Michigan State University has committed to a national effort to increase study abroad participation by 2020 through a new five-year initiative called Generation Study Abroad.
The Institute of International Education launched the project in March, aiming to double the number of U.S. college students studying abroad by the end of the decade.
MSU has pledged the following goals:
- Support the national goal to double overall study abroad enrollment by 2020 by assisting less internationalized universities in their efforts to build programming
- Increase outreach to first-generation, high-need and under-represented minorities as part of its university-wide early student success focus on high impact learning strategies
- Double enrollment by 2020 for the following: internship, volunteer, work abroad, including community engagement; undergraduate research abroad; graduate education abroad; semester programs abroad; international students abroad; reporting of non-credit learning abroad experiences
- Double MSU endowments for study abroad scholarships
“Michigan State University has a legacy of leadership in study abroad and international engagement,” said MSU Provost June Youatt. “Our participation in Generation Study Abroad represents MSU’s ongoing commitment to prepare our students to become engaged, global citizen-scholars and leaders.”
In the context of Bolder by Design, the Office of Study Abroad is focusing on the role study abroad can play in student success, particularly for high-need, first-generation and minority students. OSA has also increased experiential learning abroad through distinctive programming in internships, undergraduate research and community engagement.
According to the Open Doors report produced by the Institute of International Education, 295,000 American college students studied abroad in 2011-12 in credit-bearing and non-credit programs, representing less than 10 percent of the 2.6 million students graduating with associates or baccalaureate degrees each year. Generation Study Abroad seeks to address that shortfall by bringing employers, governments, associations and others together to build on current best practices and find new ways to extend study abroad opportunities to tens of thousands of college students for whom traditional study abroad programs aren’t working.
MSU currently ranks in the top 10 for both international student enrollment and study abroad participation (according to the most recent IIE Open Doors report) and No. 3 for study abroad participation of public institutions with 2,380 MSU students studying overseas in 2011-12. Another 480 students participated in non-credit activities abroad such as work, volunteering, non-credit internships and directed travel.
“As we focus on the role study abroad can play in student success, our goal is to offer high-quality, good value programming,” said Brett Berquist, executive director of the Office of Study Abroad. “Committing to increased outreach through Generation Study Abroad, particularly for high-need, first-generation and minority students, aligns with these strategies.”
More than 230 colleges and universities have signed the Generation Study Abroad commitment. In addition to the higher education institutions, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, foreign governments, key higher education associations and study abroad provider organizations have also pledged to support the goals of the initiative.