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The UK has it's own financial mess on its hands- much like ours with over valued and leveraged real estate and the loans behind real estate purchases gone south- with pound sterling headed south in a directly proportional relationship.

So what does this mean to American boarding schools? For years American boarding schools have been recruiting students overseas and international students have become part of the boarding school fabric. If this Reuters' article (Elite schools seek strength in sterling's weakness) is correct and English schools seriously pursue a larger international population, it adds element of competition for international students for American boarding schools.

Richard Murphy, a research economist at the Center for the Economics of Education, told Reuters:

"The pound has weakened against the yen by 40 percent since January last year, so we expect more foreign students from Asia...It will be harder for U.S. private schools to attract foreign students, the demand will be bigger for private schools in the UK because of the good exchange rate..." (Reuters)
Also from the article, "Dominic Scott, Chief Executive of the UK Council for International Students' Affairs, said he expected increasing numbers of well-off students to come to private schools in Britain, especially from China, Malaysia and Singapore."

Increasing competition for international student will require American boarding schools to hone their messages and make their strengths sharper than ever. American schools- public and private- are still the best in the world at educating and nurturing the widest range of kids imaginable.
New York Times reporter Martin Fackler quotes a phrase that many of us in the tuition driven world know but seldom utter; "Korea (South) experienced a study-abroad bubble." In his January 10, 2009 article "Global Financial Crisis Upends the Plans of Many South Koreans to Study Abroad," Fackler elucidates the now fading convergence of the strong won and competitive desires of Korean parents that came together to create what I call a study abroad migration.

Fackler cites a Korean Education Ministry figure of 350,000 South Korean students studying abroad in 2007 with the largest contingent in the United States.

"South Koreans have become the largest group of foreign students in the United States, according to American government statistics, outnumbering even those from China, with a population much larger than South Korea's 48 million people."  (Fackler, NYT)
American boarding schools and colleges & universities have enjoyed strong numbers of full-tuition Korean students seeking experiences and advancement through western style education. But this well of relied-upon tuition may be beginning to dry-up.

Korean families are now assessing and scrutinizing study abroad opportunities in light of the weak wan and global financial crisis. The competitive desire to keep-up and advance still drives many families, but it's being tempered by reality. One year programs have become more attractive for families that can still afford an international experience.

Some academics worry about the possibility of increasing inequality with only the wealthiest families sending their students abroad.

"Upper-middle-class families will still have the ability to send their children abroad, even if it means great sacrifice," said Oh Ookwhan, a professor of education at Ewha Womans University in Seoul. "This will allow them to stay ahead of less fortunate families."

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the International Students category.

International Baccalaureate is the previous category.

ISEE Test Prep is the next category.

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