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$1.5m backing for US study abroad programs

The US Department of State has awarded nearly $1.5 million to 44 colleges and universities to develop and expand study abroad programs.

Grants will fund experiences to Morocco, Taiwan, Rwanda, Nepal, Chile,French Polynesia and Japan, just to note a few. Photo: iStock

Among the HBCUs gaining funding are Bennett College and Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina, Albany State University in Georgia, West Virginia University and Xavier University of Louisiana

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced the 2022 Increase and Diversify Education Abroad grants, which includes programs aiming to help more American students to study abroad.

Awardees are located in 32 states and Puerto Rico, and include 18 minority serving institutions and 10 community colleges. It is a sharp increase on last year, when 26 schools – including nine minority serving institutions and five community colleges – were awarded funding.

Study abroad programs the government funding will support are aligned with US foreign policy goals, USA Study Abroad noted.

“This year, we are… committed to continuing our robust support for US colleges and universities as they build and diversify their study abroad capacity,” the agency said in a message to US international educators.

“These outstanding institutions will develop study abroad programming in all world regions”

Deputy assistant secretary for Academic Programs at ECA, Ethan Rosenzweig said that the selected US colleges and universities “reflect the diversity of the American higher education system”.

“These outstanding institutions will develop study abroad programming in all world regions and thematic areas important to the US, such as climate, democracy and human rights, and economic development and entrepreneurship,” he commented.

“This year the Biden administration is proud to have doubled the number of IDEAS grants that we awarded. We are committed to continuing our robust support for US colleges and universities as they build and diversify their study abroad capacity.”

Funding will also support the development of new international partnerships and programs, faculty training in program development and implementation, the creation of resources to “engage diverse student groups in study abroad” and the development of virtual and hybrid exchanges.

Among the Historically Black Colleges and Universities gaining funding are Bennett College and Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina, Albany State University in Georgia, West Virginia University and Xavier University of Louisiana.

Bennett College will run a program across Costa Rica, South Africa and Tanzania aiming to increase HBCU Faculty and Black Women Studying Climate Change Abroad, ASU will focus on capacity building for teachers in rural schools in Ghana, and ECSU will launch experiences for emergency services students to Barbados and Iceland.

Heidi Manley, USA Study Abroad chief at the ECA, also highlighted the diversity of awardees, which – along with the HBCUs – include community colleges such as Austin Community College, College of Southern Nevada and Heartland Community College, in addition to rural institutions.

“We are committed to working with them to build study abroad programs that are accessible for Americans of all backgrounds and that provide more opportunities for American students to engage with people in more diverse destinations around the world,” Manley added.

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