One of the earliest study abroad opportunities for students was a UNC System "Year at Lyons" program, which enabled a select group of students from UNC—Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, and UNC-Greensboro to spend their junior year at the University of Lyon in France. Sponsored by the French department, the program began in 1964 and was repeated annually through the early 1970s. The Romance language departments continued to be the primary sponsors of study abroad programs through the 1970s and 1980s. In 1989 the Daily Tar Heel reported low participation in study abroad outside of students majoring in one of the Romance languages. The university did not always make it easy —to study at another university in the 1970s, students had to withdraw from UNC and then reapply when they returned to the country. The numbers continued to rise as the university provided more support and more opportunities for students. In 1997 the UNC System began the UNC Exchange Program, which focused on providing low-cost study abroad opportunities for students. A 2000 Daily Tar Heel story, "Study Abroad No Longer Just for Rich Kids," suggested that study abroad was becoming more accessible to all students. By the mid-2010s UNC—Chapel Hill reported that more than 30 percent of undergraduates participated in a study abroad program.