SUNY Embraces National Collective Impact Strategy at 4th Annual Critical Issues Conference

October 29, 2014

Chancellor Zimpher Calls for 25 Percent Increase In Study Abroad By 2020

SUNY Is First System to Join National “Generation Study Abroad” Commitment


New York City – State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher today announced that a new partnership with the Institute of International Education (IIE) will support a 25 percent increase in study abroad participation by students across SUNY between now and 2020.

The announcement was made today at SUNY’s fourth annual Critical Issues in Higher Education Conference, where the power of collective impact efforts like Generation Study Abroad are being explored by international thought leaders.

SUNY is the first comprehensive system of higher education to join IIE’s Generation Study Abroad initiative, which aims to double the number of college students in the U.S. who study abroad.

“Study abroad gives students an opportunity to experience higher education, research, and job training in  an international environment – that’s a highly valuable commodity in today’s globally-driven, competitive economy,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “Increasing study abroad will bolster student success and help SUNY meet its goals for educating career-ready graduates who are prepared to take on the challenges of today’s economy and meet the needs of a global workforce. SUNY is proud not only to join the Generation Study Abroad commitment but to hold it up as an example of collective impact strategy at work.”

“International experience is one of the most important components of a 21st-century resume, and studying abroad must be viewed as an essential experience when students are earning their degree,” said IIE President Allan E. Goodman. “The State University of New York’s commitment to Generation Study Abroad is a significant boost to our global effort, and we commend Chancellor Zimpher and the presidents at each of SUNY’s campuses for their support and commitment.”

Currently, fewer than 10 percent of all college students nationally study abroad during the course of earning their degree. According to the Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange released by IIE last November with support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, 295,000 students studied abroad in 2011-12 in credit-bearing and non-credit programs.

Approximately 5,000 students from SUNY campuses participate in study abroad programs each year. As the largest state system in the country, SUNY operates the largest study abroad consortium in the nation, providing students access to nearly 600 program opportunities on every continent.

As SUNY works to increase system-wide participation by at least 25 percent, campuses will expand their study abroad networks to include more programs, partners, and destinations, offering on-the-job training through international internships at overseas locations and increasing awareness of the opportunities that exist, particularly for students who are traditionally underrepresented in study abroad.

About Generation Study Abroad
In addition to SUNY’s system-wide commitment, more than 200 higher education institutions from 41 states have joined IIE’s Generation Study Abroad initiative. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and several foreign governments, as well as key higher education associations and study abroad provider organizations, have also pledged to support the goals of the initiative.

Generation Study Abroad seeks to significantly increase participation by bringing employers, governments, associations, and others together to build on current best practices and find new ways to extend study abroad opportunities and resources to tens of thousands of college students whose needs are not currently served by existing study abroad programs. 

About the Institute of International Education
The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,200 member institutions. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations. IIE also conducts policy research and program evaluations, and provides advising and counseling on international education and opportunities abroad.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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Holly Liapis
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