UNC ranks 17th among U.S. universities for study abroad for 2015-16

Theresa Jones (left) and Grace Porter, en route to apply for study abroad visas to Montpellier, France.
Theresa Jones (left) and Grace Porter, en route to apply for study abroad visas to Montpellier, France.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ranks 17th among all U.S. higher education institutions for the number of students earning credit for study abroad, according to the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) 2017 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange.

UNC-Chapel Hill’s ranking improved two places from the previous year. The Open Doors’ top 25 list is based on the total number of a higher education institution’s students who study abroad. Open Doors found that the overall number of U.S. students studying abroad increased by 3.8 percent to 325,339 over the previous year. At Carolina, 2,124 undergraduate, graduate and professional students studied abroad in 2015-16.

“Our continued improvement in rankings such as this demonstrates the growing interest of UNC students in gaining experience abroad, as well as the University’s efforts in our Opening Access initiative to expand the types of global opportunities to appeal to a broad range of students,” said Ronald Strauss, executive vice provost and chief international officer. “Our success in sending greater numbers of students abroad is furthered through the generosity of donors who support student scholarships.”

UNC has a long tradition of high rates of participation in study abroad programs. In recent years, nearly a third of Carolina undergraduates have studied abroad before graduation, one of the highest rates for a public university in the United States. IIE reports that nationally only about 15 percent of students pursuing a bachelor’s degree study abroad before graduating.

Open Doors is published annually by IIE in partnership with the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Founded in 1919, the IIE is a private not-for-profit leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. In collaboration with governments, foundations and other sponsors, IIE creates programs of study and training for students, educators and professionals from all sectors. These programs include the flagship Fulbright Program and Gilman Scholarships administered for the U.S. Department of State. IIE also conducts policy research, provides resources on international exchange opportunities and offers support to scholars in danger.