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Can We Double Study Abroad?

What Would It Take?

According to Open Doors 2014, growth in study abroad has slowed to 2%, meaning that it will now take 35 years to double the number of US students abroad if growth continues at the current rate. This would be the 2046/47 academic year.

Growth Rate Needed to Double: The snapshot below indicates that a 14.5% growth rate per year is needed to reach the goal of 600,000 students studying in credit and noncredit programs by the end of the decade.

Generation study abroad graph: Study abroad participation growth per year

Today's Numbers

  • Study abroad by American students has more than doubled in the past 15 years, from about 130,000 students in 1998/99.
  • Despite these increases, fewer than 10 percent of all U.S. college students study abroad at some point during their undergraduate years.
  • American students majoring in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) fields showed the largest increase in study abroad, up 9 percent from the prior year, outnumbering study abroad students in the Social Sciences, the second largest field. Study abroad increased among students majoring in all STEM fields, with the largest growth occurring in the Health Sciences, which increased by fifteen percent.

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