A year ago, the world looked on as British students took to the streets with Molotov cocktails and smoke bombs to protest college tuition fee hikes.
For all their gusto, the violence didn’t help keep fees at bay and a recent article in Good Education points to a growing trend of U.K. students flocking to comparatively cheap American universities.
“Tuition in the U.K. is at an all-time high of $14,000. That’s still a bargain compared to most top public and private schools in the States, but the sharp jump has led a growing number of students to conclude that it they’re going to go into debt for a degree, they might as well do it at an American university that offers a more diverse selection of majors and elective classes,” writes Liz Dwyer.
American universities may love these deep-pocketed overseas imports, but there’s rising concern over the impact their attendance could have on their U.S. peers – namely those who rely on the generosity of college financial aid offices to attend. (See why more students are choosing to attend community colleges.)
Just a few months ago, we reported on a study that revealed college directors believe “finding the right fit” is more about recruiting students who can accord to pay full tuition over those who need some form of aid.
Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Fastweb.com and FinAid.org agrees: “Public colleges are shifting enrollments to international and out-of-state students because these students pay higher tuition than state residents. Private colleges are enrolling more international students because few colleges provide financial aid to these students, so they are effectively full-pay,” he says.
And the trend isn’t likely to go anywhere, especially as the number of U.S. high school graduates has begun to decline. The National Center for Education Statistics predicts there will be 200,000 fewer students earning their high school diplomas in 2015 as 2009.
The central issue isn’t that the rising number of foreign-born students – which made up 3.5% of all college co-eds in 2011 – is necessarily raising tuition costs for others, but that they are making college enrollment more competitive for U.S. citizens.