The Fund for Education Abroad has announced USD 285,000 to be offered to 68 US college students who are traditionally underrepresented for the Spring 2023 programs as there has been a massive decrease in the number of American students opting to study abroad.
Almost 91% decrease is seen in the number, from 162,633 to 14,549 students, in the academic year 2021-2022. To stop this number from going down further, senators (Democrat) Dick Durbin and (Republican) Roger Wicker introduced the Paul Simon Study Abroad Program Act on November 15, 2022.
This act seeks to provide a competitive grant program for higher education institutions to expand access to study abroad. This bill will allow the grant funds to be used to help offset individual student costs related to study abroad.
“Twelve years of intention and collaboration have paid off, inspiring us anew to manifest our vision of a world where international education is accessible to all students,” said the FEA executive director Angela Schaffer.
The bill is an important step ahead in NAFSA’s long-standing campaign to harness federal resources to increase US students’ access to the mind-expanding and career-enriching benefits of a study abroad experience.
“All graduates from a US college or university should possess the skills and knowledge necessary to compete in the global economy and study abroad is an effective means to achieving this end. By increasing and diversifying study abroad participation through a proven program, the Simon bill ensures a greater number and cross-section of the US population will graduate prepared to enter tomorrow’s workforce just as senator Simon envisioned.”
In the words of Senator Simon’s son Matin Simon, “My dad believed that by giving more young Americans the opportunity to experience other cultures, first-hand might build bridges of understanding in the wake of September 11, 2001.”