IIE American Passport Project Receives International Recognition

Offered by the IIE Center for Access & Equity, the grant program has enabled 3,000+ underrepresented college students to receive U.S. passports.

NEW YORK, July 27, 2023 – The IIE American Passport Project received the 2023 AAUA Khaladjan International Award for Innovation in Higher Education. The project was selected among several international and U.S.-based initiatives in recognition of its inventive approach to widening access to education.

Launched in 2021, the American Passport Project provides grants to U.S. higher education institutions seeking to achieve their strategic diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA) goals in study abroad participation. To date, 127 U.S. colleges and universities have received funding from IIE, reaching an estimated 3,175 U.S. college students who will obtain U.S. passports to study abroad. IIE aims to assist a total of 10,000 Pell-eligible U.S. students through this program by the end of the decade.

“A passport opens doors to travel—and study abroad. Unfortunately, costs persist as a major barrier to entry among many college students,” said Lindsay Gee Calvert, Director of the IIE Center for Access and Equity, which administers the project. “We believe increasing access to educational opportunity is more important today than ever to foster community and inclusivity, and help the next generation prosper.”

Institutions are utilizing the grants to target underserved and underrepresented student populations, including students with demonstrated financial need; first-generation college students; racial and ethnic minority students; and students who have never traveled abroad. The Center also prioritizes institutional and regional diversity in its selections. To date, recipients have included:

  • 37% minority-serving institutions
  • 9% community colleges, 
  • and 39 U.S. states represented, including 33% Southern, 31% Midwestern, 15% Western, and 22% Northeastern colleges and universities.

“I am very thankful for this opportunity because now I can visit the countries I’ve always wanted to go and work on networks across the world instead of just at home,” said Jasmin, a Virginia Tech student who received an IIE American Passport Project grant. Jasmin studied abroad in France.

A committee of American Association of University Administrators (AAUA) members selected the IIE American Passport Project as this year’s recipient. AAUA is a non-profit professional association for higher education management personnel. 

Additional initiatives that are part of the IIE Center for Access and Equity include the IIE-Dickinson College Partnership, which helps higher education professionals reimagine an international education framework that incorporates global, intercultural, and equity inclusion lenses. Nearly 300 leaders, ranging from directors to program managers, representing more than 100 institutions and organizations in the U.S., Canada, Denmark, France, India, Nepal, and New Zealand have participated in the workshops to date.

Learn more about the IIE American Passport Project.

About the IIE Center for Access and Equity

The IIE Center for Access and Equity aims to advance accessible programming and equitable practices in community building that enrich and expand international education, exchange, and opportunity for all. Through dialogue and action, the Center leverages programs and partnerships that examine the intersection of international education with diversity, equity, inclusion, and access; cultivates global learning to support engagement and understanding of individuals and communities; and supports access for underrepresented communities by examining and addressing structural inequities. Learn more at www.iie.org/CAE.

About the Institute of International Education

The Institute of International Education (IIE) is the leader in designing and implementing international education strategies and program services. We work with governments, policymakers, educators, and employers across the globe to prepare students and professionals for the global workforce and equip them to solve the increasingly complex challenges facing our interconnected world. With support from donors, we also create initiatives that assist students, scholars, and artists whose lives and work are threatened; expand teaching and learning across cultures; and provide opportunities to underserved populations. A not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has an extensive network of offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,600 higher education partners. Learn more at www.iie.org

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