No need to fear a ‘brain drain’ of UK students

Posted: 20th September 2022

David Wighton in the Times says fears about a surge in school-leavers going to American universities in recent years are overblown. He cites Barnaby Lenon, who chairs the Independent Schools Council. “A good proportion of the brightest children will never come back. They will fall in love with an American, get a good job in America and stay there,” he said recently. Wighton acknowledges that the rise in the number of UK students going to US colleges has been dramatic – for the first time Eton looks set to have more leavers going to American universities this year than to Oxbridge. Oher top private schools are sending up to a fifth of their leavers to US universities, compared with a handful 20 years ago, while more are going from state schools, too. But Wighton notes that although there has been a sharp increase, the absolute numbers are still fairly small. Last year, 842 pupils from ISC schools won places in the US, compared with 411 in 2012. Yet the total number of British undergraduates at American universities has been falling slightly in recent years, reaching 5,314 in 2019 (before the impact of Covid), according to the Institute of International Education. Wighton concludes by quoting Thomas Hellmann, professor of entrepreneurship at Oxford’s Saïd Business School, who thinks the rise in undergraduate numbers heading to the US might have the opposite effect to that feared: “Having ‘done the US thing’ as undergraduates, they may be more likely to go elsewhere, including back in the UK, for graduate studies.”

Source: There’s no need to fear a brain drain of students to American universities | Business | The Times

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