IES Abroad and Chicago Scholars Launch Chicago Scholars Abroad Initiative to Promote Diversity Among College Students who Study Abroad

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Scholarship and financial aid fund will support up to 20 underrepresented Chicago college students to study abroad annually.

Two Chicago-based organizations, dedicated to providing higher education opportunities to traditionally underrepresented students (defined as racial/ethnic minorities, financially needy students, first generation, or those having a history of overcoming adversity) have announced the creation of a major new initiative to increase the number of disadvantaged students from the Chicago area participating in college study abroad programs.

IES Abroad, a 61-year-old international education not-for-profit, and Chicago Scholars, which helps high-achieving high school students overcome the barriers to their collegiate access and success, have joined forces to launch the Chicago Scholars Abroad initiative. When fully funded, the initiative will provide scholarship aid of $4,000 per student for tuition/fees, plus a $1,000 transportation and living stipend, for up to 20 Chicago Scholars students each academic year.

IES Abroad will fund the first three years of the initiative; the first cohort of Chicago Scholars Abroad students is expected to take part in study abroad programs starting in fall 2012. IES Abroad and Chicago Scholars will work cooperatively to build a sustainable scholarship fund, supported by Chicago-area IES Abroad alumni and other donors, to support future Chicago Scholars Abroad students.

In addition to providing students with scholarships to support studying abroad at one of IES Abroad’s 35 locations around the world, the Chicago Scholars Abroad initiative will also include study abroad workshops and peer engagement for high school and college-level Chicago Scholars students and their parents; a customized guide for preparing to study abroad; and opportunities to interact with program donors on a case-by-case basis.

In addition to providing economically challenged students with an opportunity to study abroad in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand or South America, the initiative will support and cultivate a home-grown talent pool of diverse, globally-sophisticated Chicago professionals who can contribute toward strengthening the city’s reputation as an international mecca for business, education, technology, the arts and other interests. Beyond the boundaries of Chicago, the Chicago Scholars Abroad initiative can also help to increase future diversity among the nation’s diplomatic and foreign affairs corps, national security, and commerce and finance industries.

Cultivating a diverse, globally-savvy workforce
Underrepresented students make up nearly 20 percent of all students IES Abroad educates abroad, a 43.9 percent rise in just five years. Enrollment continues to grow as the IES Abroad Initiative to Diversify Education Abroad (IDEA) builds a pipeline of underrepresented students into its study abroad programs.

Through its commitment to provide study abroad opportunities to traditionally underrepresented college students, IES Abroad is partnering with top-tier American colleges and universities to prepare future leaders. These underrepresented students develop critical skills in world languages and intercultural understanding through participation in IES Abroad programs. The skills can help provide competitive advantages as they answer the need for the diverse and globally competent workforce of the present and future.

Chicago Scholars provides a comprehensive five-year mentoring program that supports first generation, low income, and underserved college-bound youth to transition from high school to college, and from college to career. The organization serves more than 800 high-potential scholars from virtually every public, private and parochial high school in Chicago. Over 95 percent of Chicago Scholars graduate from more than 100 colleges and universities around the nation. http://www.chicagoscholars.org

IES Abroad, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2010, is a global, not-for-profit academic consortium offering study abroad programs to more than 5,500 U.S. college students each year who participate in 100 programs at 35 international locations. IES Abroad offers programs in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, New Zealand and South America. http://www.IESAbroad.org

In October of 2010, IES Abroad received the prestigious Quality Improvement Program (QUIP) designation from The Forum on Education Abroad for meeting the highest standards for study abroad programming and evaluation in the nation.

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Carol Jambor-Smith
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