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Last modified: Monday, November 19, 2007

IU Bloomington ranked among top universities for international education

Nov. 19, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington ranks in the top 20 universities nationally both for numbers of international students studying in Bloomington and for IU students studying abroad, according to the latest Open Doors report released last week by the Institute of International Education.

With 3,976 international students on campus in fall 2006, IU Bloomington ranks 15th in the nation and fifth among Big Ten universities. The latest figures also show that IU Bloomington sends more than 1,600 students abroad each academic year to study.

The study abroad figures are broken down two ways. First, among research institutions, IU Bloomington ranks 10th in the number of its students who study abroad in programs of one-semester duration. When all program lengths are considered -- two-semester programs, one-semember programs and programs less than a semester long -- only 17 U.S. campuses send more students than IU Bloomington.

The IIE has conducted annual surveys for its Open Doors report since 1949, and its surveys represent the most respected source of information on international education in the U.S.

"IU students have more opportunities for international experiences than ever before," said Patrick O'Meara, IU vice president for international affairs. "These experiences add incalculable value to the education that IU affords. Encountering more international students around them and having the opportunity to go abroad themselves assure that Indiana students will be fully prepared to compete in the global marketplace."

While the U.S. saw a decline in international students after 9/11, survey numbers indicate the beginning of a rebound. The survey notes a 10 percent increase in new students coming to study in the U.S., and a 3 percent increase in total numbers of students, including those who are here for the first time, students continuing their academic programs, and those who are doing optional practical training for a year after completing their degrees.

The largest increase, 30.2 percent, came in programs that train international students in the English language. Another large increase reflects a trend that duplicates the American style of study abroad, with a 24.5 percent increase in the number of international students coming to study as just a part of their degree programs back home.

"IU has long been a favored destination for students from around the world, but it is particularly impressive that IU has achieved such numbers when it does not offer engineering, the second most favored major for international students," commented Christopher Viers, IU associate vice president for international services, who said that business and music are primary draws for IU Bloomington.

"And figures continue to improve. This fall, we exceeded 4,000 IU Bloomington international students for the first time, and we broke the thousand mark in numbers of international students at orientation," Viers said.

While most American students abroad choose Europe as their destination, trends show an increasing interest in the Middle East, which is up 31percent; Asia, up 26 percent; Africa, up 19 percent; and Latin America, up 14 percent.

Kathleen Sideli, IU associate vice president for overseas study, noted that the traditional model of "junior year abroad" is being replaced by programs of a semester or less, and that "academic departments, determined to increase their students' international exposure, are finding new and different ways to combine course work in the U.S. with relevant experiences abroad."

Open Doors reports that fewer than 6 percent of students study abroad for two semesters or more.

International students usually pay their own way to study in the U.S. Three-fifths of them identify family and personal funds as their primary source of educational funding. That means that international students contribute significantly to the economies of the communities that host them. Open Doors estimates that international students infused $14.5 billion into the U.S. economy last year. International students in Indiana added $350 million to the state's economy.