Columbus State Creates 125 Study Abroad Grants for Students

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Building on a record enrollment in study abroad programs over the last two years, Columbus State University is predicting even more growth with the creation of 125 new grants to help students pay for study abroad courses.

The grants will vary from $1,000 to $1,750 – depending on the length of the study abroad program – and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis to just about any student. 

Requirements for the CSU Study Abroad Grants are simple:

1)    Fill out a short application at http://cie.colstate.edu/scholarship.asp.
2)    Complete one semester of study at Columbus State University.
3)    Be in good standing academically.
4)    Enroll in a study abroad program.

“Our goal is to bring study abroad within reach of every student,” said Neal McCrillis, the Mildred Miller Fort Foundation Eminent Scholar Chair of International Education and director of CSU’s Center for International Education.

“We know that cost is the No. 1 deterrent for students, and we are trying to alleviate that obstacle,” he said. “The study abroad grants will cover a third to a half of the cost of most programs."

Funding for the grants comes from a new $14 per student, per semester fee that will be implemented this fall. The fee has been approved for the last three years by a Faculty Senate committee and the CSU Student Fees Committee. It was approved in April by the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents.

In addition to the 125 study abroad grants, the fee will allow increased funding for on-campus programming by the Office of Diversity Programs and Services and for the 1,000 students who participate each year in the International Learning Communities across campus. Officials also hope that demand for the grants will prompt the development of additional study abroad programs.

Currently, Columbus State students can participate in more than 40 different programs through CSU or the University System of Georgia that range from spring break trips to Germany to yearlong study at the CSU-owned Spencer House in Oxford, England.

Participation in the university’s programs has been growing. By the end of summer, 168 Columbus State students will have experienced programs across Europe, Africa, Asia and Central and South America. That’s an increase of 11 percent over the 151 participants last year.

Private funding was a big factor for past participants in study abroad programs, and that funding will continue and can be awarded in addition to the new grants. Last year, the university awarded about $165,000 in study abroad scholarships, which includes about $50,000 from the Spencer Scholarship fund for CSU in Oxford programs. Other funding sources exclusive to full-time CSU students are the Mildred Miller Fort Foundation, Nakai Fund for Asian Studies and Kidd-Bagley Fund, plus the Katherine and LeGrand Elebash, Campus Internationalization and CSU Honors scholarships.

These grants support the university’s goals of expanding international programs, and create some life-changing opportunities for students, said Gina Sheeks, CSU’s vice president for student affairs and enrollment management.

“Time and time again, we have seen the tremendous impact of a study abroad program on college students who typically are not exposed to different cultures and countries,” she said. “Students regularly return from these trips and say the experience literally changed their life.”

For more information, visit CSU’s Study Abroad website (http://cie.colstate.edu/studyabroadmain.asp) or call 706-565-4036.