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US students find cheaper option in UK

world Updated: Dec 24, 2010 00:28 IST

When Adelaide Waldrop learned that she had been consigned to the wait list at each of the four universities she wanted most to attend, it was as if all the excitement had drained from her collegiate quest.

Then she remembered her wild card school: the University of St. Andrews, the medieval cobblestone campus in Scotland.

Now Waldrop, from Silver Spring, is a sophomore at St. Andrews, one of a growing number of American students who enroll at top-ranked British universities, which offer the prestige of elite US schools at a fraction of the cost.

The population of US undergraduates at UK schools has spiked 30 per cent in five years, to 3,560 in the 2008-09 academic year, the most recent figure available from Britain's Higher Education Statistics Agency. It's a trend driven by price, prestige and - in the case of St. Andrews - a prince.

St. Andrews, founded in 1413, is two centuries older than Harvard.

Waldrop is paying $19,670 in tuition this year at St. Andrews. Tuition at Swarthmore College, where she was wait-listed, is $39,260.

The small community of collegiate expatriates is populated heavily with students from the New York-Washington corridor and California, according to British higher education officials.

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