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Expanding Horizons with Diversity Scholarships

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August 20, 2020

The tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020 ignited widespread protests across the United States and outrage around the world, shining a spotlight on the issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. As underrepresented populations can attest, the battle is not new.Protests shine a spotlight on the issues and help mobilize people, but as those fighting for equality and civil rights have learned over the years, affecting real change requires having a seat at the table. Real change—systemic change—begins with insight, empathy and hard work and harnessing our collective energy to chart a path forward. It requires leadership. It requires personal responsibility. It requires hard work.

Increasing Opportunity

Historically, underrepresented students haven’t received the same opportunities as other students. While the number of minority students enrolled in college has increased over the past two decades, their percentages in study abroad have not grown at the same pace.

One effort to address diversity and inclusion in global education is the Fund for Education Abroad Spring 2021 Access Scholarship Opportunity. IFSA is a proud partner in the program and its commitment to increase the number of underrepresented college students studying abroad.

Why It Matters

Numerous advantages come from study abroad. Although it delivers unique learning opportunities for students, studying abroad promises benefits far beyond personal gain.

National and Global Implications

The United States cannot remain globally competitive without citizens who are equipped with global skills and knowledge. Ensuring that many more college students have access to study abroad as part of their academic preparation is vital to the U.S.’s ability to compete successfully in a global economy.

Study abroad is a learning opportunity that enables students to develop critical skills needed to compete in today’s global economy, including foreign language fluency, strong problem-solving and analytical capability and cross-cultural competence. Recent studies show a positive correlation between students who study abroad and higher grade point averages and degree completion rates. Study abroad also contributes in essential ways to prepare students for the competitive global environment into which they will graduate and should be the norm, not the exception, across U.S. higher education. They develop real-life experience with intercultural communication skills, adaptability and empathy for others.

Student Success

Student success is positively affected when students have opportunities to study abroad:

  • Four-year graduation rates are 18 percent higher for students who study abroad.
  • Study abroad has also been shown to increase a student’s GPA.
  • Expanded Employment Opportunities

According to Diversity Employers, the top 10 employers seek graduates who can think critically and have a global perspective. A 2014 survey found that almost 40 percent of companies surveyed missed international business opportunities because of a lack of internationally competent personnel. When 95 percent of consumers live outside of the United States, we cannot afford to ignore this essential aspect of higher education.

  • Thirty-six million U.S. jobs are tied to international trade.
  • Seventy-five percent of American companies said a global perspective was considered necessary for staff.

The application for the Spring 2021 Fund for Education Abroad Scholarship Opportunity is open through September 16, 2020. Connect with us to learn about exciting study abroad options. Take advantage of this opportunity to get on a path leading to a seat at the table.