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US: $185m so far invested in IIE’s Generation Study Abroad

Higher education institutions, study abroad organisations and other partners in the US have so far committed US$185m over the next five years to increase access to outbound study abroad through the Institute of International Education’s Generation Study Abroad initiative.

In its second year, IIE says Generation Study Abroad will focus on increasing diversity among study abroad cohorts.

Generation Study Abroad has featured in more than 23,400 tweets

In addition, of the 450 colleges and universities who have joined the initiative, 84% plan to create or expand scholarships specifically for underrepresented students including minority and first generation college students.

The figures are revealed in a new report assessing the impact of Generation Study Abroad, which was launched in March 2014 with the aim of doubling the number of students from the US overseas.

91% of institutional partners are creating or expanding for-credit international programmes

Increasing funding and scholarships is the most popular action taken by GSA partners, followed by expanding student diversity; 
improving campus training and support; curricular integration
; and engaging alumni overseas.

The majority of institutional partners (91%) are creating or expanding for-credit international programmes, while two thirds of US institutions are increasing the number of programmes that require or offer the option of study abroad.

Meanwhile, just over three quarters of the international institutions that have joined the project are creating or expanding short-term opportunities such as Work, Internships and Volunteering Abroad (WIVA) placements.

The initiative was launched in response to the low numbers of internationally mobile US students, which IIE says make up less than 10% of the higher education population. The initiative calls on education institutions and related organisations to commit funds to expand opportunities for study abroad.

Opportunities can include academic, internship, or service-learning experiences.

There project now has a total of 630 partners, far surpassing its initial goals.

“Originally our target was to have at least 100 commitment partners — but we immediately surpassed the target when we announced the initiative in March 2014,” Daniel Obst, vice president for international partnerships in higher education at IIE, told The PIE News.

The project beat its renewed target of 500 partners, which Obst said demonstrates that “we can have more impact when we all work together towards a shared goal”.

“The commitments to action that our partners have made are bold and ambitious and this response demonstrates the power of a coalition,” he said, but added that “our projections indicate that we still need to do more if we want to reach our target of doubling study abroad by 2020.”

The project’s partners include 14 country partners– including governments in study abroad hot spots like Spain, France and Ireland– and 100 universities and colleges from outside the US.

As well as surveying partners about the actions they are taking, IIE’s report also looks at how they are promoting opportunities to students.

In its second year, GSA will focus on stirring up interest for study abroad among diverse student groups

It found that almost all of the participating US institutions (98%) promote scholarships and study abroad through their websites and social media, along with 77% of international institutions.

As a result, Generation Study Abroad has featured in more than 23,400 tweets, as well as being shared widely on Instagram and Facebook. IIE also estimates that the campaign has reached more than 36 million people on social media.

Looking to year two of Generation Study Abroad, Obst said IIE will focus on stirring up interest for study abroad among diverse student groups including racial minorities, mature students and first generation college students.

And in January, IIE will launch a social media-driven student campaign to further boost the profile of study abroad.

The full results of the report will be launched today at IIE’s Generation Abroad Summit, which brings together GSA partners, government and business leaders to discuss ways to further increase and diversify study abroad participation.

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