Study Abroad Impact


Examination of the potential impact of study abroad on students’ academic achievement.

Study abroad courses are offered at many colleges to provide students the opportunity to engage with other countries and cultures. This research described in this report compared academic outcomes of study abroad to non-study abroad students using regression analyses to attempt to control for differences in students’ background variables. The intent was to examine if there was any evidence of study abroad programs being associated with increased academic achievement. In addition, Hispanic students were analyzed to see if any detected associations also held for this group, which is a large proportion of students in California and have historically shown achievement gaps when compared with White and Asian students.

Executive Summary

  • A set of 476,708 first-time California community college students was studied to determine differences in key outcomes between study abroad and non-study abroad students.
  • Poisson and linear regressions were used to control for differences in background variables between study abroad and non-study abroad students.
  • Regression-adjusted outcomes (as well as non-adjusted) between study abroad and non-study abroad students showed study abroad students had higher outcomes on:
    • One-year retention
    • Two-year retention
    • Transfer English completion
    • Transfer math completion
    • Mean transferable units completed
    • Transferable GPA
    • Degree and certificate completion
    • Transfer rates
  • The pattern of study abroad students having higher outcomes also held for Hispanic students.

Click here to download a copy of the report.

StudyAbroadTechReportFinal.pdf610.47 KB

Terrence Willett