University of Nebraska international enrollment hits 8th straight record high

November 21, 2014

The University of Nebraska announced today that international student enrollment has reached its eighth straight record high, continuing the university’s progress in attracting talent from around the world and preparing students to live and work in a global economy.

International student enrollment across the four campuses is 4,068 this fall, a nearly 12 percent increase over last year’s record of 3,638. That keeps the university on pace to meet a goal set earlier this decade to double international enrollment, to about 6,000, by 2020. NU’s international student body represents 139 countries, with the most common countries of origin being China, India and Brazil. Other countries with strong growth include Oman and Vietnam.

The figures were reported to the Board of Regents today, coinciding with International Education Week, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Education to promote global engagement. NU campuses are hosting various activities in celebration of International Education Week, which is Nov. 17-21.

Josh Davis, University of Nebraska assistant vice president for global strategy and international initiatives, said international students bring significant economic and cultural value to the university and state. He noted that data released this week from the Institute of International Education show international students added $125 million to Nebraska’s economy in 2013-14.

“Today’s students will spend their careers working with individuals from many different backgrounds and cultures. If we want our graduates to be successful, we need to make sure that our campuses are globally diverse, just like the 21st-century workforce is,” Davis said. “We’re incredibly pleased that more international students than ever are choosing the University of Nebraska. They bring great richness to our campuses and communities.”

As part of its overall strategy for global engagement, the university has focused on developing mutually beneficial partnerships with key countries, including China, India, Brazil and Turkey, which share priorities such as agriculture and water and food security; science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); public health and medicine; early childhood development; and other areas important to Nebraska. Those partnerships open new opportunities for student exchanges. For example, the university has been recognized as a leading host for Brazilian students participating in the Scientific Mobility Program, which is sending 100,000 of Brazil’s most talented students to leading institutions around the world. Other countries, like Oman, also are providing scholarships for their students to go abroad, providing additional opportunities for mutually beneficial collaboration, Davis said.

NU also has a goal to significantly increase the number of students who study abroad, particularly in countries with well-developed higher education systems and demonstrated strengths in NU’s priority areas. For example, thanks to new collaborations in Turkey, 16 NU students traveled to Ataturk University this summer, and joint research projects in early childhood development and obesity are underway between NU and Hacettepe University faculty. NU students also are currently performing internships at the American Exchange Center in Xi’an, China, an NU initiative that opened in 2012 and exposes Chinese students and faculty to U.S. history, law, medicine, art, culture and government.

About 1,200 University of Nebraska students studied abroad in 2012-13, up from about 1,000 in 2010-11.

Media Contact:
Melissa Lee
Director of Communications,
University of Nebraska