Students Go Overseas for Low-Cost Higher Education

As the price tag of a college education soars and families continue to adapt their lifestyles to the recession, students approaching college might be considering putting off college or looking for cheaper alternatives.

Last year, one of the PayPal cofounders started a $2 million fund to get students under 20 to drop out of school and each start their own business with $100,000 in startup money. Stanford also launched open source classes available to anyone, from anywhere in the world who wanted to take a free course and receive a grade. In the last few years, people’s lifestyles have become more integrated with technology, playing with educational apps, searching the Internet for information from a handheld device, and sharing information via social media.

Education is no longer confined to a one-size fits all model or even a single definition. Education is adaptable and customizable for the student depending on their location, interests, and socioeconomic standing. There may be many choices, however, a common goal for those searching for higher education in an unstable economy is to find an affordable form of education that can help them get a job and that won’t bury them in debt. Open-source classes are affordable, but they don’t come with the same job outlooks as the $40,000 – $50,000 master’s degree from Stanford.

What options do students have who desire a top education without paying top dollar? Go overseas, says Charles Kenny in his article “Foreign Policy: Outsource Your Kid.” He says, tuition at some of the best universities in Asia, Europe, and Africa can be as low as $4,000, well below the median cost of a college degree in the United States. Of the top ten universities ranked by Time, seven of them are in the U.S. However, 99 percent of U.S. college applicants won’t be attending top schools like Harvard or MIT. Many could benefit culturally, academically and financially by going to college overseas.

Did you know, South Africa’s University of Cape Town beats out Georgetown University on the QS rankings, but Georgetown students pay upwards of $40,000 for their education, while foreign students at Cape Town pay $8,000?

Not only are there colleges around the world that will save the cost-conscious family money on a quality education, students will gain more global knowledge than they ever could attending an in-state school. Students will be immersed in a new culture, possibly learn a foreign language, and get first-hand experience that will prepare them for the global world of work.

Would you consider a college education abroad for you or a family member? Why or why not? What are the benefits of staying in your own country and paying more? What are the benefits of studying abroad and paying less?


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