Thirty-seven Education Abroad Program (EAP) students at UC Santa Barbara have received Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarships for study abroad beginning in fall 2011. UCSB’s total constitutes the most scholarships received by any college or university in the United States for the 2011-12 academic year.
The Gilman Scholarship Program offers grants to U.S. undergraduate students who are also receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at two- or four-year colleges and universities to pursue academic studies abroad. The goal is to prepare U.S. students to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world.
“Despite increasing fees and costs, UCSB students and parents are demonstrating great interest in the variety of EAP’s program options – more than ever before,” said Juan Campo, professor of religious studies and director of UCSB EAP. “The challenge before us is to show that study abroad is still an affordable aspect of undergraduate education and available to all our students. It is for this reason that our office advising team has dedicated itself to encouraging and assisting UCSB students on financial aid to apply for Gilman scholarships. We are very excited about the excellent results of this effort and look forward to continued success next year.”
Established by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000 and sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. State Department, the program is designed to broaden the student population that studies abroad by supporting undergraduates who might not otherwise participate due to financial constraints. However, the program also supports community college students, students in underrepresented fields such as the sciences and engineering, students with diverse ethnic backgrounds, and students with disabilities.
Assisting students from public and private institutions from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, the program encourages students to choose non-traditional study abroad destinations, particularly those outside of Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. UCSB students will study in a number of different countries, including India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Ghana, and Botswana, as well as Spain, Germany, France, and Australia.
Scholarship recipients are chosen through a competitive selection process and must use their awards – an average of $4,000 – to defray study abroad costs such as program tuition, room and board, books, local transportation, insurance, and international airfare.