KU ranks third in Big 12 for study abroad and foreign student enrollment increasing

Kansas University ranks third among its current Big 12 Conference peers in the number of students studying abroad, and 39th in the country among doctoral institutions, according to a report from the U.S. government due to be released today.

KU had 1,345 people study abroad in the 2010-11 academic year, according to the report, behind only the University of Texas, with 2,284, and Texas A&M University, with 1,844, in the Big 12.

Sue Lorenz, KU’s director of the Office of Study Abroad, said the office was looking to continue to grow those programs.

“That is certainly what we’re going to be aiming for,” she said.

KU has more students who are interested, she said, but can’t make it work with their tuition payments or a need to work through school. Lorenz said she didn’t have updated figures for the most recent semester.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we were hovering around the same number, or even a little bit down,” because of the economic troubles, she said. “But I wouldn’t expect that to last.”

The university is examining ways to incorporate more study abroad options into its general education curriculum and encourage more students to take advantage of study abroad options.

The report also examines the number of international students choosing to study in the United States.

At KU, 2,325 international students chose to enroll in 2010-11, in addition to 114 at KU Medical Center, according to the report.

Daphne Johnston, associate director for international undergraduate admissions at KU’s International Student Services office, said she’s seen the numbers increase the past few years, particularly from China. Nationwide, Chinese undergraduates increased 44 percent over the previous year in 2010-11, according to the report. Johnston said that at KU, more international students are enrolling in majors like economics, business, math and engineering. But, she said, majors from all over the university are represented.

KU has been looking at ways to increase international enrollment for a few years, now, Johnston said. They participate in international college fairs in students’ home countries, and even use technology to participate in more of them remotely.

Increasing international enrollment is one of the goals being pursued by the Huron Consulting group that is looking for ways for KU to be more effective and efficient. Johnston said she’d expect that KU wouldn’t change its strategy but would keep doing more of the same kinds of things they’ve been doing in the past.

“We’ve been doing it quite successfully for quite a few years now,” she said.

By Andy Hyland


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