Are UK Unis poor Value for Money Compared to the US?
Posted in Undergraduate Finance Advice
It has emerged a large proportion of British students are now looking to the United States for degree courses. According to data compiled by the Fulbright Commission, 30% more British students sat the US college entrance exam last year than in 2008, amounting to 10,000 in total.
It is believed the majority of this new curiosity for US institutions comes from the brightest prospective students; those at independent and grammar schools, presumably trying to escape yearly tuition fees of up to £9,000. US degrees cost - deep breath - anything from £9,800 to £35,800 each year. And relax! But despite huge tuition fees, American universities often provide generous scholarships. Still, this increase in interest can’t be purely fiscal.
So what is causing some of the UK’s most promising academic talent to defect to the US? Well, Dr Antony Sheldon - Master of renowned public school Wellington College, Berkshire – suggests (quite rightly) in the new book, Uni in the USA, that British universities are underfunded, and as a result offer less hands-on teaching. According to Dr Sheldon, “The concerns we hear from British students about poor contact time with UK lecturers and a lack of genuine engagement with them is more than media scaremongering…There’s a malaise in British universities, which have received too little money for far too long. Spending per head on students in American universities can be as much as twice that spent on British students.”
Dr Sheldon’s comments are backed by the recent Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) Survey on Student Experience in English Universities, which found that students at English institutions were only studying 13 hours on average. Furthermore, only 17% thought their degree was ‘value for money.’ And, according to Dr Sheldon, “American universities in particular celebrate breadth of achievement far more than those in Britain, where only a perfunctory interest is shown in sporting or artistic prowess.” That’s probably it then, American degrees are much more costly but come with a raft of financial support and are, moreover, perceived by would-be students as being better value all round.
OK, so American degrees are better value for money but are they worth more? Is the quality of education better in the UK or the USA? In the top 20 of