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Elon is #1 in study abroad for master’s universities in the 2017 Open Doors report

The annual ranking by the Institute of International Education names Elon University the nation’s leading master's institution for the number of students studying abroad.

JANUARY 7, 2017: Students in the Business in the Pacific Rim course kayak through Halong Bay in central Vietnam. Love School of Business professors Wonhi Synn and Raj Gupta led the class of 30 students.

Elon University has earned recognition for enrolling more students in study abroad courses than any other master's-level university in the country.

The #1 ranking for Elon comes from the 2017 Open Doors report by the Institute of International Education, which reported that 1,634 Elon students studied abroad during the 2015-16 academic year. Elon placed ahead of James Madison University, the College of Charleston and California State University – Long Beach at the top of this year’s list. 

Elon continues to make progress toward its strategic goal of achieving 100 percent access to a global engagement experience by the year 2020, with the university expanding financial aid to assist students who cannot afford the cost of study abroad. For Elon’s class of 2017, 79 percent of graduates had at least one study abroad experience and 16 percent had participated in Elon’s Study USA program, with experiences across the United States. Elon's high participation rate compares with a national average of about 10 percent of college students having an international study experience – a percentage that has been steady for a number of years.

In the 2017 Open Doors Report, Elon was also ranked #1 among master’s-level institutions in the number of students on mid-length programs, with 632 students participating, and was ranked #2 for short-duration study abroad experiences.

Elon University 2016 Field Biology in Belize Winter Term course.

“We are pleased to be recognized by Open Doors for the numbers of students we send abroad but are even more pleased in the increased access to, and reduction of barriers for, a global engagement,” says Woody Pelton, dean of global education. Elon’s continuous growth in study abroad participation and options reflects “an unprecedented university commitment to diversity and global engagement.”

Elon's students were among 325,339 U.S. students who received credit last year for studying abroad, an increase of about 4 percent from the year before. Study abroad by U.S. students has more than tripled in the past 20 years. 

Elon University offers a wide range of locations for study abroad experiences. 

London, Florence, Barcelona, Dublin and Berlin are among the most popular destinations. Elon has study centers abroad in Shanghai, London and Florence, and recently announced a new center in New Zealand.

U.S. higher education is increasingly focused on preparing U.S. students to secure jobs after graduation in order to advance their careers, as well as preparing them to thrive in the multicultural global marketplace. Studies have shown that studying abroad helps students develop the skills needed to succeed in today’s interconnected world.

Two key barriers to global engagement are financial ability and curricular flexibility. To ease these barriers, Elon's Isabella Cannon Global Education Center has awarded record scholarship support and added eight new programs in the past year.

Scholarship Support

The Global Education Center access scholarship committee awarded more than $600,000 for the 2017-18 academic year, with a record average award of $2,700.

These need-based scholarships are awarded in partnership with other university funding for global engagement, including engagement scholarships and fellows and scholars travel grants. With these sources, every student with documented financial need who applies for an access scholarship receives university support for their first global engagement.

“We are grateful to our donors and the university for its commitment to helping reduce financial barriers for students participating in global engagement experiences,” says Amanda Zamzes, business and data manager for the Global Education Center.

New Programs

The GEC has added eight new programs across Africa, Europe and Oceania.

Elon School of Education Center Abroad in Dunedin, New Zealand – This new center expands Elon's partnership with New Zealand’s oldest university, the University of Otago, and offers teaching practicums and direct-enroll opportunities. This center operates only in the spring for Teaching Fellows; however, any student can apply for the University of Otago program separate from the center.

Australia, Sydney: The University of Sydney – Students choose courses in the areas of business, finance, marketing and liberal arts and can pursue internship and service-learning opportunities at this AACSB-accredited institution.

South Africa, Cape Town: Open Campus (CIEE) – The Open Campus model allows students to take courses in either two or three six-week blocks, taking courses in business, communications, global health, political science and language and literature tracks.  Students can even elect to mix and match blocks with another Open Campus partner in Berlin.

France, Reims: NEOMA Business School  – Located one hour outside of Paris, NEOMA is a top business school in Europe with triple accreditation and allows students to take business courses in English or French for a semester or academic year, or for two years through the business dual degree program.

Spain, Madrid: ICADE Business School – This private university in the heart of Madrid, Spain's capital, offers a wide range of business options. Students can study for a semester or academic year, or for two years through the business dual-degree program.

Open Doors is published by the Institute of International Education, an independent nonprofit organization with a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,400 member institutions. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations. IIE has conducted an annual statistical survey of the international students in the United States since its founding in 1919 and in partnership with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs since 1972. 

Shanna Van Beek, assistant director of study abroad at Elon, contributed to this report.

Dan Anderson,
11/13/2017 4:50 PM