April 21, 2023 – Virginia Union has been selected by the Institute of International Education (IIE) to receive an IIE American Passport Project grant that will enable up to 25 Virginia Union students to obtain a U.S. passport and support their study abroad journeys. In this third year of the program, IIE awarded 48 institutions in the IIENetwork for this opportunity, which will help up to 1,200 Pell-eligible, U.S. students obtain their U.S. passports and start their study abroad journey. “A passport is the first thing that opens up their world to the possibility of study abroad,” said Courtney Temple, IIE Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer.
As a key initiative under IIE’s newly launched Center for Access and Equity, the IIE American Passport Project represents IIE’s commitment to create access to international education opportunities and enable equity. For this program, IIE is removing an initial financial barrier for many – the cost of a U.S. passport; thereby, helping to increase diversity and inclusion of students studying abroad. Through the IIE American Passport Project, IIE aims to empower 10,000 U.S. students with their passports by the end of this decade.
In addition, the grant is intended to support the IIENetwork, IIE’s global membership association, in assisting students from their respective campuses to go abroad who would otherwise not participate in an international experience as part of their college education. The program prioritizes first-year students, with limited financial means, for whom this may be their first passport and makes global learning abroad a greater possibility with an earlier start. The awarded institutions will couple the grant funding with their engagement and outreach, advising, programming, and additional support for the students they have identified for this program.
VUU Office of Study Away will allow 25 "first-year Pell Grant eligible" students to participate in a traditional, bilateral exchange, international service-learning, international internships, faculty-led or independent short-term study abroad, and faculty-led programs abroad. This grant will also provide Virginia Union with the Post-Covid study abroad reboot needed to adhere to the Nine Nobles Strategic Plan noble culture; every student must have a term away experience. Most importantly, VUU will provide students with an all-access granted the opportunity to become globally competent citizens in today’s globalized workforce and increase critical language immersion and produce critical language-speaking BIPOC HBCU graduates.
The Institute of International Education (IIE) is the leader in designing and implementing international education strategies and program services. We work with governments, policymakers, educators, and employers across the globe to prepare students and professionals for the global workforce and equip them to solve the increasingly complex challenges facing our interconnected world. With support from donors, we also create initiatives that assist students, scholars, and artists whose lives and work are threatened; expand teaching and learning across cultures; and provide opportunities to underserved populations. A not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 16 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,600 higher education partners.
In its work around the world, IIE’s global offices and experienced staff have developed significant expertise, capabilities and best practices in a set of core areas. Our cutting-edge approaches developed in these fields are formalized in a set of Centers of Excellence: IIE’s Center for International Partnerships and IIE’s Center for Access and Equity. IIE’s Center for Access and Equity aims to advance accessible programming and equitable practices in community building that enrich and expand international education, exchange, and opportunity for all.
The IIENetwork is IIE’s global membership association supporting the strategic advancement of international education. Through the IIENetwork, IIE shares decades of experience and expertise, generates resources, and leverages knowledge and practices with members who are working to strategize and actualize international education efforts, including building international and academic partnerships, recruiting international students, and advocating for study abroad and student mobility.
For more information, contact:
Virginia Union University
1500 N. Lombardy Street
Richmond, Virginia 23220