Annual Survey Reveals Study Abroad Trends at U.S. Higher Education Institutions

According to the 2011 IES Abroad Membership Survey Report, third-party study abroad provider programs are far more efficient for higher education institutions to manage than exchange programs. That is just one of the many findings resulting from IES Abroad’s annual survey of nearly 200 top-tier public and private American colleges and universities that comprise the IES Abroad Academic Consortium.

Survey results show that on average, study abroad offices spend 12% of staff time managing exchange programs which are attended by only 6% of study abroad students. In comparison, study abroad offices spend 48% of staff time managing provider programs which enroll 52% of study abroad students. This finding is significant for study abroad offices, especially as a growing number of colleges and universities report pursuing their own study abroad programming, such as faculty-led and exchange programs, in response to current economic and fiscal challenges.

The annual survey also found that study abroad enrollment for students at U.S. colleges and universities is projected to increase five percent in 2011-2012 over 2010-2011 numbers. Survey date also includes details on higher education institutional response to economic conditions and the most popular terms for study abroad.

The 2011 IES Abroad Membership Survey Report, compiled from self-reported data, serves as a snapshot of small and large public and private colleges and universities. IES Abroad has been issuing membership surveys, from which it collects the data, to its consortium since 1999.

For more information on the IES Abroad Academic Consortium or the annual membership survey, or contact Carol Jambor-Smith at

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