Study Abroad Office Key Data Points

Academic Years 2007/08 – 2014/15

[View the full report]

Quantitative Summary

Advising hours [1st Step through program abroad]: >19,200
Enrolled abroad: 1,600
Under-represented students… 48%
1st Generation  in family to college… 36%
Transfer students… 29%
Pell eligible [2014/15] … 48%
Credit hours earned: 14,941
Scholarships & Grants: $1,706,529


  • The 4 year [54%], 5 year [85%], and 6 year [92%] graduation rates for study abroad students are significantly higher than for the campus as a whole.
  • First Step Advising attendance has increased 63% since fall 2008.
  • Overall enrollment has increased 20% since AY 2008/09.
  • Students studied in 87 countries.
  • The percentage of under-represented students studying abroad [48%] is more than double the national average.
  • Scholarship and grant funding for study abroad students has gone up by 78% since fall 2008 to a cumulative total of just over $1.7 million.
  • In AY 2014/15, 48% of students who studied abroad were Pell eligible: a 170% increase since AY 2008/09.
  • Program affiliations have grown to over 150 universities worldwide either through direct relationships or academic consortia partners.
  • Credit earned in a student’s major and/or minor has increased 28% to nearly half of all credit earned since AY 2008/09, indicating increased curriculum integration.
  • The average semester cost for Study Abroad students is about the same, including airfare and all incidental costs, as being full time and living on campus with a meal plan.

Student Success

Graduation rates for beginning fall cohorts 2004-09 who studied abroad vs. campus average shows that studying abroad does not lengthen the time to graduation. These results are consistent with findings from substantially larger longitudinal studies done at University of Minnesota, UC-San Diego, and the Georgia State University System. See for a list of research findings on retention and study abroad.[1]

graph1 The 4 year graduation rates of study abroad students average 54% vs the campus average of 30%.
graph2 The 5 year graduation rates of study abroad students average 85% vs the campus average of 51%.
graph3 The 6 year graduation rates of study abroad students average 92% vs the campus average of 52%.

Student Demographics

Diversity of Race/Ethnicity, Language, 1st Generation, Gender

Defining diversity is multifarious. The vocabulary and the context in which it is used are often contested. The UIC Study Abroad Office is proud to support one of the most diverse student populations that embark on overseas educational opportunities. We are dedicated to supporting students from diverse backgrounds including, but not limited to, categories of race/ethnicity, socio-economic background (e.g. financial need, first generation), physical ability, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

In fall 2010, new ethnicity and race categories were created based on revised federal reporting requirements.  This report timeline crosses over that timeline.  To be consistent, all race/ethnicity data labels are limited to the four shown in graphs throughout the report.  The information is directly from the student, who self-identifies in one of the four groups – or ‘other’.  Providing this information is optional for the student so some of the ‘other’ category includes students who have not identified.

UIC is way ahead of the national averages in the inclusion of under-represented students in study abroad. These data are counterintuitive to the national trends.  The IIE/National data show 22% of US students going abroad identify in an under-represented group.  For UIC, that percentage is more than double.  The trend line for UIC also shows continued growth in accessability to study abroad for under-represented students: from approximately 34% in academic year 2007/08 to 48% in 2014/15.


Gender identity, first generation to attend college, transfer student, first language, and finances all post additional potential barriers to study abroad.  Decisions along the pathway from initial interest to participation often include wider family discussions. Regardless of the destination, the amount of scholarships/grants won by the student, or the kind of academic credit, for many study abroad is ultimately a family decision.

  • Looking at a binary GENDER scale of male/female, UIC reflects the national trend of many more students who identify as female studying abroad than males; 71%/29%. The national data is 65%/35%.
  • Students in households where NEITHER PARENT ATTENDED COLLEGE account for 36% of the UIC study abroad cohort.
  • TRANSFER STUDENTS make up approximately 26% of the study abroad cohort. They have particular challenges because of major/minor requirements and four year plans.  For many there is just not enough time or academic opportunity, although the majority of those who do go abroad do so on short-term summer programs.
  • As noted elsewhere, COST is perceived by students to be their biggest concern: 86% of students mark it at the top of their list at their First Step Advising session. Notably, this is in contrast to only 14% who mark ‘Family Support’ as a barrier.  Ironically these two categories often get reversed in order of importance for the final decision to go abroad.  Regardless, we have had significant recent success in our outreach and advising for Pell eligible students.  The spike in Pell recipients studying abroad we believe is related to increased collaboration between SAO and the Offices of Financial Aid and Special Scholarship Programs in messaging and outreach to students in this category.  SAO has also worked with academic partners to create Pell match grants for students going on particular programs.


53% of Study Abroad students speak one [or more] of these 50+ languages at home:

Amharic, Albanian, Arabic, Assyrian, Bengali, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Cambodian, Cantonese, Fanti, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Gujarati, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Igbo, Ilonggo, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Lithuanian, Malay, Malayalam, Mandarin, Marathi, Mongolian, Norwegian, Pashto, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Taiwanese, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Twi, Ukranian, Urdu, Vietnamese, Visaya, Yoruba


[1] Also see: The Impact of Study Abroad on Academic Success: An Analysis of First-Time Students Entering Old Dominion University, Virginia, 2000-2004. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, Vol. XXIII, Fall 2013

Go abroad and graduate on-time: Study abroad participation, degree completion, and time-to-degree.
Doctoral Dissertation: University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Hamir, H. B. (2011)

Academic Outcomes of Study Abroad
Inside Higher Ed article (July 13, 2010)

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