CSU Part of Dramatic Study Abroad Increase Systemwide

During the 2003-04 academic year, 4,388 University System of Georgia students studied abroad. This marks an increase of 17.5 percent in study abroad numbers from the previous year.

Today, the Institute of International Education (IIE) is releasing national study abroad figures for the 2002-03 academic year, indicating an increase of 8.5 percent in the numbers of American students studying abroad. The report issued by the IIE notes that this growth indicates that more than ever, American students now recognize the importance of study abroad in a globally interdependent world. Figures for the University System of Georgia for the 2003-04 academic year indicate that Georgia students are part of this trend.

During the 2002-03 academic year, the number of USG student studying abroad was the same as the number the previous year. This was the first time in the seven years in which Systemwide records have been kept, that there had not been an increase in numbers of students studying abroad. According to the University Systems director of international programs, Rick Sutton, this largely reflects the cancellation of all USG programs in China and many others throughout Asia because of the Spring 2003 SARS outbreak. The 17.5 percent increase this year demonstrates that study abroad is a continuing and growing interest to students in the USG.

Though Columbus State University student participation did not increase in 2003-04, the total of CSU students who studied abroad between 1996-97 and 2002-03 swelled from eight to 102. Behind those numbers, CSU ranks third among the university systems 13 state universities in the percentage of graduates who have studied abroad and fifth among all 34 university system schools in the same category.

The University System of Georgia is committed to offering a variety of study abroad programs throughout the University System. Study abroad programs range in length from two weeks to one year. Last year students studied in destinations all over the world including the United Kingdom, Costa Rica, Australia, India, Russia, Peru, Nicaragua, and Ghana.

Over the past six years the number of students studying abroad with the University System of Georgia has increased by more than 73 percent from 2,532 in 1998-99 to 4,388 in 2003-04. This is testament to the commitment by the Board of Regents to increase study abroad opportunities for USG students. In 2003-04, there were over 256 study abroad programs offered to System students. For the upcoming academic year the number programs has increased to over 300 programs.

CSU increased the number of study abroad programs available to its students, from one in 1996-97 to 18 programs in 2004-05. These programs include the CSU biology departments twice-yearly field study programs around the globe recently cited by the Board of Regents as a Best Practice in int ernational education.

Various funding opportunities are made available to students to assist their efforts to study abroad. Many institutions in the USG offer scholarships to students studying abroad. The Board of Regents has also introduced a financial support program known as STARS Students Abroad with Regents Support which provides employment, travel grants, stipends and assistantships to help students study abroad.

With the 17.5 percent increase in study-abroad students made last year, the University System looks forward to meeting the challenge of having over 6,000 USG students studying abroad during the 2006-07 academic year.

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Contact: Neal McCrillis, 565-4036; E-mail: mccrillis_neal@ColumbusState.edu