‘Sudden surge’ of US students consider studying abroad after Roe v Wade overturned

Story at a glance

  • There’s been a large spike in Americans looking into study abroad options after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled abortion is not a constitutional right.

  • Study.edu found there was a 20 percent increase all over the U.S. in Americans visiting its platform. 

  • The upcoming midterm elections could also fuel even more Americans to consider studying abroad. 

The number of students looking into education opportunities in Europe spiked in June and July, weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that abortion is not a constitutional right.  

Data collected by Study.edu, a European study abroad service, found there was a 20 percent increase all over the U.S. in Americans visiting its platform to investigate study abroad opportunities. The platform found that Germany and the U.K. have been the most popular sought-after destinations for students that are looking for a bachelor or master’s degree.  

The spike in activity stems from the Supreme Court’s decision in June to overturn Roe v. Wade — a nearly 50-year precedent that affirmed abortion access as a constitutional right. The decision had an almost immediate effect in 13 states, which had trigger bans quickly enacted that outright banned abortion or severely restricted it.  

Notably, Study.edu didn’t get as much activity from students located in trigger ban states. 

“We would have expected interest from the thirteen trigger-ban states to rise more than in the rest of the country, since young people there are more likely to be affected by this ruling and may feel stronger about implications of future SCOTUS decisions,” said Sara Sánchez, analyst at Study.eu.  

“But the opposite was true: platform traffic from those states has grown by 8%, compared to nearly 20% all over the United States.” 

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Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Missouri are among those states that enacted abortion trigger laws following the court’s June decision. 

“Geopolitical events like elections often result in short-term changes in student interest, typically for one or two days. But in this case we’re observing a robust shift: Interest from the U.S. has been stronger than expected ever since the ruling,” said Gerrit Bruno Blöss, CEO of Study.eu. 

Blöss believed that the upcoming midterm elections could also fuel an exodus of American students trying to study abroad, in combination with a more conservative Supreme Court. 

Prior to the court’s decision and the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 60,000 U.S. students were studying abroad and now that number is expected to grow even higher. Germany and the U.K. have higher education programs that are taught fully in English, while German public universities are tuition-free even for foreign students. 

HousingAnywhere, an international housing marketplace, also experienced a year-over-year increase of close to 300 percent in U.S. residents searching for housing in Europe following the Supreme Court’s abortion decision in June. The platform said that traditional mobility barriers break down as people are increasingly choosing to live in locations based on their personal values and desired lifestyles.