An interesting story in Foreign Policy re: US colleges, cost and competitiveness:
Want to combine a quality education with language immersion? Peking University — No. 49 on the Times criteria, above Penn State — charges between $4,000 and $6,000 in tuition a year. For those wanting to brush up their Spanish, the Catholic University of Chile ranks considerably above Wake Forest, but the fees are 80 percent lower.
But junior won’t just learn language there. The even-better news is that many developing country universities score better on the teaching environment than they do on overall rankings. For example, the Times scores suggests that Peking University’s ranking on teaching is better than all but 15 of the 49 universities above it on the list. That may be why a growing number of foreign students are flocking to universities in middle income countries. In 2009, three developing economies — Russia, China, and South Africa — attracted nearly 250,000 overseas students between them, according to the OECD.
It’s an interesting thought and surely not for everyone. I think the big question for many would be whether or not doing so would hurt their ability to compete in the U.S. when they returned, though you’d have to think it’d say something to a potential employer that a kid had moxie enough to go to undergraduate (and beyond?) overseas. Will cost lower tuition? Will we see droves of U.S. kids going overseas to study in the future? It’d be good to see, but I doubt it on both counts.