US Department of State Awards Scholarships to Nearly 500 Undergraduate & Graduate Students

United States North America Higher Education News by Erudera News Mar 14, 2023

students participating in classroom

As part of efforts to increase the number of American students studying foreign languages, the US Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) has awarded scholarships to nearly 500 undergraduate and graduate students.

In a news release issued on Thursday, March 9, the Department of State said that students selected for the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program for summer 2023 come from all 50 states of the US, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

The same notes that scholarship recipients selected for this year self-identify as racial or ethnic minorities, and a quarter of them are first-generation college students, meaning they are the first person in their immediate family to attend post-secondary education.

"Recipients are U.S. students enrolled in accredited U.S. degree-granting programs at the undergraduate (associate's, bachelor's) and graduate (master's, doctoral, professional degree) level at the time of application," the press release reads.

Students whose studies in a foreign language will be funded by the department represent 245 nations' higher education institutions, of which 47 are minority-serving institutions and 13 are community colleges.

Of all scholarship recipients, 80 students have been awarded the CLS Spark award, an initiative that virtually assists undergraduate students at the beginning level of Arabic, Chinese, and Russian. Moreover, the initiative focuses on students whose home universities do not offer lessons in these languages.

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program was launched in 2006, and since then, it has assisted more than 8,500 in learning critical languages around the world. The program is an initiative introduced by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and supported by the American Councils for International Education.

At the end of January this year, the department opened the call for applications for Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program for undergraduate students who want to study abroad. These scholarships cover visa fees, international airfare, insurance, tuition, accommodation, local transportation, and books.

According to the IIE's annual "Open Doors," more than half of US students went to study in European countries in the 2020/21 academic year, and the top four host countries were Italy, which that year welcomed 2,193 American students, Spain hosting 2,089 students, the United Kingdom 1,612, and France 1,025 students.

"As study abroad reemerges for American students, the Biden Administration is expanding the tools available to students to provide greater affordability and accessibility for all students to ensure it reflects the rich diversity of the United States," Lee Satterfield, assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs, said on November 14, 2022, after the report was released.

In 2020/21, American students also studied in the following countries:

  • 977 students in South Korea
  • 622 students in Denmark
  • 565 students in Costa Rica
  • 539 students in Israel
  • 418 students in Greece
  • 412 students in Germany
  • 382 students in China

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