Friday, January 16, 2009

Growing Abroad Interest in US — For Now

The Forum on Education Abroad is out today with its State of the Field Survey for 2008, and it's a good-and-bad news release.

As we've reported here earlier, the ballooning worldwide economic crisis could wipe out many of the gains we've seen in study abroad over the past decade. But U.S. colleges and universities appear to not be willing to let their programs wither without a fight.

Despite the worsening financial picture, 75 percent of the institutions in the FEA study say they're actively pushing for more students to go abroad. The push had at least limited impact on study abroad, with 53 percent of institutions saying their study-abroad numbers are up at least 11 percent over the past five years, and 87 percent say they've had at least a 1 percent increase in numbers of students studying abroad.

The economic pressure on study abroad will no doubt increase in 2009, and — as reported earlier here — we're already seeing some significant reluctance on the part of our students at Simpson to go abroad. As one of my students told me a few weeks ago: "My parents wouldn't support me going across the street for an off-campus program right now."

The full FEA report is online here.

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