Bascom Hall at sunrise
JEFF MILLER/UW COMMUNICATIONS

UW-Madison students apparently value their passports as much as their lunch tickets.

The university ranks No. 1 among public institutions in the numbers of students going abroad for semester-long study, and ranks No. 14 among all universities and colleges for studying in foreign lands, according to the Open Doors Report, released on Monday as part of International Education Week.

In the 2015-16 school year, 2,244 UW-Madison students studied abroad, a four percent increase from the previous year, with 56 percent of those students taking part in semester- or year-long programs.

UW-Madison also ranked sixth among all schools for long-term participation measured by either calendar year or academic year.

"Such high participation in semester- and year-long programs is a unique hallmark of UW-Madison," said Dan Gold, director of International Academic Programs, the largest "study abroad" office on campus.

International students coming to UW-Madison continued to grow, with 6,769 students on campus in the 2016-17 school year, up more than five percent from the previous year.

That puts UW-Madison at No. 26 among the top 40 doctoral-granting universities where international students go to school.

And international students studying here means more money spent in Wisconsin.

A report from NAFSA Association of International Educators said the over 13,000 foreign students studying in Wisconsin in the 2016-17 school year spent almost $400 million, supporting over 5,000 non-academic jobs.

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Bill Novak is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.