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Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
November 17, 2008


Gilman Scholarship Program is Breaking the Ceiling on Diversity in Study Abroad

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, sponsored by the State Department’s Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Bureau, is breaking the ceiling on minority participation and contributing to the record high number of Americans studying abroad through its support of talented, financially disadvantaged undergraduate students. More than 800 Gilman Scholarships were awarded in academic year 2007-2008, with an increase to 1,200 scholarships anticipated for the current academic year. As a result of strong and targeted outreach, representation of minorities and other underrepresented students among Gilman Scholarship recipients well exceeds that of the U.S. study abroad population as a whole. In the 2007-2008 academic year, the ratio of Gilman recipients who were African American was four times their national participation rate in study abroad. For Hispanic American students, it was triple the national participation rate, and for Asian American Gilman recipients, it was double.

The number of Gilman applications for the 2008-2009 academic year is at its highest level ever, up 12 percent from last year, with the strongest increases in students from community colleges and minority-serving institutions. Applications from African American students are up 35 percent, applications from Asian students are up 34 percent, and applications from Latinos are up 12 percent from last year. The percentage of Gilman recipients from minority-serving institutions has steadily increased from nine percent in the program’s first academic year, 2001-2002, to 19 percent in academic year 2007-2008. The number of Gilman awards to community college students, while still a smaller percentage of the total, has increased sevenfold.

Created by the U.S. Congress in 2001 and administered the Institute of International Education (IIE) on the Department’s behalf, the Gilman Scholarship Program aims to diversify and expand participation in international study by providing greater opportunity for financially-disadvantaged undergraduate American students to study abroad. With strong bipartisan support from Congress, since the Program’s inception the Department has more than quadrupled the number of Gilman Scholarship awards it makes each year.
ECA will have awarded nearly 5,000 Gilman Scholarships by the end of the current academic year to Americans studying in more than 100 countries and representing more than 500 U.S. colleges and universities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The State Department is sending record numbers of U.S. students abroad for its international academic exchange programs, and the Gilman Program is an important component of that success.

For further information on the Gilman Program, see: http://exchanges.state.gov/globalexchanges/gilman-scholarship-program.html

2008/960

Released on November 17, 2008

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