Study shows rise in internationals, first drop in US students abroad

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International student enrollment in colleges nationwide steadily increased this year, while the total number of U.S. students who studied abroad decreased slightly, according to a recent study by an international education nonprofit.

In the 25 years that the Institute of International Education has published its “Open Doors” report, this year’s figures indicate a first-time decrease in American students studying abroad.

The figures do not surprise Teri Albrecht, the director for international student and scholar services. She said the sluggish economy of 2009, when the report’s data was collected, dampened students’ abilities to participate in study abroad programs.

“I think that this has to do with the economic situation, increasing costs or tuition at U.S. universities and increased options of university studies throughout the world,” Albrecht said.

UT’s international student enrollment continues to increase, while the number of international students at UT — 4,768 — has remained stable over the past year.

“While financial aid is available to U.S. students studying abroad, there are expenses, both perceived and real, involved in studying abroad that adds to U.S. students’ college expenses,” she said. “For international students, coming to the U.S. to study isn’t a study abroad program for them in the sense that they come here for a semester or a year — they are coming for a degree program.”