More American students are heading overseas not just for a semester abroad, but for their full degree program, reports the New York Times. Isobel Oliphant felt she was making an offbeat choice when she graduated from Fox Lane High School in Bedford, N.Y., and enrolled at the ancient university in St. Andrews, Scotland, a quiet coastal town of stone ruins and verdant golf courses. "I thought I was being original," said Oliphant, now in her third year at the University of St. Andrews. "But my high school class president came here, too. And when I got here, it was all ‘Hi, I’m from Massachusetts,’ ‘Hi, I’m from New York.’ " St. Andrews has 1,230 Americans among its 7,200 students this year, compared with fewer than 200 a decade ago. The large American enrollment is no accident. St. Andrews has 10 recruiters making the rounds of American high schools, visiting hundreds of private schools and a smattering of public ones. With higher education fast becoming a global commodity, universities worldwide are competing for the same pool of affluent, well-qualified students. The international flow has benefits, and tradeoffs, for both sides. For American students, a university like St. Andrews offers international experience and prestige, at a cost well below the tuition at a top private university in the United States. But it provides a narrower, more specialized course of studies, less individual attention from professors, and not much of an alumni network to smooth entry into the workplace when graduates return to the United States. For overseas universities, international students help diversify campuses in remote locations. Just as important, foreigners are cash cows for these schools…

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