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OSIA Reports Italian Study on Rise in U.S. High Schools and Universities

Press Contact: Diane Crespy, 202-547-8115

Download Press Release and Italian Language Enrollment Report

For Immediate Release:

WASHINGTON, April 29, 2002 - Enrollment in Italian is on the rise in U.S. high schools and universities, and growing faster than the enrollment rates for Spanish, French, and German, according to a study by the Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA)

Using the most current data available from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and the Modern Language Association (MLA), The OSIA Italian Language Enrollment Report found that Italian language enrollment in U.S. high schools rose 46 percent in a six-year period between 1994 and 2000 compared to Spanish enrollment, which rose 26 percent; and French and German, which dropped 2.75 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

At the college level, Italian language enrollment increased nearly 13 percent between 1995 and 1998. During the same period, Spanish enrollment rose 8.3 percent while French and German numbers dropped 3.1 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively.

In 1994, 43,838 American public high school students (grades 9-12) were enrolled in Italian. By the year 2000, enrollment jumped to 64,098 (+46 percent)

In nearly 3,000 U.S. colleges and universities, the number of students studying Italian both at the undergraduate and graduate levels rose from 43,760 in 1995 to 49,287 in 1998 (+12.6 percent).

"It is safe to assume that enrollment for Italian is even higher now," said Michael Greto, director of the OSIA Italian Studies program, noting that this data, while the most recent, is still two to four years old. Greto and OSIA Deputy Director Dona De Sanctis, Ph.D., co-authored the report, which was released April 29.

The OSIA report is on the organization's web site at For a printed copy, send a stamped (34 cents), self-addressed envelope to: OSIA Italian Language Report, OSIA, 219 E Street, NE, and Washington, D.C. 20002. [Sorry, no fax or telephone requests.]

The Order Sons of Italy in America®n (OSIA) is the oldest and largest organization for people of Italian heritage in the nation. Founded in 1905, today it has 575,000 members and supporters and a network of 700 chapters throughout the country.