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Salem State University Awarded Nearly $35,000 Grant from the U.S. Department of State to Expand Study Abroad Programming, Increase Diversity Among Students Studying Abroad

August 20, 2021

Salem State University has been selected to receive an IDEAS (Increase and Diversify Education Abroad for U.S. Students) grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Capacity Building Program for U.S. Study Abroad. Salem State is one of 26 colleges and universities from across the United States, selected from 132 applicants, to create, expand, and/or diversify American student mobility overseas in support of U.S. foreign policy goals. This U.S. Government program is funded by the U.S. Department of State and supported in its implementation by World Learning.

“The U.S. Department of State is committed to expanding study abroad opportunities for Americans of all backgrounds studying at colleges and universities across the United States. Americans studying abroad serve as citizen ambassadors by building relationships within their host communities, demonstrating American values, and countering stereotypes. They also gain critical job skills abroad that in turn benefit their home communities. We are committed to continuing our strong support for U.S. colleges and universities as they build their study abroad capacity now, in anticipation of a strong return to U.S. student mobility in the future,” said Heidi Manley, USA Study Abroad Chief, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The IDEAS Program seeks to increase the capacity of accredited U.S. colleges and universities to create, expand, and diversify study abroad programs for U.S. students. In addition to the IDEAS grant competition, the program also offers opportunities for faculty, staff, and administrators at U.S. colleges and universities to participate in a series of free virtual and in-person study abroad capacity building activities.

Salem State plans to use the $34,800 State Department grant to create an annual study abroad experience to a destination in Latin America for 15-20 students in the healthcare studies department; and add international online learning components to five general education courses, a way to present material from a global perspective while potentially building students’ interest in future study abroad opportunities, and to translate study abroad informational and outreach materials into Spanish and Portuguese to make them more accessible to more students and their families.

About 60 percent of students currently in Salem State’s health care studies program identify as students of color. The annual study abroad trip within the health care studies department would be designed to strengthen students’ understanding of global health care while increasing opportunities for students historically underrepresented in study abroad programs.

“Research shows that study abroad programs are a high impact practice, and that Black and Latinx students are underrepresented in these often life-changing opportunities,” said Julie Whitlow, assistant provost for global engagement at Salem State University. “We are grateful to the State Department for seeing the need to increase inclusion among study abroad programs, and for seeing the potential our campus has to help reach that goal through virtual and study-travel opportunities. The grant we received will greatly improve our ability to create lasting study abroad opportunities that reach more students.” 

Nearly 40 percent of undergraduate students at Salem State identify as students of color, 35 percent are first generation to college, and 37 percent are eligible for federal Pell grants based on family income. The university currently offers short-term faculty-led study-travel courses, semester long study abroad programs, and summer study abroad opportunities. Students and families interested in learning more about study abroad opportunities at Salem State should visit or contact the Center for International Education at 978.542.7105 or

For a full list of 2021 IDEAS grant recipients, as well as information on a free IDEAS webinar series on building study abroad resources for U.S. campuses, please visit the Capacity Building Program for U.S. Study Abroad website at Funded projects are supporting such activities as developing new international partnerships and programs, training faculty and staff, internationalizing curriculum, creating resources to engage diverse student groups in study abroad and creating virtual exchanges. Once international travel resumes in full, these IDEAS grant recipients will be better equipped to deliver impactful and inclusive study abroad programs around the globe.

For further information about other study abroad resources and other exchange programs offered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, please contact and visit

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