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Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Program Act Introduced in Senate

April 15, 2019

Roanoke College student

ACE is among the many organizations supporting the bill

​ACE is among the organizations supporting the newly introduced Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Program Act​, which creates a competitive grant program for higher education institutions to expand study abroad opportunities for American college students.

The primary goal of the program is to increase the number and diversity of undergraduate students studying abroad. Currently, less than two percent of all enrolled post-secondary students in the U.S. participate in study abroad, and participation is not often viewed as representative of the broad diversity seen on today’s college campuses. 

Named after the late Illinois senator Paul Simon—who promoted the value of international education as vital to the United States’ economic and national security—the bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

The goals of the Paul Simon Study Abroad Program include:

  • Increase the overall number of undergraduate students studying abroad annually to one million students within 10 years;
  • Increase the number of minority students, first-generation college students, community college students, and students with disabilities studying abroad, so that the demographics of study abroad participation reflect the demographics of the undergraduate population; and 
  • Increase the number of students who study abroad in nontraditional destinations, with an emphasis on developing countries, while maintaining health and safety guidelines and procedures informed by Department of State travel advisories and other appropriate federal agencies and resources.

Durbin first introduced this legislation in 2006 as the Abraham Lincoln Study Abroad Act based on the recommendations of the Commission on the Abraham Lincoln Study Abroad Fellowship Program.​ 

For a full list of the supporting organizations, click here​. ​​

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