evidence from other sources, these figures suggest that more UK prospects will be applying to US universities and colleges for the 2013-14 academic year.”

“More UK prospects will be applying to US universities and colleges for the 2013-14 academic year”

It puts the trend down to the £9,000 cap on university tuition fees introduced in England in September 2012, which raised the cost of education threefold in some cases – as well as concerns over cost-value.

In total, UK universities received 303,861 applications by mid-December (for autumn 2013 courses), compared with more than 344,064 the year before the rise.

British graduates are also being more selective based on their graduate employment prospects given one in five was unable to find a job at the end of 2011. “With the depreciated value of a British college degree and bleak career prospects at home, students are becoming more selective about their study options and increasingly open to studying on full-degree programs abroad,” WES claims.

The Institute of International Education says the actual number of Britons studying in the US grew from 8,367 to 9,186 between 2007-8 and 2011-12 – by less than 10%.

However, others confirm the desire to study in the US is rising. The Daily Telegraph claimed a rising number of top US universities are marketing themselves to British students now their fees are comparable to those at the best British universities.

US universities are said to charge between £9,800 and £19,000 a year for an undergraduate degree, although scholarships and grants can be more generous than those available in Britain.

The number of British students taking the main US higher education entrance exam, the SAT, has also “increased by a third in recent years”, it claims.

WES claims there is now a trend towards larger numbers of British students looking abroad for study opportunities. Britons are thought to be favouring the Netherlands and Germany, both of which have a high number of courses taught in English and low or no fees.

“Value for money is one of the central factors influencing consumer choice, and higher education is no exception, especially when the cost of studying for a university degree rises at levels well above the rate of inflation,” WES says.

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