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July 19, 2015 | by  | in Features |
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An American in Wellington

$160,000 sounds like a lot for a scholarship, but in reality it barely makes a dent. Hundreds of thousands of American high schoolers are awarded large scholarships from universities—that’s my number above, awarded to a mainly straight-A, hardworking student by four different universities—and yet, a large percentage of them will graduate with anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000+ in debt, even with generous scholarships like the one I received.

The total amount of US student debt currently sits at $1.3 trillion, making the average student feel as if they’re being milked for a profit.

Average state schools in the US are still quite pricey, with places like the University of Alaska in Anchorage costing $25,000 per year and the University of Washington in Seattle costing $46,000 per year.

If a student chose to go the private education route, they could pay upwards of $65,480 per year (Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York thinks a little too highly of itself).

Cue thousands of Americans waking up to the realities of debt and looking overseas for their education.

There are 2,900 international students here at Victoria paying anywhere from $20,000 (education) to $30,000 (engineering) per year at an undergraduate level.

While it does feel like they’re milking the foreign kids, I like to think we’re helping to finance all those new shiny objects Vic is indulging in. Remodelling the Hub? You’re welcome. Expanding the science facility? All our doing. If they spent $26 million on changing the school emblem, it would probably be financed by us as well.

Aside from my cynicism, coming to New Zealand and studying was the right choice to make. I’m now fortunate enough to say I will never experience the amount of debt my friends back in the good ol’ US of A will have to endure and repay until well after their own deaths. I’m happy to discover that more and more kids are choosing to go abroad for learning instead of indulging America in its bad habits.

Germany, the UK, France, and New Zealand are a few of the various options for students looking to achieve their decently-priced academic dreams, and numerous schools within those countries are world-renowned and ranked (our very own Victoria University of Wellington Law School comes in at #45!). There’s a belief in the US that only American universities are quality, but, as with many other things, the US is wrong.

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