Report Reveals Underrepresentation of Students from Minority Serving Institutions in Study Abroad

The Center for Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) at the University of Pennsylvania in partnership with the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) has published a report on the status of study abroad experiences of students at MSIs.

The report offers insight into the challenges facing students who want to study abroad including barriers of cost, culture, and curriculum. These barriers can be exacerbated at MSIs, due to these institutions having limited resources and students who primarily come from low-income families. According to the report, 10.9 percent of U.S. study abroad students in the 2016-2017 academic year came from MSIs. Considering that MSIs enroll over 25 percent of all college students, this statistic reveals a vast underrepresentation of MSI students in study abroad experiences.

Additionally, the report highlights the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship (FDGF), a collaborative initiative created by CSMI and CIEE that covers the costs for 10 outstanding MSI students, chosen for their academic achievement, communication skills, and service to others, to participate in an intensive four-week study abroad program focused on intercultural communication and leadership.

“By outlining the obstacles that can stand in the way of study abroad, and highlighting a program designed to minimize the impact of those obstacles, we hope this report will encourage additional efforts to make study abroad more accessible for under-resourced students, especially those at MSIs,” said Daniel Blake, the report’s lead author and a research associate at CMSI.

The full report, Diversifying Study Abroad and Expanding Equity for Minority Serving Institution Students, may be accessed here.


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