- The Washington Times - Monday, November 23, 2009

Has studying abroad become a casualty of the global economy? While American students and their parents are asking, “Is it worth it?” new data show the enrollment of students coming to America and American students going abroad are at all-time highs.

Money is a huge factor for many families.

A law student at University of Texas at Austin is considering a London program that costs $21,000 a semester (including tuition, room and board) versus a UT program that costs about $18,000. Travel and loan expenses are excluded.

“You have to wonder,” Liz Weaver, 23, told Associated Press, “is it worth it?”

A 19-year-old Texas sophomore who wants to attend an intensive Japanese program in Japan, said his mom said, “Oh, my goodness” when she saw the $10,000-plus price tag.

“I have showed my mom the cost and, of course, airfare,” John Regnery told AP. “She recognizes that it’s going to be over $10,000, and it’s like, ‘Oh, my goodness.’ Is it worth this amount of money, worth my parents possibly having to draw out loans?”

Consider those families’ concerns, compared with these new numbers from the Institute of International Education’s “Open Doors 2009: Report on International Ed ucational Exchange,” which was released last week.

“The total international student enrollment in U.S. higher education increased by 7.7 percent this year to an all time high of 671,616 international student enrollments. There was an even stronger increase - of 15.8 percent - in the number of ‘new’ international students, those enrolled for the first time at a U.S. college or university in 2008/09.

“Study abroad by U.S. students is up by 8.5 percent to a record-high total of 262,416 in the 2007/08 academic year, and students are continuing to go to more diverse destinations. This latest increase builds on decades of steady growth, with four times as many U.S. students participating in study abroad in 2007/08 than in 1987/88.”

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