The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

International Programs
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-2026

Release: Dec. 6, 1999

UI welcomes more international students, sends more students abroad

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa International Programs and Office of the Registrar report that numbers of UI students studying abroad and numbers of international students attending the UI have both increased in the latest reporting period. These increases are in line with national trends reported by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in its annual "Open Doors" report, released today, Monday, Dec. 6.

The Open Doors report shows a 15 percent increase in U.S. students studying abroad in 1997-98 and a 2 percent increase in international students studying in the U.S. in 1998-99, the most recent years for which figures are available in each category. The report also indicates that increasing numbers of universities are sending at least 10 percent of their undergraduates abroad at some point in their academic careers.

In 1997-98, 610 UI students studied abroad, a 12.5 percent increase over the previous year. UI international student enrollment in the 1998-99 academic year increased slightly to 1,602, a 1 percent rise.

At the UI about 13 percent of undergraduates study abroad. Mirroring national trends, most UI students studying abroad do so in Western Europe, but that majority is slowly being chipped away by increasing numbers of students venturing into Central and South America. The number of UI students studying in Latin America increased by 37 percent between 1996-97 and 1998-99 and increased again between 1997-98 and 1998-99, this time by 22 percent.

Janis Perkins, director of the UI Office for Study Abroad, said that the UI is right in line with national trends in study abroad, and that one of the goals in her office is to encourage students in colleges other than Liberal Arts to consider international study. While liberal arts students continue to make up the majority of UI students abroad, Perkins said there have been significant increases in other colleges, particularly Business, Education, and Nursing. The percentage of UI students abroad from colleges other than Liberal Arts increased from 21 percent in 1996-97 to 26 percent in 1997-98.

"There is a great deal of emphasis placed on the value of studying abroad, especially by the central administration. President Mary Sue Coleman has made a point of emphasizing study abroad in many of her speeches," Perkins said. "In support of the institutional goal of increasing study abroad, my staff and I have done an incredible amount of work to get the word out that it is an option that is affordable and that is easily integrated into a UI degree program."

The IIE's Open Doors report noted that China has replaced Japan as the leading country of origin for foreign students. Japan is now the second leading country sending students to the U.S., followed by Korea. At the UI, the five countries with the largest enrollment are: China, 436 this fall, up from 385 in 1998-99; Korea, 216, up from 194; India, 201, up from 153; Taiwan, 94, down from 113; and Japan, 81, up from 74.

The IIE reports that although foreign students comprise only 3 percent of America's total higher education population, they contribute more than $13 billion to the U.S. economy in money spent on tuition, living expenses, and related costs. Department of Commerce data describe U.S. higher education as the country's fifth largest service sector export. The UI's 1,602 international students in 1998-99 constituted 5.6 percent of the total UI student population.

In 1998-99, 670 UI students studied abroad, a nearly 10 percent increase. And as of fall 1999, international student enrollment stood at 1,697, up 6 from the previous year. IIE does not have national figures from these years for comparison.

For more information about the UI, contact Perkins for study abroad figures (319) 335-0353, Gary Althen for international student enrollment figures (319) 335-0335, or Lois Gray (319) 335-2026. For more information about the national trends, visit the IIE Web site, <>.