Friday, April 17, 2009

South Korean Students Staying Home, Too

It’s not just American students who are thinking twice about study abroad in a tough economy. South Koreans are suffering from a double whammy — a struggling economy and a sinking currency — that are forcing many students to stay home.

David McNeill reports in today’s Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) that the result has been a doubling of the cost of study abroad for South Korean students in just one year. The impact is being felt most dramatically at Asian universities that take in the lion’s share of South Koreans abroad, but nearly 70,000 Korean students spent time in the United States in 2007.

Some Japanese private institutions depend on South Korean students to fill seats and make budgets, and those institutions are now seeking government assistance and even considering tuition deferrals to keep them coming.

The sharp drop being felt in Asia won’t necessarily be felt in the United States, according to Peggy Blumenthal, executive vice president of the Institute of International Education. Many of the South Korean students coming to America are graduate students in science and technology and will likely come anyway.

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