The number of U.S. students enrolled in full-degree programs at universities outside the United States grew four percent to about 46,000 last year, according to a report by the Institute of International Education's Project Atlas. Shaving thousands of dollars off their tuition bills is a prime motivation for many Americans studying abroad. Below is a more in-depth look at each of the five top host countries for American undergraduates enrolled in degree programs outside the United States, according to the report.
Annual tuition: From $6,000 to $40,000.
What to know before you go: Americans have long flocked to study at the top-tier English, Scottish, and Irish universities—many as equally well respected by U.S. employers, too. English language courses are an obvious draw, even though costs for international students can often parallel American colleges. The U.K. recently changed its immigration laws, requiring international students to get a job or else leave the country directly after graduation. Plus, Kings College offers the only liberal arts degree, so choose wisely in the application process. "It can be very difficult to change your major," says Caroline Rhoads, a Houston native in her second year at St. Andrew's.
Where to look: Oxford University, Cambridge University, London School of Economics, Kings College, the University of Edinburgh, Trinity College in Dublin.
Annual tuition: About $15,000 on average.
What to know before you go: Besides their proximity, Canada's flagship universities are as diverse as the U.S.'s, but are particularly strong in math, science, and engineering. Canada allows international students to work off-campus while enrolled and allows graduates to stay in the country and work for up to three years without employer sponsorship. Also, visa and financial aid processes have been streamlined.
Where to look: McGill University, University of Toronto, University of British Columbia.
Annual tuition: $0.
What to know before you go: German universities have a solid reputation for engineering, natural sciences, and business. Grads have one year to secure an internship or employment. But Americans often don't have the necessary academic qualifications straight out of high school to go on to German schools and must also take German proficiency exams.
Where to look: University of Cologne, Free Berlin University.
Annual tuition: $260 to $650 for public universities.
What to know before you go: An American high school diploma isn't enough to apply to one of France's 85 higher education institution, which require at least two AP courses (including one in French) or students to have completed one year of college in the U.S. A French proficiency exam is also requisite, though it is not necessary to be bilingual. And, while tuition is low, housing and other costs can be significant, particularly in Paris.
Where to look: Paris-Sorbonne University, Sciences Po, University of Toulouse.
Annual tuition: $14,000 to $35,000.
What to know before you go: Australia has long competed for American science students and offers international students generous scholarships. Foreign grads are often recruited to stay local through the government's skilled labor immigration scheme.
Where to look: University of New South Wales, University of Melbourne, Sydney University.