Press room, NAFSA, Mar 12, 2007
WASHINGTON, March 12, 2007 – The Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act of 2007... proposes the creation of an innovative public-private partnership to dramatically increase the number of American college students who study abroad. It specifically cites the foreign policy challenges facing the United States as a central reason for the need to expand Americans’ knowledge of other cultures and foreign languages, and it focuses particular attention on encouraging more students to study abroad in nontraditional destinations, especially in the developing world.
...The Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act would create an independent entity to administer a national study abroad program, taking a unique approach that would give the program the flexibility necessary to accomplish its ambitious mandate: that at least one million U.S. undergraduate students will study abroad annually in ten years’ time, and that study abroad opportunities will become more diverse in terms of participants, fields of study, and destinations, especially in the developing world. In addition to providing a pool of direct scholarships, the program would encourage higher education institutions to address the on-campus factors that most heavily impact study abroad participation – curriculum, faculty involvement, institutional leadership, programming – by making a commitment to institutional reform a prerequisite for access to federal funds....
...Today, only about one percent of U.S. college undergraduates have studied abroad, despite opinion polls that indicate that more than three-quarters of Americans believe it is important to do so and a rising chorus of business, education, and government leaders concerned about Americans’ lack of preparedness in engaging and communicating with the world.