New HESA data shows a record 15,555 Americans pursuing full degrees at British universities in 2010-11. UCAS data reveals a 10% increase in US applicants for courses starting 2012-13.
For taught postgraduate courses, key factors are lower cost of tuition, shorter degrees, increased competitiveness in the job market, the portability of US loans and the reputation of the British higher education system.
New data released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) show an increased number of American students studying for full degrees in the UK. A record 15,555 US students studied at British universities in 2010-11, marking a 3.3% rise over the previous year. Since 2008-9, the number of post-graduate US students at institutions in the UK has risen by 15.2%.
International students collectively added £9.6bn to the UK economy in 2008-9 (BIS). US students constitute around 7% of the international student body in the UK – bringing their knowledge and experiences to UK institutions and enriching the profile of our campuses.
Penny Egan, Executive Director, US-UK Fulbright Commission, said “Our press headlines are focussed on the numbers of British students heading out to the US, but in fact British universities, which consistently feature alongside US universities at the top of the world league tables, are attracting American students in ever increasing numbers. This brings in significant overseas earnings, creates potential research collaborators and lifelong ambassadors for our higher education system. This is good news, for both countries”.
What attracts US students to the UK? For taught postgraduate courses, key factors are lower cost of attendance, shorter degrees, increased competitiveness in the job market, the portability of US loans and the reputation of the British higher education system.
Most US universities offer two-year Master’s programmes, relative to the majority of British programmes which last just one year. Further fuelling the interest in taught Master’s degrees is the limited availability for funding at home. While American universities are known for their postgraduate study scholarships, funding is more readily available for doctoral study and in research-intensive fields such as the sciences and engineering relative to the arts and humanities. Additionally, unlike their British peers, American students are able to use their US government loans to complete full degrees abroad and are able to choose from a number of private lenders to top-up these funds if needed.
"Student mobility between the US and UK strengthens the special relationship between our two countries", said Richard Everitt, Deputy Director of the British Council in the USA. "What's more, a British degree is a valuable asset in the US job market. Three-quarters of American employers consider UK degrees to be the same as or better than US degrees, according to new research carried out by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of the British Council."
Speaking from personal experience, Jordan Covvey, a Fulbright-Strathclyde Postgraduate Awardee said: “I chose to study in the UK because of the world-class institutions, and the long-standing reputation of research excellence in biomedical sciences. I expect the combination of strong academics and rich historical and cultural opportunities (from ceilidhs to castles) that I’ve experienced this year in the UK as a Fulbright scholar will contribute greatly to my career as a practicing clinician, academic and eventual leader in the profession of pharmacy.”
For more information, contact:
Director, Advising & Marketing
US-UK Fulbright Commission
+44 (0) 207 498 4019 or +44 (0) 753 371 4960
Senior Press Officer, British Council
+442073894871 or +44 7771 718 135