Grant gives low income students at UH Hilo opportunity to study abroad

Institute for Study Abroad Foundation announces $100,000 gift for scholarships

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Posted: Feb 19, 2009

HILO — In an effort to advance international exchange programs and study abroad opportunities, the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo created the Center for Global Education and Exchange in 2005. Last month, the center received the first of two annual $50,000 grants from the Institute for Study Abroad Foundation (IFSA) to give students with limited resources the opportunity to travel and study abroad.

"At UH Hilo, 57 percent of our students are low income students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college," said Keith Miser, executive director of the center. "This special group seldom participates in study abroad programs because of financial barriers. This generous gift from IFSA will allow them the opportunity to broaden their perspectives and become global citizens."

The IFSA Global Scholars Program will be available to everyone, but with preference given to residents of Hawaiʻi who have never studied abroad and who plan to return to UH Hilo at the end of their study abroad program. On average, UH Hilo officials say the cost for the students to study abroad for an academic year ranges from $15,000 to $20,000, which includes tuition, room and board, air transportation, books and supplies, student visas and personal expenses. In the first year, between 10 and 15 UH Hilo students will be accepted into the IFSA Global Scholarship Program. Students who wish to study abroad for one academic year will receive $5,000 and those on a semester program will receive $2,500.

"The Big Island has the lowest per capita income in the state," said UH Hilo Chancellor Rose Tseng. "Higher education offers the best opportunity for island residents to overcome difficult economic and social conditions. In addition, students who participate in the study abroad program will be an invaluable resource to our community. The knowledge and experience they gain from living in another environment and culture will give them the cultural sensitivity to work with people from diverse backgrounds and appreciate all individuals for who they are."

Applicants must apply in March of 2009. Scholarships will be awarded in April and IFSA Global Scholars will begin their study abroad in fall 2009. Recipients will attend pre-departure orientation sessions and will be required to submit "reflection papers" documenting their personal experiences and culture and language learning development while abroad. Upon their return, students will attend a re-entry program to help them readjust to campus life.

"When they return and radiate confidence and share examples of how their experience transformed them into global citizens, other first-generation college students will realize that studying abroad is within their reach," said Miser, "and that they, too, might be able to go abroad like their peers."

For more information, call the Center for Global Education and Exchange at (808) 933-8810 or visit

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The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo is a comprehensive university with five degree-granting colleges, six master's programs and two doctoral programs. UH Hilo strives to integrate culture and sceince, offer hands-on learning opportunities to its students and the use of the Island of Hawaiʻi as a natural learning laboratory. enrollment has doubled since 1980 to more than 3,600 students coming from all 50 states and more than 40

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