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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 14, 2005

International Student, Study Abroad Numbers At UI Reflect National Trends

The University of Iowa is doing at least as well as peer institutions when it comes to international exchange, according to national figures released today by the Institute of International Education. International student enrollment at the UI rose by 2.9 percent in 2004-2005 to 2,373, whereas nationally, there was a decrease of about 7,470 students or 1 percent from the previous year. These figures are from the UI Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) and the 2005 Open Doors annual report by the Institute of International Education (IIE), respectively.

Although small, the 2.9-percent increase made 2004 the sixth consecutive year that international student enrollment at the UI rose.

"We've not really had any substantial international student enrollment increase or decrease. But, we'd like that to change soon, to keep in line with the UI's strategic plan of increasing international student enrollment to 9 percent of the whole student population, from the current 7 percent," said Scott King, director of OISS. 

International students contribute more than $13 billion to the U.S. economy in money spent on tuition, living expenses and related costs, according to the NAFSA: Association of International Educators. In 2004-2005, Iowa received more than $155 million from international students, with UI students contributing more than $42 million. Nearly 72 percent of all international students reported their primary source of funding coming from personal and family sources or other sources outside the United States. The U.S. Department of Commerce continues to rank U.S. higher education as among the five largest service sector exports. 

The number of international students in fall 2005 dipped slightly to 2,285 - 88 students fewer than in fall 2004 - with 340 undergraduate students, 1,755 graduate and professional students, and 190 in post-graduation training period. The national comparisons for fall 2005 figures will be released in November 2006.

At the UI, the five countries with the largest enrollment in fall 2005 are: China, 591 this fall, down from 599 in fall 2004; India, 325, up from 311; Korea, 305, down from 324; Taiwan, 118, up from 103; and Japan, 87, down from 97. Nationally, India was the leading country of origin for the fourth consecutive year in 2004, followed by China, Korea, Japan and Canada, the only non-Asian country in the top five, according to the Open Doors report.

UI study abroad participation rose by 8.5 percent in 2003-2004, slightly below the 9.6-percent growth reported nationally for that academic year in the current Open Doors census. At the UI, 995 students studied abroad, including 713 undergraduates--an increase of 9.4 percent--and 274 graduate students-- an increase of 3.4 percent.

"The understanding of the value of international experience continues to grow. More and more students have become aware of the need to know more than one language, of the need to understand other countries and other cultures," said Janis Perkins, director of UI Office for Study Abroad.

The importance of study abroad has also been recognized by the U.S. federal    government. On November 10, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution designating 2006 as the "Year of Study Abroad." The resolution, introduced by Senator Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), encourages initiatives to promote and expand study abroad opportunities.

The top five host destinations for American students in 2003-2004 were the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Australia and Mexico. Among UI students who studied abroad in the last two years, more than 60 percent chose popular Western European countries. The top five destinations for UI students in 2003-04 were the United Kingdom (129), Spain (121), Italy (77), Australia (58) and Germany (39). The top five destinations for UI students in 2004-05 were the United Kingdom (165), Spain (120), Brazil (90), France (87) and Italy (83).

Study abroad in non-traditional destinations is expanding rapidly, especially to countries where American students see potential career opportunities. Study abroad enrollment in China, for example, rebounded in 2003-2004 (4,737, up 90 percent) to exceed the number of students who went to China before the emergence of SARS, which closed many programs in spring and summer 2003.

UI students have also shown a growing interest in China, judging from the number of students taking first-year Chinese language courses, and Perkins said a summer study abroad option in China will be offered starting in 2006. The Open Doors report is an annual report on international education exchange compiled by the Institute for International Education, the world's leading research and membership association on international education.

For more information on international students and scholars, contact Scott King at (319) 335-0355. For more information about study abroad, contact Janis Perkins at (319) 335-0353. Information on the Open Doors report can be found at

OfSA and OISS are affiliated with International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean of International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026,; International Students: Scott King, 319-335-0355; Study Abroad: Janis Perkins, 319-335-0353; Writer: Po Li Loo.