American Institute for Foreign Study Foundation

Host a Foreign Exchange StudentAcademic Year in America

Study Abroad: A 21st Century Perspective - Volume 1

Table of Contents

Creative funding for study abroad: A guide for advisors by Charles A. Gliozzo
Assistant to the Dean, International Studies and Programs, Michigan State University

There is no failure, except in no longer trying; no defeat, except from within; no insurmountable barrier, except our own inherent weakness of purpose —Anonymous

Creativity is in the eyes of the beholder. It could be a traditional activity or development but modified with new ideas. The other alternative is to be entirely innovative. But in both examples, the outcome is the same, to generate funds for study abroad. This goal becomes more apparent with reduced state and federal government support, increased tuition costs, the high cost of technology, and increased salary competition for quality faculty. All of these factors have a direct impact on study abroad funding. As Thomas Disch said, "creativity is the ability to see relationships where none exist." A review of the following initiatives in educational institutions, the private sector and government will assist study abroad administrators in their continuous quest for funding.

Study Abroad Office Initiatives
Study abroad offices should take the initiative in establishing innovative approaches in fundraising. A prime priority is that study abroad advisors should become knowledgeable about scholarship web sites such as Fast Web (, Mark Kantrowitz's guide (, University of Minnesota online study abroad (, etc. as well as publications. For example, the Office of International Studies and Programs at Michigan State University has published "A Student's Guide to Scholarships, Grants, and Funding Publications in International Education and Other Disciplines" which is a 79 page annotated comprehensive directory of information including web sites and reference works. These citations and other sources can be found in the SECUSSA section of

In 1990, Michigan State University established an Overseas Study Endowment Fund. The monies for this fund come from former student participants, faculty, corporations, etc. An endowment fund has benefits since it is permanent and the interest accrued annually goes for study abroad scholarships. Moreover, more revenue is generated as the principal increases. A Michigan private donor in 1999, established an international scholars endowment fund at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in honor of his late wife. Approximately $50,000 will be awarded in the first year to overseas study by GVSU undergraduates who are primarily interested in the Arts and Humanities.

Matching funds can be a potential opportunity. Corporations such as Coca Cola, which have given grants for study abroad usually request matching funds from the grantee. Study abroad units in concert with the development office and the assistance of the central administration can tap those departments which sponsor overseas programs for matching funds. Scholarships would be offered to their students as an incentive to obtain funds. The matching gift concept doubles the amount of scholarships and is symbolic of an institutional commitment to study abroad. A unique model is the summer internship fund sponsored by the School for Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins University. Monies are collected through various school functions and the funds are matched by the university. In 1999, $50,000 was provided as stipends to support student internships in the United States and abroad.

In contacting former overseas study alumni, study abroad units have been successful in raising revenue through organized telethons and mail campaigns coordinated with the development office. Several study abroad offices use commissions from the sale of Britrail, Eurail, and International Student Identity Cards (ISIC) in funding scholarships. At the University of Tennessee all proceeds along with profits from the sale of ISIC's and Youth Hostel cards go directly into the U.S. Students Abroad Scholarship program.

Another approach is to obtain a list from the local Department of Commerce office of international corporate organizations which own U.S. private sector firms in the state. Many of these parent firms will contribute to a scholarship fund in the interests of promoting community good will, particularly, if students are participating in overseas study programs in the host country. Toyota is a good example of a corporation which has given study abroad scholarships and owns many subsidiaries in the United States.

Boston College has taken an innovative approach to fundraising. Traditionally, this institution has focused on an interdisciplinary approach to Irish studies, involving the departments of political science, education, and business studies. Support for their Institute of Irish Studies not only comes from the British, Irish and U.S. governments, but from the private sector (IBM) and from organizations such as Ireland Funds, International Fund for Ireland, and the Irish American Partnership. The Institute administers approximately 21 programs which involve hundreds of individuals from North and South Ireland as well as many Boston College students. Boston College's faculty are involved as consultants in helping Ireland with marketing tourism, corporate child care, etc.

Boston College emphasizes an academic strength in Irish studies and utilizes the entire campus in furthering that objective. Fundraising activities are quite extensive involving governments, the private sector, and sponsored organizations. Concurrently, institutional aid cannot be ignored.

Institutional Aid
This aid is funded by the student's home institution. These scholarships and grants can be based either on need and/or merit. Not all institutional aid is released for overseas study since scholarships can be restricted to the campus, state, or domestic programs. Advisors and administrators should be able to obtain information regarding domestic and overseas institutional aid from the Office of Overseas Study, Financial Aid office, or from the University Development office. Institutional aid can come from a variety of donors: alumni, faculty, administrators, endowments, and the private sector. Motivations for giving vary with each of these constituent groups. Colleges and Departments have established grants in honor of faculty members who have distinguished themselves in the field of international education. As indicated earlier, families have established overseas study endowments in memory of an individual or family member. Each of these scholarships might have specified criteria. Donors are usually interested in the applicant's academic record, foreign language competence, discipline focus and areas of study, either country or region as well as an essay on overseas study goals. For example, Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida has the Frida B. Marx Memorial, which are awards for students who wish to study in Germany, and the William McLaughlin Memorial awards for overseas study for students with financial need.

Study abroad advisors should periodically check with their colleagues at other institutions who have received grants about fundraising strategies. The credibility and importance of study abroad endorsed by Federal/State governments, central administrators, and national organizations have generated a positive environment for fundraising. Study abroad administrators should take advantage of these opportunities and be continuously diligent in pursuing private sector funds. Yet the reality exists that increasing workloads, limited staff, and at some universities non-institutional support have been a deterrent to fundraising activities. The response is to be pro-active since study abroad is becoming an integral part of a student's education, which includes underrepresented students.

Underrepresented Students (Minorities, Students with Disabilities and Non-Traditional Students)
Various types of financial aid from Federal to institutional might apply to assist underrepresented students enrolling in overseas study programs. Special grants or scholarships are specified for this purpose. The Robert Bailey Minority scholarships sponsored by the Council of Educational Exchange (CIEE) is a prime example. Another opportunity is the Minority International Research Training Grant (MIRT), offered by the National Institute of Health (NIH). These grants increase student minority participation in the health research sector either in domestic or overseas areas. The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) offers minority incentive predissertation awards for research in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, Near and Middle East. Awards include language training and appropriate course work, etc. The School of International Training (SIT) of World Learning was awarded a $200,000 two year grant from the David and Lucile Packard foundation for undergraduate science majors attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Awardees will participate in any of the SIT's science-oriented study abroad programs. The American Institute For Foreign Study offers scholarships for minorities studying on their programs.

A non-traditional student who is not matriculating for a degree is usually enrolled in a continuing education program. These students who aspire to go overseas to enhance their professional development disciplines should seek information from appropriate academic units to determine if they are eligible for overseas study scholarships. Criteria might vary with institutions and program sponsored organizations. Since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, study abroad and financial aid offices are required to offer the same services to non-disabled and disabled students.

Service Organizations, Program Sponsors and Ethnic Groups
These constituent organizations, sponsors, and groups are additional sources of aid for study abroad. A variety of examples might suffice. The Rotary Foundation based in Evanston, Illinois has a private, sponsored international scholarship program which provides funds for undergraduate, graduate and vocational students. Other civic groups such as Kiwanis International, Lions International, and the American Association of University Women may fund local or regional students who wish to pursue overseas study.

Study Abroad administrators in seeking funding opportunities should be aware that Third World areas are becoming increasingly popular with students. The Council of International Educational Exchange (CIEE) has travel grants (John Bowman Scholarships) for students who wish to study in a Third World area such as Asia, Africa or Latin America. The grants cover the transportation cost from state to state. The School for International Training offers Freeman scholarships for students attending public institutions who wish to study in Vietnam and China. The Institute of International Education offers study abroad grants for undergraduate and graduate students who are in good academic standing and have no previous study abroad experience. Organizations like the American Institute For Foreign Study (AIFS) offers 100 merit scholarships for their own programs. International Research and

Exchange Board (IREX) offers grant opportunities for graduate students who wish to do research and study in Central/Eastern Europe, and in the independent states (formerly part of the Soviet Union).

Ethnic and service organizations have a particular interest in promoting cultural, historical, or language study in their country of origin. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Dante Alighieri, Italian American Foundation, the League of United Latin American Citizens, Goethe Institute, Alliance Française, etc., are significant avenues of funding for overseas study and research. A concerted effort should be made by study abroad units to contact these agencies and organizations as well as other ethnic groups to acquire additional information.

International Alumni Donors
The increased pressure of universities to generate new avenues of revenue and to meet challenging campaign goals have led fundraisers to international alumni. Media reports of MIT, University of California at Berkeley, and Princeton University, etc., as receiving sizable contributions have substantiated the view that international alumni constitutes a "major revenue stream". Yet study abroad advisors and development officers must recognize that the task is not easy. Major cultural differences in how countries do business, tax restrictions on donations and entertainment costs can result in futile results. The problem of maintaining an adequate up-to-date alumni data base can also hinder fundraising efforts. International educators need to understand that the view of philanthropy is culturally different from the U.S. The key in courting overseas alumni is to maintain patience and to understand that it is not a "one-way street".

Universities must cultivate a partnership with their international alumni. This means responding to their concerns, enhancing their professional development, and awarding incentive benefits such as recognizing distinguished alumni, etc. International alumni as a primary fundraising resource for study abroad scholarships cannot be underestimated. International Alumni want U.S. students to study their respective cultures and languages.

The establishment of home-stay and internship programs by international alumni are prime examples of providing study abroad opportunities for U.S. students. These initiatives can be equated in monetary terms as service-in-kind benefits. These support services supplement university fundraising efforts of international alumni for overseas study support. Moreover, many of these overseas alumni are in key positions in government or in the private sector and can be instrumental in providing contacts or information which can lead to fundraising initiatives resulting in overseas scholarships. For an excellent example of how international alumni can be a productive constituent group in study abroad, see

Private Sector—Corporations and Foundations
Other than governmental and institutional aid, the private sector is an additional source of funding for study abroad. Private sector aid supports both need-based and merit-based scholarships. Since higher educational institutions are spending more money on financial aid, the private sector becomes increasingly important. Concurrently, the end of the cold war, the significance of broad-band internet technology, increased U.S. prosperity, and globalization have enhanced the role of the private sector as an enormous potential resource for overseas study funding. For example, the Amoco Foundation, the Chrysler Corporation, the Coca-Cola Foundation, the Lear Corporation have funded study abroad scholarships. If it is a corporation, it will dispense funds through its foundation. Since the foundations rarely offer grants to individuals, but to organizations such as educational institutions, the student generally receives funding through the home institution.

Funding priorities at a foundation usually focus on a field of study, a specific geographical area (city, state, or region), but some give nationally and internationally with specified types of support (endowment, international studies, seed money, operating support, etc.)

Study abroad units should partner with the development office in seeking funds for their students. The institutional development unit has a data base of foundations and corporations as well as a list of international alumni. Development officials have the expertise to assist study abroad administrators in their quest for funding. Development officers act as an important liaison between study abroad officers and the private sector. Many universities have individual development staff members whose sole purpose is to raise funds for international studies and programs. Development units can enlist institutional support from central administrators who are vital in obtaining private sector funding.

Title VI Government Grants/Scholarships and the Role of State Governments
Fulbright IIE related grants for graduate study/research abroad, Fulbright-Hays doctoral dissertation grants, NSEP graduate fellowships/undergraduate scholarships and Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowships need to be cited. These programs supplement a student's "revenue stream" in obtaining funds. These programs can be a forerunner in enhancing professional development and in strengthening existing study abroad programs.

State Governments
Student study abroad advocacy groups allied with institutional support and state legislators represent a powerful constituency in obtaining funds. Wisconsin and Texas state governments have taken a formidable role in establishing study abroad scholarships. The Wisconsin governor with the approval of the state legislature has allocated two million dollars for study abroad scholarships for two years (July 1, 1999 through June 30, 2001). Scholarship money is allocated to each state university contingent on their student population. Eligible recipients must be Wisconsin residents and demonstrate financial need. Since 1989, the Texas legislature each year on the initiative of Texas students has enacted a student $1.00 fee for international education which includes study abroad scholarships. Recently, in the Fall of 1999, students at the University of Texas Austin have increased that fee to $3.00.

This article is only a sampling of what could be done in utilizing external sources of funding. Funding prospects cannot be underestimated. Innovation and having an entrepreneurial spirit can generate opportunities. For example, what about revenues which can be generated through institutional agreements and distance learning programs?

The increasing significance of study abroad has produced more revenue for student scholarships and grants, but the amount is insignificant in proportion to the growing numbers of U.S. students studying overseas. There was approximately a 15% increase in 1998-1999 in contrast to 1997-1998. As study abroad advisors become more knowledgeable about fundraising, they become invaluable resources in helping overseas study students. Any university-sponsored fundraising campaign should have a study abroad component. Study abroad advisors must be diligent in working closely with their development colleagues. Concurrently, they must be continually active in obtaining institutional support for study abroad. The rationale is that the education of our students must have an international dimension in this age of globalization. The message is that an educated overseas study student dispels parochialism. We must seize the day (carpe diem) in seeking alternate sources of funding from faculty, international alumni, the private sector, government, etc. The positive outcome is that the professional development of our future citizens is enhanced as well as the academic excellence of our institutions.

Next article: Breaking New Ground: The Impact of International Service-Learning on the Study Abroad Field by Howard Berry

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