As Dollar Strengthens, U.S. Students in Europe Feel the Benefits
The United States dollar is a powerful tool to help U.S. students understand the value of their education. That’s the view of a group of teachers, university presidents and researchers who are developing an assessment tool based on the value of college degrees in Europe. But when they started thinking about the idea, they assumed that college students in the U.S. would be eager to evaluate the value of college degrees here.
The U.S.’s two-year degree programs have been seen as more lucrative and prestigious than the European model, and a survey last year by the Carnegie Foundation estimated that U.S. students were paying more than twice as much in tuition and fees as their European counterparts in their second year.
That’s led to a growing number of foreign students in the U.S. paying less upfront to take a U.S. bachelor’s degree – and then spending more, while still going to college, to get the experience they value. It’s also given a boost to the value of a double undergraduate degree.
“I don’t think the American model is inherently superior in anything,” says Alan Blinder, president of the Blinder School of Business at the University of Chicago, who recently joined the group of academic and government leaders who want to produce an assessment tool to improve financial aid for students from abroad. “A lot of what we’re going to do is compare it to a European model.”
One group of researchers in France, led by Jean-Louis Gendreau, wants to create a tool to evaluate the value of a major in the field of economics. His group is asking a number of European countries and institutions to assess the value of a double degree in economics with a major in business, another in law or French studies, and a third in art or engineering. They hope to have the results ready for release in 2014.
The goal of the study is to “take a step toward a more equitable education system and a more fair, just and effective one,” Gendreau says. “If that can be done, it will make our system more accessible