LU News Archive

facebook twitter Linkedin Email

LU feted for growth of study abroad programs

Nearly three times as many Lamar University students are studying abroad now than in 2014, thanks in part to a national campaign to help colleges and universities to set clear goals and measurable actions to increase the number and diversity of American college students who study abroad by 2020.

At its 2016 Summit in Washington, D.C. this week, IIE’s Generation Study Abroad initiative recognized Lamar University and 11 other U.S. higher education institutions that have already exceeded their goals to boost study abroad participation. LU is among the first higher education institutions to meet or exceed their goals of the more than 700 colleges and organizations that have joined Generation Study Abroad since its launch two years ago.

Evidence indicates that students who study abroad have better grades, experience less attrition and graduate from college at higher rates than students who do not study abroad, and have a competitive edge on the job market – yet less than 10 percent of American undergraduates study abroad and only one quarter of those are from underrepresented groups.  In recent years, the Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange has shown modest increases in study abroad, but it will take bold action to reach the ambitious goal of doubling study abroad.

Lamar University exceeded its Generation Study Abroad commitment by offering a greater variety of courses for all classifications of students from freshmen to doctoral candidates, as well as a wider availability of sessions throughout the year to accommodate students’ busy schedules. The office also worked to lower costs and raise accessibility for all students.  Participation grew from 60 to more than 180 students in the two-year period.

“It is great that LU is being recognized for the growth in its study abroad program,” said Jeff Palis, director of Global Studies and Study Abroad. “But the real winners are the students who include study abroad in their university experience, and the university overall as we benefit by becoming more globally minded.”

Lamar University joins the following universities and colleges that have met their Generation Study Abroad commitments: the College of Charleston, Davidson County Community College, Knox College, Pellissippi State Community College, Sacred Heart University, SUNY Oswego, SUNY Plattsburg, The New School, University of South Alabama, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Upper Iowa University.  The diversity of the 12 higher education institutions that have met or exceeded their goals early demonstrate how all institutional types – community colleges, arts schools, private liberal arts colleges, and public research universities alike – can incorporate study abroad into the American undergraduate experience. To learn more about each campus’s strategy for exceeding its Generation Study Abroad commitment, please visit

“Just two years after joining Generation Study Abroad, colleges and universities across the country are seeing measurable results in their study abroad participation rates,” said Allan Goodman, the president and CEO of the Institute of International Education (IIE), the non-profit that leads the initiative. “Studying abroad is one of the best ways to prepare to enter and succeed in the interconnected, globalized workforce, yet 90 percent of American college students do not study or intern outside of the United States. We owe it to the next generation of Americans to explain why study abroad is more crucial than ever and to find ways to make it more accessible to a wider range of students.”

IIE Generation Study Abroad Scholarships have provided financial support to 300 high school and college students.  Commitment partners have also received funding through special grants and scholarships offered by study abroad organizations in the Generation Study Abroad network such as CIEE, IES Abroad and AIFS. In addition, Generation Study Abroad country partners, including France, Ireland, and New Zealand, have offered scholarships for American students to study in their respective countries.  Many of the nearly 200 international universities, organizations and government entities that are part of the Generation Study Abroad network are collaborating with U.S. colleges to improve credit transfer and offering new short-term programs.

Visit to learn more about the initiative and to join the network.