Skip to Content

**Grant Awarded to Bennett College for Promoting Study Abroad Opportunities for Underrepresented Students**

Thirteen students, hailing from various disciplines, embarked on a two-week study abroad venture to Morocco in January.

Bennett College has been chosen by the Institute of International Education (IIE) to receive a grant that will facilitate up to Bennett College students in acquiring their initial U.S. passport, paving the way for future study abroad opportunities. This year, IIE granted this opportunity to 51 institutions within the IIENetwork membership, marking the largest cohort thus far.

A pivotal initiative within the IIE, the IIE American Passport Project exemplifies IIE’s dedication to broadening access to international educational experiences and promoting inclusivity by eliminating financial barriers. This, in turn, enhances the diversity of students engaging in overseas studies. The program targets students early in their academic journey, affording them ample time to navigate the passport application process and plan for studying abroad with guidance and support from the participating institutions. The overarching goal of the IIE American Passport Project is to furnish 10,000 U.S. students with passports by the end of the decade.

The IIE American Passport Project aims to engage a wide array of student demographics and educational institutions that cater to individuals traditionally underrepresented in U.S. study abroad programs or those who typically do not possess a U.S. passport. Since its inception in 2021, the program has assisted 176 higher education institutions across 41 states. In this fourth round, 41% of the institutions represent populations served by racial/ethnic minorities – including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs), and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) – or are community colleges. The majority of the awarded institutions are focusing on prioritizing demographics such as first-generation college students, racial/ethnic minorities, students with demonstrated financial need, and those who lack prior international travel experience.

Bennett College boasts a robust study abroad program and a steadfast commitment to offering global travel opportunities to its students. Acknowledged as a Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leader, Bennett College students have journeyed to more than 30 countries. For Bennett College, studying abroad serves as a gateway to a myriad of prospects beyond the conventional classroom setting, providing invaluable exposure to diverse cultures and viewpoints. Immersing oneself in a foreign environment nurtures language proficiency and cultural acuity, essential proficiencies in today’s interconnected world. The grant of 25 complimentary passports for Pell-eligible students will further Bennett College’s objective of ensuring every student possesses a passport and the chance to explore international travel during their time at the College.

Exploring a country’s culture constitutes an integral part of the travel experience. Recently, Bennett College students navigated the bustling marketplace of Chefchaouen, Morocco, also known as “The Blue City.”

About IIE:

The Institute of International Education (IIE) is at the forefront of crafting and executing international education strategies and program services. Collaborating with governments, policymakers, educators, and employers worldwide, IIE prepares individuals for the global workforce and equips them to tackle the increasingly intricate challenges confronting our interconnected world. With the backing of donors, IIE develops initiatives that aid students, scholars, and artists facing threats to their lives and work; promotes cross-cultural teaching and learning; and extends opportunities to underserved populations. Established in 1919 as a non-profit organization, IIE operates through a network of 16 offices and affiliates globally, partnering with over 1,600 higher education institutions.

Through its global outreach, IIE, along with its experienced staff and global offices, has honed significant expertise, capabilities, and best practices across several core areas. The innovative approaches developed in these domains are consolidated within a set of Centers of Excellence: IIE’s Center for International Partnerships and IIE’s Center for Access and Equity. The latter aims to advance accessible programming and equitable practices in community building to enrich and broaden international education, exchange, and opportunities for all.

The IIENetwork serves as IIE’s global membership association, supporting the strategic advancement of international education. Through the IIENetwork, IIE shares decades of experience and expertise, generates resources, and leverages knowledge and practices with members striving to strategize and implement international education efforts, encompassing the establishment of international and academic partnerships, recruitment of international students, and advocacy for study abroad and student mobility.

About Bennett College

Established in 1873 and chartered as a women’s college in 1926, Bennett College is dedicated to nurturing courageous women leaders, entrepreneurs, and catalysts for societal transformation through an integrated approach to fostering the intellectual, social, and spiritual growth of its student body. Bennett College equips women of color with a transformative liberal arts education to lead with conviction, integrity, and a profound sense of self-worth. The institution offers educational access while championing inquiry, civic engagement, social justice, lifelong learning, and equity for all.

In addition to its undergraduate degree programs, Bennett College’s continuing studies initiatives provide avenues for professional development and personal enrichment, encouraging and empowering women to connect, exchange ideas, and enhance their skills. Celebrating its 150th anniversary, the College has been ranked as the #1 national liberal arts college for social mobility in 2022 and recognized as a 2022-2023 Best College for Social Mobility by the esteemed global education ranking authority U.S. News & World Report. Furthermore, Bennett College has been designated as a Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leader for the years 2018, 2019, 2022, and 2023. With a remarkable 90% retention rate, the College is positioned among the Top 25 Women’s Colleges in the nation by College Consensus.