The UC Education Abroad Program announced Jan. 14 that it will be offering $1 million in scholarships in an effort to facilitate students’ ability to study abroad.
The scholarships will be available for students of all majors wishing to study abroad in 2013-14 with UCEAP and for student ambassadors — student advisers who have participated in a program. UCEAP will award recipients with $1,000 for summer and $2,000 for the fall and spring semesters. Additionally, two types of $5,000 scholarships are available for students studying abroad for a full year.
“Our vision is that students of all backgrounds benefit from a study abroad experience, and we would like to see participation increase for UC students including those with financial need and first generation college students, as well as students in majors that are traditionally underrepresented in study abroad programs,” said Jean-Xavier Guinard, associate vice provost and executive director of UCEAP, in an email.
UCEAP doubled last year’s $500,000 scholarship fund to $1 million for the 2013-14 year. UCEAP approved the allocation of the additional $500,000 from the organization’s operating budget to scholarships as part of its strategic plan to encourage students to study abroad, according to UCEAP Senior Analyst for Academic Initiatives Stacey Lydon.
According to Anthony Yuen, marketing and communications specialist for Berkeley Study Abroad, about 4,600 students study abroad annually with UCEAP including about 1,200 from UC Berkeley. He said that a portion of the $1 million initiative will be shared with campuses’ EAP offices so students have the option of applying to their campus’s office or UCEAP.
Anja Wittels, a UC Berkeley senior, spent last year abroad in Lyon, France. She was able to convince her family to let her attend after receiving numerous scholarships from UC Berkeley. Now, as a student ambassador for the program, she hopes the extra scholarships will encourage other students to study abroad.
“I think a reason students aren’t applying is because they don’t think money is attainable,” Wittels said. “Knowing how much there was when I studied abroad and how possible it is, I think it’s great.”
UC Berkeley senior Shuangjun Wang studied abroad in Berlin in the spring last year. Although she did not receive any financial aid, she said greater access to scholarships would improve the quality of education abroad.
“With the new scholarship increases, more and more students who previously was denied financial aid (such as myself) will have the opportunity to take advantage of the lesser financial strain that comes with studying abroad and be able to devote more of those savings towards truly making the most out of the study-abroad experience,” Wang said.
Applications for the scholarships will be available in mid-February and will close March 15.