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Last modified: Monday, November 14, 2011

New 'Open Doors' report: IU Bloomington more global than ever

Nov. 14, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington has never been more international, according to the latest Open Doors report released today, Nov. 14, by the Institute for International Education.

Among more than 1,200 U.S. universities, IU Bloomington now ranks eighth, up from 11th in last year's report, in overall number of students studying abroad and ranks 11th, up from 14th, in the number of international students enrolled.

Michael McRobbie

Michael A. McRobbie

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The advance represents the best collective showing in the history of the IU Bloomington campus. Now well among the top 10 for study abroad and 11th in international students, the university is on the cusp of reaching its expressed goal of being ranked among the top 10 in both categories.

"These latest rankings confirm Indiana University's standing as a truly world-class institution of higher education," said IU President Michael A. McRobbie. "In particular, we are extremely pleased that more and more IU students are studying abroad, which, over the past two or three decades, has evolved from a luxury to virtually an essential college experience, since nearly every career IU students will pursue will have an international dimension to a greater or lesser extent."

The Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange is published annually by the Institute of International Education with support from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The 2011 report data for U.S. students studying abroad reflect the 2009-10 academic year, while data for international students enrolled in U.S. institutions were collected for the 2010-11 academic year.

According to the Open Doors 2011 data, a record 2,190 IU Bloomington students enrolled in study abroad programs during the 2009-10 academic year. The campus hosted 5,471 international students on campus in 2010-11.

"In 2008, IU released an international strategic plan. Two key elements were increasing undergraduate participation in study abroad and attracting more of the best and brightest international students to the IU campus," said David Zaret, vice president for international affairs. "Our improvement in these areas -- compared with our peer institutions -- shows the effect of our efforts to realize the goals of that plan."

Kathleen Sideli, associate vice president for overseas study, has worked with IU study abroad students for more than 30 years. She has been following study abroad trends closely and is particularly pleased that ever larger percentages of the IU graduating class have a study abroad experience; one in four undergraduate students on the Bloomington campus has had an international study experience before graduation.

"While IU has made international experiences available to students for decades, today we find that students across a range of academic disciplines understand that international education is relevant and integral to their degree progress as well as to their future careers," Sideli said. "They also seek diverse program opportunities -- almost half participating in programs outside Western Europe, accessing different program models than those available even just a few years ago."

Sideli noted an area of particular strength at IU: "We're ranked sixth nationally for the number of students on semester-length programs. I'm really proud of that number."

David Zaret

Photo by Peter Stevenson

David Zaret

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According to the Open Doors report, international student enrollment at colleges and universities in the U.S. grew by 5 percent from fall 2009 to fall 2010, to a record 723,277 students. Enrollment of international students on the IU Bloomington campus grew by 13.5 percent during the same period. Following national trends, the largest increases are in students from China, particularly at the undergraduate level.

IU Bloomington currently enrolls 5,904 international students; they form 13.8 percent of the campus's student body this fall.

"International students report high levels of satisfaction with their Indiana University experience, and they are our best recruiters," said Christopher Viers, IU associate vice president for international services. "At a time when talented globally minded students have a vast array of educational options to consider, we are particularly pleased that the exceptional quality and value of an Indiana University education is increasingly recognized and appreciated worldwide."

Higher numbers of international students were seen across the United States, with most states hosting higher numbers of students in 2010-11, as indicated by the Open Doors data. Perennial leaders California, New York, Texas, Massachusetts and Illinois remained as the top five hosts. Among the top 10 host states, Massachusetts, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana all had increases that were higher than the national average of 8 percent.

The increase in international students has had a significant economic impact in the United States. With higher education among the nation's largest service sector exports, international students contribute $21 billion to the U.S. economy in tuition, fees and living expenses; and $596 million in the state of Indiana alone, Viers said.

The Institute of International Education, the leading not-for-profit educational and cultural exchange organization in the United States, has conducted an annual statistical survey of campuses regarding international students in the United States since 1919, and with support from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs since the early 1970s.

The Open Doors 2011 report is available at