Hard to believe, but it’s true: Only 1% of students from the US study abroad each year.

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Is it that American students aren’t interested in studying abroad or that they encounter too many obstacles–including financial challenges–that prevent them from doing so?

Whatever the reason, US Congress took a big step toward improving study abroad opportunities for American students yesterday when it introduced the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act as part of the House Foreign Relations Authorization Act.

The purpose of the act is to establish public-private partnerships that will achieve four broad goals:

1. Increase American students’ participation in quality study abroad programs;
2. Encourage diversity in student participation in study abroad;
3. Diversify study abroad sites, especially in developing countries;
4. Make study abroad an integral part of the American higher education experience.

The bill was actually introduced last year and enjoyed bipartisan support in the House and Senate, but the Congressional session expired before the bill could be passed.

Full information about the bill can be found here.

If you’d like to support the bill, you can join the Movement for Study Abroad on Facebook.

Community Connection:

Do you know about Matador’s study and live abroad blog, Matador Abroad? Whether you live in the US or elsewhere, you can find a rich archive of articles on study abroad subjects there!