Diversity Soars on IES Abroad Programs

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Ashley Houston
January 7, 2016


IES Abroad is proud to announce that since 2011 we have seen a 79.9% increase in student diversity across all of our programs.

This growth was achieved despite the fact that over the last 10 years there has been a slow and modest increase in the number of U.S. minority students who study abroad. The Institute for International Education (IIE) cited in their most recent Open Doors report that the number of African-American, Asian-American, and Hispanic students that have studied abroad since 2000 has risen only about two percent for each group respectively.

At IES Abroad, we have made a concerted effort to work toward increasing the number of underrepresented students studying abroad, and our success has gone far beyond our expectations.

 “Since 2011, we have seen almost an 80% increase in diversity across all of our programs, and a year-over-year enrollment growth in ethnically-diverse students of 18.5% from 2014-15 to 2015-16.”

–Gretchen Cook-Anderson, Director of Diversity Recruiting & Advising

Not only were we the first in the field to conduct a survey measuring institutional efforts to diversify the population of students studying abroad, but we also have two full-time diversity focused staff members under our Initiative to Diversify Education Abroad (IDEA). In addition, we’ve dedicated financial aid to students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). $421,500 has been awarded to IES Abroad students over the last 10 years in the form of HBCU grants and Diversity Aid awards.

During International Education Week 2015, we co-hosted the first ever Embark to Excel Conference. The virtual conference focused on issues of diversity in study abroad and was visited by over 2,000 people, with over 200 participating in the full day of events.

As a result of our committed efforts to diversity, we have seen a significant increase in the number of diverse students studying abroad on our programs.

To institutions in the international education community looking to increase diversity in their education abroad programming, our 2014-15 Membership Survey noted the following as the primary ways 100 premier U.S. college and universities are addressing the diversity gap in study abroad:

  • 72% of institutions are partnering with other offices on campus
  • 59% are establishing targeted marketing efforts for recruiting diverse students
  • 44% are creating additional scholarships and aid opportunities
  • 40% are providing specialized advising

Learn more about our Initiative to Diversify Education Abroad!


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Ashley Houston

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