The University of Texas at Austin Among Leaders in Study Abroad, International Students

The University of Texas at Austin is among the top three universities sending students abroad and the Top 10 universities educating international students, according to the new "Open Doors" report, published by the Institute of International Education (IIE).

The university ranked third in the number of students who study abroad. It provided academic credit for 2,172 students who completed educational programs throughout the world during the 2006-07 school year. Only New York University and Michigan State University sent more students abroad. The top five destinations for students are the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, China and France.

During the past year, U.S. study abroad programs to China have increased by 25 percent. At the university, the majority of students earning academic credit in China are enrolled in the McCombs School of Business' Master of Business Administration program. Latin America remains a popular destination with more than 200 students selecting south-of-the-border programs in Argentina and Mexico.

"Study abroad is no longer a luxury," Terri Givens, vice provost for international activities, said. "It is becoming a key element in academic preparation because, in an era of globalization, employers increasingly value international experience and language skills."

During the past decade, the number of U.S. students studying abroad each year has increased by more than 150 percent, according to the "Open Doors" report.

At the university, the colleges and programs sending the most students abroad are Liberal Arts, Business, Communication, the Graduate School and Engineering.

The University of Texas at Austin ranked eighth in the number of international students enrolled. During the 2007-08 school year, 5,550 international students enrolled in programs throughout the university, but many concentrated on science and engineering. The university joins Columbia University, Harvard University, New York University and the University of Southern California in the Top 10 for international student enrollment. The top five home countries are South Korea, India, China, Mexico and Taiwan.

Graduate and professional school enrollment is 3,097 and undergraduate enrollment is 1,555.

The most popular graduate degree programs for international students are civil engineering, computer sciences, electrical and computer engineering, physics and petroleum engineering.

Undergraduates' top degree preferences are in engineering and business programs, focusing on electrical engineering, economics, business administration, petroleum engineering and computer science.

"The University of Texas at Austin continues to attract foreign students because of its internationally renowned academic programs," Givens said. "In turn, the students provide invaluable scholarly contributions that support the university's ambitious research agenda. International students also support the Texas economy, contributing $132 million to the state annually."

In Texas, international student enrollment increased 6 percent during the past year to 51,824. California hosted the largest number of foreign students with 84,800, followed by New York with 69,844. Total international student enrollment in U.S. higher education increased by 7 percent this year, reaching an all-time high of 623,805.

The Open Doors report is based on a survey of about 3,000 accredited U.S. institutions. It is published by IIE with funding from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.