Sept. 19, 2022
New effort will help 50 VCU students receive their first passport
For student recipients, American Passport Project grant, matched by VCU’s Global Education Office, will eliminate the barrier to international travel of obtaining a passport.
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Virginia Commonwealth University is one of 40 U.S. colleges and universities selected to receive the 2022 Institute of International Education’s American Passport Project grant, which awards 25 Pell-eligible students their first U.S. passports. In an effort to reach more students, the VCU Global Education Office will match this grant, increasing the total number of recipients to 50.
In partnership with VCU’s TRIO Student Support Services, the Global Education Office will identify eligible students and support them through the process of applying for their first-time passports during Passport Day, an on-campus passport application event to be held on Oct. 28. Application fees for selected students will be covered through the grant.
"The world should be accessible, and this project makes it more so for 50 VCU students. This program is going to open the doors to the world for the next 10 years for the 50 students who receive passports,” said Stephanie Tignor, director of Global Learning at VCU. “It positions VCU to increase access to study abroad by eliminating the barrier of paying for and obtaining a passport while also exposing recipients to the wide variety of high-impact global learning programs offered through GEO right here on campus and in the community like our Global Buddies program, Cultural Conversations and Peace Corps Prep Certificate.
"The recipients might study, research or intern abroad, befriend international students here on campus, participate in a future Fulbright award, or seek international work opportunities. There is enormous potential for such global learning experiences to be life-changing, especially for first-generation students."
The American Passport Project was created in alignment with the Institute of International Education’s mission to diversify study abroad participation and promote equity within the field by removing a common financial barrier.
To be eligible, a student must be a first-year VCU student who is an active VCU TRIO Student Support Services participant. In addition, students must be currently receiving a Pell Grant and be a U.S. citizen who has not previously held a U.S. passport as an adult.
The selected recipients will benefit from the following:
- Attaining a free U.S. Passport Book valid for 10 years from date of issue.
- Individual guidance through the passport application process.
- Access to international opportunities such as study abroad, international internships and research abroad programs.
- Exposure to various on-campus global learning programming such as GEO’s Global Buddies program, Cultural Conversations, study abroad opportunities and other activities.
- Mentoring support from GEO's Global Learning team, including support for identifying and applying for other funding and program opportunities.
Interested VCU TRIO Student Support Services participants will be required to complete an interest form and will be notified if they are selected at a later date. More information about VCU's involvement with the IIE American Passport Project is available or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com with additional questions concerning eligibility or event details.
The month of September is designated as Passport Awareness Month by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs to increase awareness about the impact and benefits of having a U.S. passport.
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