Passport giveaway for students expands | Nebraska Today

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has been selected by the Institute of International Education for an IIE American Passport Project grant that will enable up to 25 Nebraska students to obtain a U.S. passport and support their global learning journeys. The funding will expand the university’s Husker Passport Giveaway from 100 to 125 students and provide specific support for first-year students with financial need who are eligible for Pell grants.

The Institute for International Education is a world-leading nonprofit that helps people and organizations leverage the power of international education to thrive in today’s interconnected world with more than 200 programs including participants from 180 countries. The IIE American Passport Project grant intends to promote diversity, inclusion, access and equity in study abroad by providing one critical piece of the multi-faceted effort needed to reach students who are traditionally underrepresented in study abroad: a passport. For students of limited means, studying abroad can require long-term planning and involve financial hurdles – like the cost of a passport – which could bar them from moving forward.

“Receiving funding through IIE’s American Passport Project allows us to expand our efforts to reach these students, to lower barriers to study abroad and to deliver on our commitment in the Forward Together global strategy to make students Future and World Ready through experiential learning,” said Josh Davis, associate vice chancellor for global affairs.

In the second year of the program, Nebraska is one of 40 institutions awarded this opportunity by IIE, which will help 1,000 Pell-eligible students across the country obtain their U.S. passports and start their study abroad journey. By the end of the decade, IIE plans to have enabled 10,000 students to have passports.

The American Passport Project also supports the IIENetworkIIE’s global membership network that includes Nebraska – in their efforts to encourage students to go abroad who would otherwise not participate in an international experience as part of their college education. As part of the grant, selected institutions will provide innovative programming, engagement efforts, advising and support for those students they have identified with the goal of sending them on a study abroad program during their college experience.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant from IIE, which will allow us to expand the Husker Passport Giveaway we’ve hosted in the past two years,” said Marnie Nelson, associate director of Global Experiences and co-PI for the IIE grant. “With this funding, we can increase the number of passports covered by the university this fall with specific promotion to our first-generation students.”

Since fall 2019, the Global Experiences Office (formerly Education Abroad) has hosted the annual Husker Passport Giveaway in partnership with the university’s Passport Office to cover the full cost (approximately $180) of obtaining a U.S. passport for 100 undergraduate students. 191 Huskers have received their first passport through the initiative, saving students money and encouraging them to explore travel and education abroad.

With the additional support from the IIE American Passport Project, the Global Experiences Office aims to cover 125 passports for current undergraduate students over the next academic year. Funding from the new grant will cover the application fees of 25 first-year, Pell-eligible students so they can receive their first passport.

“Working on the Husker Passport Giveaway last year was a lot of fun and eye-opening to realize how complex it can be for our students to navigate this system,” said Angela Luedke, global experiences coordinator for the College of Business and co-PI on the IIE grant. “I saw how big of a difference it made to go through the passport application process step-by-step with students and get them connected to our office sooner so they can learn about scholarships and different programs. Gaining more funding to create more opportunity for our students was a big reason why we decided to apply for this IIE grant.”

In alignment with the office’s aim to increase the number of traditionally underrepresented Nebraska students studying abroad and IIE’s mission, Global Experiences plans to work closely with various access programs across the university, including learning communities and the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid. Luedke will also coordinate the inclusion of the IIE funding to the Husker Passport Giveaway with Rebecca Baskerville, associate director of experiential and global learning in the University Honors Program.

Applications for the next cycle of the Husker Passport Giveaway will be due in fall 2022. For more information about the Husker Passport Giveaway or Nebraska’s IIE American Passport Project grant, contact Angela Luedke at [email protected].

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