More Young People Are Studying Abroad Every Year
While it’s long been a tradition for American college students to study abroad for a semester, more and more young Americans are going to Europe for the entirety of their college educations. The number of students from the United States seeking college credit overseas jumped in 2016 almost 4% for a total percentage of over 1.5% of all US students. And it’s about more than broadening their horizons, it’s about stretching the dollar.
The cost of a college education in the United States has skyrocketed. In-state students can expect to pay over $20,000 for a single year at a public university, and out-of-state students pay up to $35,000 or much more for the same year.
And those prices are going up all the time. With state budgets reducing college aid, public university tuition in states like Arizona has spiraled upward of 70% over the past five years alone.
What’s more, a lot of those students must take out student loans to win their prized diplomas. Over 44 million Americans currently carry student loans amounting to a whopping $1.4 trillion. And student loans cannot be excused by bankruptcy, like other forms of major debt.
For all the good an American college degree will do: The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 284,000 college graduates were working at or below minimum wage, more than twice the figure from 2006 and including 30,000 people holding masters or other advanced degrees, a figure three times higher than it had been in ’06.
Costs for an education in the United Kingdom aren’t much lower. Annual university tuition fees are on the rise and are currently around £9,250 ($13,050 US) for a European Union or UK student. Other international students can expect to pay between £10,000 and £38,000. That’s between $14,000 and $53,000 US for tuition alone.
Knowledge Flows From Abroad
College educations across the EU, on the other hand, are quite affordable, especially by comparison.
And if those costs seem low, consider Denmark or Germany, where students may attend public university free of any tuition fee at all! And rental costs in Denmark are about 15% lower than in the United States. German universities offer approximately 900 programs in English and are very accommodating to American students, they are even renowned for their hospitality and courtesy.
Finland also offers tuition-free public higher education, as does Sweden, one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Among the world’s most efficient and successful countries, Sweden is known for its stunning populace and welcomes American students with over 300 English-language programs.
Slovenia charges a nominal registration fee instead of tuition, and they offer approximately 150 English-language programs, a number that’s likely to increase over the next decade. Students attending French universities can expect to pay about $200 tuition.
Spain offers students a bachelor’s degree education for anywhere from €680 and €1,280 per school year when studying at a public university. The same degree from a private university will cost between €5,500 and €18,000 per school year or up to $20,000 US.
In the Czech Republic, courses are tuition-free if taken in the native Czech language. English and other foreign-language courses cost about €1,000 ($1,570) per semester.
But all this doesn’t take living expenses into account, and that’s a big part of the college experience no matter where you study.
Living expenses in the United States vary broadly, depending on what state you study in. As a general rule, the Midwest is the least expensive region, while the East and Northeast are the most expensive. And all living expenses will vary depending on where a student chooses to live and eat, and also how they travel and entertain themselves. But on the whole, Denver, Colorado may cost $1,000 to $2,500 per month or even more. Boston, Massachusetts and Miami, Florida cost between $1,500 and $3,000 a month (based on year-round residence) for food, rent, utilities, and the other day to day expenses. California’s San Francisco will cost between $2,200 and $4,000 per month per student. Dormitory living only increases these figures.
Living expenses in the UK vary almost as much as they do in the United States. Studying at the University of Liverpool could cost between £4,60 and £5.80 per month for expenses (between $600 and $765 US). The University of Manchester will cost upwards of £890 per month, Oxford University around £810 per month, and University of London a whopping £840 per month, over $1,100 US.
Studying in Paris will cost between €1,200 and €1,800 per month, though that may include housing if you’re in a student hall of residence. Nice costs between €900 and €1,400 per month, and Lyon, Nantes, Bordeaux, or Toulouse cost between €800 and €1,000 per month, or up to $1,318 US. That’s a lot of baguettes.
Germany will cost between €500 and €800 per month even in one of the big cities. Its public transportation is known the world over and is very affordable, sometimes even free!
Living on your own in Madrid while you study could drive your living expenses to around €2,000 per month, but it’s a lot less if you share a flat or live in one of the small towns throughout Spain. Barcelona isn’t much cheaper than Madrid, however.
Studying in Sweden will cost about SEK 8,000 (around €850 or $1,000) monthly for the average student. Living while you study in Prague will set you back around €400 a month, or $462 US, a lot less than the $1,500 minimum you’d spend in Boston.
Getting and Sending Necessary Financial Resources
Luckily for the parents of students studying abroad, technology has finally found a quick and practical way to send money overseas. Companies like Conotoxia now offer convenient international money transfer service. Customers can send money abroad in 24 world currencies, using the most attractive conversion rates and terms. This is invaluable to both parents and students in times of emergency when fast cash is most needed. It’s every parent’s nightmare to have their college-age son or daughter in a foreign country in need of aid and without money.
So it’s never been easier, more practical, or more affordable to pursue a college education overseas. Not only will it broaden any student’s horizon, but it also helps stretch the dollar. That’s a lesson we can all afford to learn.