Press Release

Interest in International Eduational Exchange Remains Strong One Year After September 11th According to IIE Survey

American Students Continuing to Study Abroad in Increasing Numbers; Reports of International Student Enrollment Appear Stable With Some Decreases from Middle East

Editor's Note: Press are invited to a briefing to discuss the Open Doors data reported below and the impact and implications of September 11th on international student mobility.

"International Education: One Year Later"

Monday, November 18, 2002
9:30 a.m. -- National Press Club -- Washington, D.C.

EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE NOVEMBER 18, 2002

 

Washington D. C., November 18, 2002 - In an online survey recently conducted by the Institute of International Education, campus professionals reported that their students continue to study abroad in growing numbers this year, and enrollments by international students remain relatively steady, with varying reports showing some campus enrollments increasing despite some decreases in enrollment from a few Middle Eastern countries. The survey findings will be released today in conjunction with the release of Open Doors 2002, IIE's annual comprehensive report on international educational exchange, funded by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The new online survey supplements the release of the Open Doors data by providing a snapshot of what over 300 educators have observed on their campuses at the start of the fall 2002 term. The full survey and results, along with substantive comments on the survey-related discussion board, are posted on IIE's Open Doors website (http://opendoors.iienetwork.org/).

The Institute's annual comprehensive report on international student mobility, Open Doors 2002, shows that a record total of 582,996 international students studied in the United States in academic year 2001/02, making higher education one of this country's leading exports and bringing nearly $12 billion to the U.S. economy. The number of international students increased by over 6% in academic year 2001/02. Study abroad by American students has also been increasing rapidly over the past five years (up 55%), and the number of students studying abroad has more than doubled since 1991 (from 71,154 in 1991/92 to 154,168 in 2000/01, an increase of 116%). However, the total number of students who study abroad still represents a very small percentage of the total U.S. student population. Detailed breakdowns of the report's findings are available on the Open Doors website.

IIE's October 2002 online survey suggests that, in the current academic year, study abroad by American students is more popular than ever. Over two-thirds of respondents noted that the number of students studying abroad in fall 2002 had either continued to increase or remained the same on their campus compared to the same term last year. Of those who responded to this question, 45% saw an increase in the number of US students currently studying abroad, and 34% reported no noticeable change. Of those reporting a rise in study abroad participation, 18% noted some increase and 6% reported a substantial jump. In a separate question, 30% of the respondents noted that they have seen an increase in the number of US students studying abroad in non-traditional destinations. All of these findings support educators' comments that the events of September 11 have raised student awareness in world affairs. The online survey was conducted on IIE's membership website over a two-week time period in late October, with a total of 324 educators responding. The reports of international student enrollments this fall showed a more complex picture. Over half (57%) of the international education professionals responding reported either increased or unchanged numbers of international students enrolled in fall 2002 compared to the same term last year. Of these respondents, 33% reported an increase in the number of international students compared to last year, while 24% reported no noticeable change. Of those respondents reporting a decline, only 3% report it to be a substantial decline. Twenty-five percent reported a slight decline (10% or less) and 15% reported a decline of 11-30%.

Telephone follow-up with 10 of the institutions that host the highest numbers of international students shows that the overall international student numbers seem to be holding steady or even increasing. These leading host institutions report increases in the number of international students on their campuses this year. A preliminary look at the total enrollment figures for these institutions shows an increase of about 4% in international student enrollments for fall 2002 compared to fall 2001.

The October 2002 survey asked educators to indicate whether they had seen a substantial decline in enrollments (30% or more) from any of the following major sending countries and major Islamic countries: India, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates. The results suggest that there has not been a substantial or dramatic change in enrollments by students from most of these countries. However, enrollments from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia may have been impacted. Of the 114 educators who answered this question, 33% noted a substantial drop in enrollment of students from Saudi Arabia and 25% noted a substantial drop in the number of students from the UAE. In addition, 21% of those responding indicated a substantial drop in enrollments from Indonesia and Pakistan. A smaller number of respondents (10-19%) noted substantial declines in students from Kuwait, Malaysia, India, and China, while only 5% noted substantial declines in students from Egypt. For most of these countries, 80% or more report that they have not seen a substantial decline in international student enrollment.

Commenting on these findings, Dr. Todd Davis, Director of the Institute's Higher Education Resource Group said, "Despite some reported decreases, nothing in the distribution of responses suggests that the trends we have observed over the past few years, namely continued growth in international student enrollments, have been knocked off track. Although the responses do not point towards either dramatic growth or declines, the survey results, combined with our follow-up interviews with leading host campuses, seem to suggest that existing trends found in the Open Doors reports are likely to continue."

Allan E. Goodman, IIE's president and CEO, said, "One year after September 11, it is welcome news that American students continue to demonstrate an increased interest in world affairs and seek opportunities to study abroad, and that international students are continuing to come to the United States to study. The exchange of knowledge and ideas between American citizens and the people of other nations is vital to American higher education and to the prospect of creating a peaceful, more secure world."

While the survey responses were anonymous, a total of 324 respondents identified themselves as representing institutions as follows: 195 (60%) from universities, 89 (27%) from four-year colleges, 22 (6%) from two-year colleges, 6 (1 %) from non-governmental organizations, and 12 (3%) from other types of institutions.

Complete results of the poll and a press kit on major findings of the Open Doors 2002 report can be found at http://opendoors.iienetwork.org/, IIE's online resource for the international education community. The Open Doors report is published by IIE with support from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. The Institute of International Education, founded in 1919, is the leading not-for-profit educational and cultural exchange organization in the United States.

 

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Sharon Witherell
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E-mail: switherell@iie.org

IIE Experts

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Dr. Allan E. Goodman
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