Grand Rapids Community College students will receive a travel grant

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Up to 25 students from underserved communities will be able to obtain passports to study abroad.

Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) has partnered with the Institute of International Education (IIE) American Passport Project to provide passports for up to 25 students to study abroad.

The program, now in its second year, aims to increase the participation and diversity of study abroad programs by allowing all students to participate in international study experiences.

The GRCC is one of 40 colleges and universities selected to participate in this year’s scholarships. The college will select 25 students from its TRIO Student Support Services program to participate in the program.

TRIO Student Support Services provides academic assistance, financial counseling, tutoring, and other services to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, including students with disabilities and first-generation students who are underrepresented in education superior.

“A passport is an essential mobility tool for our students,” said Anna Maria Clark, educational advisor for the GRCC’s TRIO program. “So many current events in the world today continue to show us that we live in a global society, and the lack of experience in our global world will only perpetuate our world’s failure to work together to solve the problems.

“A passport, learning a new language and (studying) abroad go hand in hand to provide our students with essential experiences that they can in turn apply to their studies and professional lives.”

In the United States, a passport for an adult costs $165, a sum that is not readily available to students from all walks of life.

The IIE grant will give the GRCC $4,125 to purchase passports for TRIO students.

In addition to the grant, AAA Kentwood-Grand Rapids has also committed to providing 25 sets of passport photos free of charge to the 25 GRCC students.

As COVID-19 restrictions ease, GRCC plans to restart its Study Away program. Former students of the program have been able to travel to countries such as Spain, Costa Rica, Greece and France to deepen their knowledge of topics such as health care, literature and culture.

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