Friday, December 16, 2011

How Many Study Abroad?

Does it seem like every college student you know has just returned from some exotic locale or is about to embark on the trip of a lifetime? That's because surging numbers of students are studying abroad. In the 2007-08 academic year (the latest data available), 262,416 American college students spent from one month to a year earning academic credit from a higher education institution outside the United States--four times greater than the 62,341 who studied abroad in 1987-88. The latest statistics show that 15 out of every 100 students in a bachelor's degree program studies abroad, up from 5 out of every 100 in 1987-88.

The United Kingdom is the most popular destination for students studying abroad (13 percent of study abroad participants do so in the United Kingdom), followed by Italy (12 percent), Spain (10 percent), France (7 percent), and China (5 percent). Social science majors account for the largest share of students studying abroad (22 percent), followed by business (20 percent), and humanities (13 percent).

Despite the growing popularity of studying abroad, the number of Americans who do so pales in comparison to the number of foreign students who attend college in the United States: 624,000 in the 2007-08 academic year. International students account for 3 percent of enrollment in American postsecondary institutions.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Students Studying Abroad, Indicator 40-2010, The Condition of Education 2011

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