Study Abroad Bill Passes The U.S. House

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College undergrads who have desired to study abroad but haven’t been able to afford the expense of this enriching experience, may getting federal support to do just that. Thanks to an initiative being pushed by friends of a late Senator from Illinois, Paul Simon, the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Act is one step closer to becoming law.

Opportunities For College Students

college studentsBy a vote of 235-187, H.R. 2410 passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday, a bill that will double the size of the Peace Corps; provide scholarships for students from various regions around the world to study in the U.S.; increase the authorization for the U.S. Department of State’s educational and cultural exchange programs; authorize the hiring of an additional 1,500 foreign service officers over the next two years; improve the State Department’s tools for recruiting and training these officers; and require the president to issue a report to Congress on plans to streamline U.S. export controls to better serve the needs of the U.S. scientific and research communities.

Quoting NAFSA (Association of International Educators) Executive Director and CEO Marlene M. Johnson concerning the passage of the bill, “NAFSA commends Representative Berman and the House of Representatives for their leadership on this legislation that provides a much-needed boost in our capacity to engage with the world. We especially applaud the inclusion of the Simon Study Abroad Act, which will increase fourfold the number of students studying abroad each year in quality programs across the globe and will ensure that our college graduates have the skills they need to meet today’s global demands.”

Off To The U.S. Senate

The bill is now heading to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for a vote. The Senate version of the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act of 2009 (S.473) was introduced by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) earlier this year. President Barack H. Obama has promised to sign the final version of the bill when it placed before him.

So if you’re someone who has always wanted to study abroad and didn’t have the means to do so, the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Act may open up the door for you to do just that.

Source: NAFSA: Association of International Educators

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