KU Study Abroad & Global Engagement Selected for IIE American Passport Project

This fall, 95 University of Kansas freshman students will receive free U.S. passports as part of the IIE American Passport Project, a grant initiative sponsored by the Institute of International Education.

Now in its second year, the IIE American Passport Project seeks to promote diversity, inclusion, access and equity in study abroad and encourage students to go abroad who would otherwise not participate in an international experience as part of their college education. 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.

IIE selected KU as one of 40 institutions to receive this unique funding opportunity. Through the IIE American Passport Project, Study Abroad & Global Engagement received grant funds for 25 U.S. passports.  Through the generosity of donors, SAGE contributed additional financial support, enabling up to 95 freshman, Pell Grant-eligible KU students to obtain a U.S. passport this fall.

“We are honored to have been selected by IIE for the American Passport Project,” SAGE Director Angela Perryman said. “One of the primary goals of KU Study Abroad & Global Engagement is to increase the number and diversity of students participating in education abroad, such that the population of study abroad students mirrors the KU undergraduate student population across all student profiles (academic discipline and student demographics). The American Passport Project directly supports this goal by providing students access to a passport and the resources and motivation to use it during their time at KU.”

International education has measurable benefits for all students. As a high-impact practice, study abroad is positively correlated to increased student engagement and retention, the development of soft skills and professional competencies, and improved career outcomes. 

According to recent research from the University System of Georgia Consortium for Analysis of Student Success through International Education, students who studied abroad were 6 percentage points more likely to graduate in four years and 4 percentage points more likely to graduate in six years than their classmates, and achieved higher cumulative grade-point averages than their peers. These effects are even more pronounced for students on need-based aid and those who identify as first-generation college students, making efforts to support and engage these student populations in education abroad both a national and institutional priority. 

The IIE Network is a global membership network connecting more than 10,000 professionals from over 1,500 organizations to resources, including IIE’s extensive knowledge and decades of experience supporting student mobility and exchange, campus internationalization and international partnerships.