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Passport to Study Abroad: Ursinus Selected for Inaugural Grant Program

Twenty-five Pell-eligible first-year Ursinus students will have a chance to obtain a U.S. passport to support their study abroad journeys thanks to funding from the Institute of International Education (IIE).

The IIE American Passport Project is intended to promote diversity, inclusion, access, and equity in study abroad. It supports the IIE’s global membership network in their efforts to encourage students who would otherwise not participate in an international experience as part of their college education. Ursinus is one of 40 institutions across the country selected for the project, which will aid 1,000 U.S. students this year. The grant is for $3,625.

“This grant will help us to eliminate the initial barrier of obtaining a passport so we can motivate underrepresented students to study abroad,” said Paula Alvarez Tames, director of international programs at Ursinus. “We will help students to complete the passport forms, make passport pictures, and secure their appointments with the closest passport agency.”

“Our goal is to give real access to study abroad to all our students,” she said.

Through the American Passport Project, IIE plans to have enabled 10,000 students to have passports by the end of this decade. Eligibility is limited to first-year students to ensure that the students have ample time remaining in their college career and receive guidance from their advisors to map out a study abroad plan.

In this first year of the project, Ursinus was chosen among nearly 200 applications and according to the IIE, was among the institutions demonstrating the drive to restart international initiatives they have been planning” prior to or during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The nonprofit Institute of International Education is a world leader in helping people and organizations leverage the power of international education to thrive in today’s interconnected world.