Study abroad programs nationwide have now begun to rebound following the 2008 financial crisis, but the number of Georgetown students studying abroad never dropped during the downturn.

According to the Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange released last week, study abroad participation dropped 0.8 percent in 2008-2009, the first time in the report’s 25-year history that the numbers decreased.

During the recession, many colleges cut funding for study abroad programs and financial aid for students studying abroad, while others were forced to forgo all but a few program offerings, the report said.

But recent polls indicate that study abroad programs are once again on the rise. According to the Open Doors Report, 270,604 students earned academic credit for studying abroad during the 2009-2010 academic year. This marked a 4 percent increase from the 260,327 students who participated in the previous academic year.

Throughout this turbulence, Georgetown students’ participation in study abroad programs has remained consistently high, according to Director of Overseas Studies Laura Monarch.

According to Monarch, about 57 percent of Georgetown students will go abroad at some point during their academic career. In contrast, 14 percent of American undergraduates studied abroad during the 2009-2010 school year.

“Here at the Office of International Programs, we continue to see large numbers of students coming to our open houses, information sessions and individual advising appointments,” she said.

In the past four years, over 900 Georgetown students have studied abroad each year through semester-long, full-year and summer programs.

Monarch added that Georgetown’s strong financial aid offerings helped maintain the university’s overseas presence during the recession.

“Since Georgetown ensures that financial aid is transportable to semester and academic year study abroad programs, studying overseas continues to be a viable option,” she said.

Currently, a financial aid package for a student participating in a university-approved study abroad program takes into consideration tuition, rooming and boarding fees, textbook costs and flight expenses. The university also provides small fellowships to supplement traditional aid offerings.

Representatives of the Office of Student Financial Services declined to give statistics about students receiving financial aid for overseas study.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *