NAICU Washington Update

House Passes Bill to Encourage Study Abroad

June 12, 2007

The House has approved a bill that would create a foundation with the goal of sending one million American students abroad each year within the next ten years. Currently, only about 20 percent of that number - one percent of all college students - study abroad.

H.R. 1469, the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act, honors a long-time advocate for student aid and study abroad, and authorizes $80 million annually for the foundation. Funding would be used largely for student grants, provided through universities and other study-abroad providers. The foundation would also work to increase the diversity of students who study abroad - including minority and low-income students, and those from community colleges - and seek to expand the number of students studying in developing countries.

The bill, which passed on June 5, was introduced by Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.). A Senate bill, S. 991, introduced by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) has been referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. Durbin has committed to moving the bill through the Senate quickly. Both bills are based on recommendations from the 2005 bipartisan Lincoln Commission that studied ways to increase study abroad.

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