CIEE: The Council on International Educational Exchange is providing funding through 2020 for the cost of processing 10,000 student passports. The program is part of CIEE's $20 million Generation Study Abroad Initiative, which seeks to address the biggest obstacles to participating in study abroad, identified by the group as "cost, curriculum, and culture."
Research shows that those who get to study abroad reap significant short-and long-term benefits from the experience, recording higher grade point averages, graduating in a more timely manner, and garnering more interest from prospective employers.
"The ability to move comfortably among cultures makes a difference between college graduates landing a job and finding a path to lifelong career satisfaction," said David F. Fougere, chief operating officer of CIEE Study Abroad. "The Generation Study Abroad Initiative takes on real and perceived beliefs surrounding cost, curriculum, and culture that are keeping students from studying abroad."
What is CIEE?
Founded in 1947, CIEE has become one of the top non-profit groups for facilitating international education and exchange experiences. The group's mission is "to help people gain understanding, acquire knowledge, and develop skills for living in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world."
CIEE offers a range of programs, including study abroad for college students, teach abroad, high school study, "gap year" experiences, internships, professional training, and volunteering.
How to Get a Free Passport
To qualify for the free passport program, launched in November of 2014, students must participate in a CIEE Passport Caravan event on their campus. CIEE is currently accepting applications for student-organized events for fall 2017, spring 2018 and fall 2018. Applicants must provide a summary of how the event would dovetail with the goals of their college or university's internationalization plan in addition to providing an overview of the event.
The University of Maryland-College Park, Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus, the University of Oklahoma, and University of Colorado Boulder are among about a dozen schools that have taken part in the Passport Caravan program. To date, about 1,000 passports have been awarded by CIEE and participating institutions.
"We know that fewer than 300,000 U.S. students study abroad each year, and we here at CIEE really want to see that number double," Beth Donaldson, CIEE vice president of global enrollment management, told the University of Maryland Diamondback.
Stay Safe Abroad
If you are one of the students to take part in CIEE's Generation Study Abroad Initiative, you can gain additional peace of mind by purchasing an international student health insurance policy from WorldTrips.
StudentSecure policies offer up to $500,000 in benefits, provide emergency evacuation services, and can cover sports-related injuries. Plans come in four different coverage levels so that you can find what you need at a price you can afford.