So, the day after this godforsaken election, I will head to one of the reddest states in the Union: TEXAS.
What for? Benjamin A. Gilman. Specifically, his scholarship. The Benjamin A. Gilman International scholarship program “provides awards for U.S. undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university to participate in study abroad programs worldwide.”
So what does that mean? Pell Grants “provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain postbaccalaureate students to promote access to postsecondary education.” These are students who simply cannot afford an education, as determined by their financial aid status with the federal government. The Gilman is the government’s way of saying, let us help you go abroad.
The Gilman is funded through the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000 and is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. So this is real. So real, in fact, that since 2001: 31,462 applications have been received and 9,796 scholarships have been awarded to students participating in study abroad programs around the world.*
I volunteered to be a “reader” or more formally “selection panelist.” I just read 68 applicants from all over the U.S. with students headed to destinations all over the world. I scored them based on a rating system, and will fly to Houston to meet with a co-panelist to deliberate over the group. Literally thousands of students apply in each term, so although my 68 took 2 solid days to read, it’s only a small batch!
So off to Houston, the International Institute for Education offices and the heat.
All in the name of scholarship.