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Slash your student debt by earning your degree abroad

  • Students in America not only face one of the highest tuitions; they also don't earn as much money as their Danish, Swiss, and Norwegian counterparts.
  • Universities in Britain have similar tuition to schools in the U.S., but U.K. grads earn less than those in America.
Norwegian fans celebrate
Artur Widak | NurPhoto | Getty Images
Norwegian fans celebrate

Students in America face some of the highest tuition globally. That may not be much of a surprise.

More disturbing is the fact that they don't earn as much as their Danish, Swiss, and Norwegian counterparts, according to a recent study by studentloanreport.org.

Higher education in Denmark and Norway is also tuition-free — so workers have both a high earning potential and generally no student loans. (Click to enlarge image below.)

In Switzerland, tuition is less than $5,000 per year and workers earn an average annual income exceeding $80,000 — that's $25,000 more than the average in America.

Annual earnings in Ireland are about the same as in the U.S. — $55,000 — but schools are tuition-free.

U.S. tuition has increased by 63 percent from 2006 to 2016, studentloanreport.org said. More than 44 million Americans have taken out loans to pay for college, and their debt now totals $1.4 trillion.

"We walk around thinking that America is the best place to earn an education, but when you take a look at the facts, you start to see that earning a degree abroad is actually a smarter move to make," said Rick Neil, CEO of RN Public Relations and a spokesperson for studentloanreport.org.

Although getting your degree outside the U.S. can be an excellent way to save, only 45,000 Americans chose to do so in 2016, said Neil.

For those seeking to save money, they may want to steer clear of certain countries.

In the United Kingdom, for example, students pay tuition that's on par with the U.S.

Even so, Britain is by far the most popular destination for American students seeking to get their degree abroad. Of those attending school outside the U.S., 36 percent of them are in the U.K.

But if it's just as expensive, why go there?

Margret Stidham, a second-year American at the University of St Andrews, chose to study in Scotland because she fell in love with the area after attending a precollege program there.

Although she said that getting her degree abroad is probably just as costly as one out-of-state in the U.S., she appreciates that she's gaining a "unique experience."

Margaret Canary, another American at St Andrews, is quick to label her journey abroad as the best decision she's ever made.

Eager to study overseas? Studentloanreport.org suggests looking at multiple countries to find the one that best suits your financial and educational needs. Remember that tuition won't be your only expense — you need to consider travel to and from the U.S., room and board, as well as books and supplies.

The company also said some countries, such as Canada, have increased tuition for nonresidents. And finally, be aware that some degrees earned abroad may not be transferable.

Read more from College Game Plan:
6 tricks to spend wisely during a semester abroad

When it comes to financial aid, filing early isn't always best