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University wins grant to award study abroad scholarships

Posted 06/15/15

Fitchburg State University, seeking to increase the number of its students who travel abroad, is one of 26 universities to receive scholarship funding from the Institute of International Education. The funds will help provide at least six Fitchburg State students with $2,500 scholarships to study overseas next year.

Fitchburg State students take part in a variety of international programs, from semester- and year-long placements to shorter experiences during the summer or spring breaks. More than 40 students are studying abroad this summer, according to Study Abroad Advisor Tracey Sarefield from the Office of International Education.

The university continues to explore affordable programs for students including study abroad programs such as spring break trips to France, Spain, England, Japan and Turkey. In those classes, the international travel complements a semester’s worth of classroom experience. Scholarship support brings such programs within student’s reach, Sarefield said.

The Institute of international Education (IIE) launched the Generation Study Abroad campaign in 2014 with a goal of doubling the number of students who go abroad each year. Nationally, fewer than 10 percent of American students study abroad, according to the IIE.

The campuses applied to take part in the IIE scholarship program and were selected based on the progress the institutions have made toward their Generation Study Abroad commitments. Among the winning campuses are several minority-serving institutions, historically black colleges and community colleges.

With funding from IIE, the Government of Ireland, STA Travel, and other donors, the winning institutions will each receive $7,500. The campuses will match this funding, and award at least six scholarships of $2,500 each to students. In total, approximately $400,000 in scholarships will be awarded to students. These scholarships can be used for the cost of tuition, books, and travel related to study, service learning or internships abroad between summer 2015 and spring 2016.

“The IIE Generation Study Abroad Scholarships will give more students – and more underrepresented students -- the opportunity to gain international experience, which is one of the most important components of a 21st-century education,” said Institute of International Education President and Chief Executive Officer Allan E. Goodman.

IIE’s Generation Study Abroad is a five-year initiative to mobilize resources and commitments with the goal of doubling the number of U.S. students studying abroad by the end of the decade. Launched in March 2014, the network continues to gain momentum and now has over 600 partners from the U.S. and abroad. As part of their commitments, Generation Study Abroad partner campuses have pledged to raise money and give scholarships, and a number of study abroad program providers and host campuses outside of the United States have pledged to award scholarships toward the cost of their programs.

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