MSU among top universities for study abroad participation, international student enrollment
Published: Monday, 16 Nov 2009
EAST LANSING, Mich. For the fifth year in a row, Michigan State University leads the nation in study abroad participation among public universities in the United States, according to Open Doors 2009, the annual report on international education released today by the Institute of International Education.
During the 2007-08 academic year, the most recent year for which data are available, 2,969 MSU students studied abroad. This reflects a 6 percent increase from last years data. Additionally, 7 percent of MSUs 2007-08 freshman class participated in study abroad programs well above the 3.5 percent listed as average in the Open Doors data.
The survey ranked New York University, a private school, as No. 1 with 3,395 students studying abroad.
In addition, for the 2008-09 academic year, MSU saw a 12 percent increase in international students, climbing to sixth in the nation among public universities. With 4,757 international students, MSU ranks 10th among private and public schools in international student enrollment.
A global education whether studying abroad or working and learning among a diverse student population will be key to Michigans economic future as we define our role in an increasingly interdependent world, said MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. Access to cultural immersion opportunities is a priority at MSU as we prepare our graduates to compete and succeed in this new reality.
Nationally, the Institute of International Education data reflect a growth in study abroad participation to 262,416 students an 8.5 percent increase from the previous year.
To further MSUs goal of internationalizing its campus, the university has continued to build upon its scholarship program for undergraduate study abroad participants. In 2007-08, MSU distributed nearly $370,000 in study abroad scholarships, a 40 percent increase in funding from the previous year. Generally, 30 percent to 40 percent of applicants receive financial assistance.
We realize our study abroad programs continue to succeed despite the economic challenges currently facing Michigan families, which reflects our students desires to become global citizens, said Jeffrey Riedinger, dean of International Studies and Programs. We owe it to them to provide accessible, high quality international educational experiences and a diverse campus community.
But that will require redoubling our institutional efforts to make study abroad an integral part of an MSU education.
Riedinger said MSU will increase its efforts to garner financial support from private, corporate, foundation, state and federal partners. Recently, the university secured its largest scholarship support from MSU Federal Credit Union.
He added that with more than 260 programs in 60 countries on all continents, MSU provides access to study abroad programs by offering a diverse selection of courses for a variety of majors. Such programs include international credit-bearing internships, comparative study of disability and related services and intensive master classes for clarinetists, vocalists and pianists. Study abroad programs also offer several hands-on programs dedicated to sustainability and its social and economic impacts.
MSU expanded access by adding 10 new programs for the 2008-09 academic year and will continue to explore program options.
We have incredible students, and we want them to be prepared to take their place in the world, said Brett Berquist, executive director of MSUs Study Abroad Office. A study abroad program can help students see the world through a different lens, which can lead to taking action on important global issues.
At MSU, 38 percent of study abroad students compared to 32.9 nationally studied in nontraditional locations such as Africa, which hosted 197 MSU students in 2007-08. Other nontraditional places of study for MSU students included Latin America, which saw a 16 percent increase, and Asia. MSU is one of only 78 universities nationwide that offers programs in the Antarctic. The university also added new semester-length programs in China and Egypt, as well as a research-focused program in Oxford.
In terms of fields of study, MSU also sent a larger proportion of nontraditional majors abroad than the national average. In 2007-08, 45 percent of MSU study abroad participants majored in business, engineering, science and agriculture. Nationally, only 32 percent of study abroad students came from those fields.
MSU has long been a national leader in attracting international students to its campus. During 2008-09, MSU saw a 64 percent increase in students from China, with 1,291 students, followed by 951 from Korea, 404 from India and 248 from Taiwan. More than 133 countries are currently represented in the student body.
Riedinger explained that MSUs international recruitment efforts have led to an increase in the number of sponsored students on campus those for whom tuition and expenses are paid by other institutions. For 2008-09, MSU has 453 sponsored students, up from 100 in 2001-02. An American college degree is highly coveted around the world, and MSU continues to be seen as a place that offers an excellent educational value.
For the 2009-10 academic year, the MSU class of international graduate students includes a cohort of Royal Thai Scholars, Vietnam Education Foundation scholars, Indonesian grad students sponsored by USAID, seven Pakistani university professors,15 students on scholarships from the Iraqi government and a large number of Libyan students sponsored by their government.
Sponsorship programs for international students include the U.S. Fulbright programs as well as the programs offered by governments throughout the world. For a list of international student sponsorship sponsors and agencies visit the Office for International Students and Scholars at http://www.oiss.msu.edu/students_sponsored_list.php.
The Open Doors report is published by the Institute of International Education, the leading not-for-profit educational and cultural exchange organization in the country.
For more on the Open Doors report, go to http://opendoors.iienetwork.org.