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Webinars Explain Details of Gilman Scholarships

The Institute of International Education (IIE) now offers a series of webinars on the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship program, which encourages U.S. undergraduate students to study abroad. Gilman Scholarships aim to diversify the composition of typical study-abroad cohorts by giving preference to the atypical students, including those in the sciences and engineering.

Studying overseas can enrich a student’s academic development and enhance career prospects as well, but for many students, the financial barriers can be daunting. The Gilman program funds more than 1200 scholarships a year of up to $5000 (the average award is about $4000) covering tuition, room and board, books, local transportation, insurance, and airfare. Recipients must be awardees of Pell Grants, or have been approved for a Pell Grant, a student at a 4-year college or community college, and accepted into a study-abroad program offering credits toward graduation. Pell Grants are a federal program awarded on the basis of financial need, determined by a formula covering family income and assets.

An objective of the Gilman program (funded by the U.S. State Department, but administered by IIE), is to diversify the population of American undergrads who study abroad. It gives preference to science and engineering students, who are generally under-represented among the numbers of students who go overseas. The program also gives preference to students want to study in regions other than Europe and Australia, as well as ethnic minorities and the disabled. In addition, the Gilman program requires students to do a follow-on service project when returning to the U.S.

IIE offers a series of webinars, given by the program administrators, which provide details about Gilman Scholarships; the next webinar is scheduled for 11 August. The application deadline for the spring 2010 round of Gilman awards is 6 October 2009.