Transylvania University has received a grant to help students get a passport so they can take advantage of a variety of study abroad opportunities.
The funding is made possible through the Institute of International Education.
Twenty-five first-year Pioneers who are receiving Pell Grants for financial need will not only have their passport paid for, but they’ll also participate in a series of mentoring sessions on the application process and on international education in general.
“It allows us to work with these students in a cohort,” said Rachel Wilson ’07, director of global and intercultural engagement. This extra guidance could be especially beneficial for 18-year-olds away from home for the first time. (Adding to the stress, processing times have been delayed because of post-pandemic travel demand.)
Wilson also sees it as a chance to promote study abroad to new students and help them decide what programs are best for them — or how to get additional funding for their travels.
“The idea is that the passport is a real but overcomeable barrier for students who have never had one, never left the country,” she said.
While a regular passport costs $165, making it more accessible might be the nudge that makes international education possible for some students. “It all feels more achievable,” Wilson added.
Through this American Passport Project, IIE aims to provide the document to 10,000 students. It’s the initiative’s third year.
“A passport is the first thing that opens up their world to the possibility of study abroad,” said Courtney Temple, the organization’s executive vice president and chief administrative officer.
In addition to receiving the IIE funds, Transylvania was recently awarded a U.S. Department of State grant helping expand international education opportunities.