Press Release

IIE Relaunches Freeman Awards for Study in Asia; Online Application Opens February 1

$2 Million Freeman Foundation Grant will Help 400 American Undergraduates Study in Asia

NEW YORK, NY, January 5, 2016—The Institute of International Education (IIE) today announced the relaunch of Freeman Awards for Study in Asia (Freeman-ASIA) to help 400 American undergraduates study in East or Southeast Asia. With generous support from the Freeman Foundation, IIE will grant awards averaging $5000 each, depending on length of study abroad (summer, semester or academic year). Students can apply online starting February 1st for awards to study abroad beginning in summer 2016. The Freeman Foundation’s generous support for the relaunch of Freeman-ASIA builds on prior grants to IIE that funded more than 4,500 American undergraduates in Asia from 2001 to 2014. The newly available awards will advance IIE’s Generation Study Abroad, a five-year initiative aiming to double the number of U.S. students abroad by the end of the decade by mobilizing resources and commitments across the higher education, philanthropy and corporate sectors.

“In virtually every field, America’s next generation of leaders and professionals will need to interact effectively with colleagues in Asia.” said Dr. Allan E. Goodman, IIE’s President and CEO.  “Freeman-ASIA will provide welcome financial assistance to students who otherwise might not be able to study abroad, helping students gain cross-cultural skills while advancing the Freeman Foundation goal of strengthening ties between the United States and countries of East and Southeast Asia.”

“The Freeman Foundation is delighted to renew its support to the Institute of International Education, providing funding for American undergraduates to study in East and Southeast Asia, in preparation for careers that will surely require understanding of this vital world region,” noted Graeme Freeman, President of the Freeman Foundation.

Freeman-ASIA was created to assist U.S. students with demonstrated financial need and limited prior experience in East and Southeast Asia to study in the region for academic credit back home. Freeman-ASIA will fund approximately 400 students over the next two academic years, with awards ranging from $3,000 per student for summer study and $5,000 per semester, to a maximum of $7,000 for a full year abroad. Prospective students should visit the Freeman-ASIA website for eligibility requirements, full application instructions and a list of deadlines.

The Freeman-ASIA relaunch is the latest of several steps IIE has taken to increase the number and diversity of Americans studying abroad and their study destinations. Studying in Asia before graduating can give students a competitive advantage in their professional careers, especially when collaborating with international peers. More than half of Freeman-ASIA alumni report being employed in a position related to Asian affairs or requiring knowledge of an Asian language. As more employers seek new hires with meaningful and substantive experience in Asia, it is critical that more Americans learn about and engage with Asian economies, political systems and cultures.

According to IIE’s annual Open Doors report, barely one in ten American undergraduates study abroad before graduating. Despite increased economic and diplomatic relations between the United States and countries across East and Southeast Asia, only about 10 percent the approximately 304,000 American students who studied abroad in 2013/14 did so in this region. The leading East and Southeast Asian destinations for U.S. students were China (13,763), Japan (5,978), South Korea (3,219), Thailand (1,919), Hong Kong (1,596), Singapore (1,124) and Vietnam (1,000). By contrast, nearly half of the nearly one million international students enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities come from East and Southeast Asia.

In 2001-2014, Freeman-ASIA support enabled over 4,500 American undergraduates from 641 institutions across every state in the U.S. to study in Asia. Upon returning home, Freeman-ASIA alumni have shared their experiences with more than 135,000 additional U.S. students through required outreach activities on campus and in their home communities, encouraging their peers to consider studying in Asia. According to IIE’s annual Open Doors report, the proportion of students who selected East and Southeast Asia as their study abroad destinations during this time period doubled from 5% to 10% of the total U.S. study abroad population.

About Freeman-ASIA

Freeman-ASIA provides scholarships to undergraduate students to help fund study programs in East and Southeast Asia for which they will receive academic credit back on the U.S. home campus. Award amounts range from $3,000 for a summer program to $5,000 for a semester/quarter program to $7,000 for an academic year program. Students must demonstrate financial need in order to be eligible for the program. Priority will be given to students with limited or no previous experience in Asia. As a condition of the award, upon their return to the U.S., students must promote study in Asia by sharing their experiences with peers on their home campuses and in their communities.

The online application for Summer 2016 will be available on February 1, 2016, with a submission deadline of March 1, 2016. Applications must be endorsed by the student’s study abroad advisor (certifying that the program will receive academic credit on the home campus) and by the financial aid adviser (certifying financial need).

About Generation Study Abroad

Generation Study Abroad is a five-year initiative of the Institute of International Education (IIE) to mobilize resources and commitments with the goal of doubling the number of U.S. students studying abroad by the end of the decade. Higher education institutions, study abroad organizations and other partners that have joined the initiative have committed $185 million over the next five years to provide support to students, faculty and programming to expand study abroad opportunities to all over the next five years. More than 630 partners have joined the GSA initiative to date, including 400 U.S. colleges and universities from 48 states as well as higher education institutions and organizations in other countries, education associations, organizations including study abroad, K-12, and social network agencies and 14 country partners. The initiative highlights IIE's commitment to study abroad and to encouraging purposeful, innovative action to get more Americans to undertake a meaningful international experience through academic study abroad programs, as well as internships, service learning, and non-credit educational experiences.

About the Freeman Foundation

The Freeman Foundation's major objectives include strengthening the bonds of friendship between the United States and countries of East Asia. Through education and educational institutes, the Foundation hopes to develop a greater appreciation of Asian cultures, histories, and economies in the United States and a better understanding of the American people and of American institutions and purposes by the peoples of East Asia.

About the Institute of International Education

The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. IIE designs and implements over 200 programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors annually with funding from government and private sources. These programs include the flagship Fulbright Program and Gilman Scholarships administered for the U.S. Department of State. IIE also conducts policy research, provides resources on international exchange opportunities and offers support to scholars in danger. IIE has a network of 19 offices around the world led by talented and dedicated international education experts. IIENetwork is IIE’s membership program with over 1,400 member institutions around the world. Each IIENetwork designee is an important link in a network of over 7,000 individuals with a commitment to the internationalization of their institutions. An independent, not-for-profit founded in 1919, The Institute of International Education (IIE) is among the world's largest and most experienced international education and training organizations.


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