The Institute of International Education (IIE) has announced it is reopening the Freeman Awards for Study in Asia (Freeman-ASIA), thanks to a $2 million grant from the Freeman Foundation. IIE said the scholarship will help advance the mission of its Generation Study Abroad initiative, which works to double the number and increase the diversity of outbound U.S. students.
Freeman-ASIA awards, which were previously awarded between 2001 and 2014, provide scholarships for U.S. undergraduates who study in East and Southeast Asia for credit. Over the next two years, the foundation’s grant will award 400 students scholarships between $3,000 and $7,000, depending on the length of their study abroad program. Priority is given to students with demonstrated financial need and limited prior experience in Asia.
“In virtually every field, America’s next generation of leaders and professionals will need to interact effectively with colleagues in Asia,” Allan E. Goodman, president and CEO of IIE, said in a press release. “Freeman-ASIA will provide welcome financial assistance to students who otherwise might not be able to study abroad, helping students gain cross-cultural skills while advancing the Freeman Foundation’s goal of strengthening ties between the United States and the countries of East and Southeast Asia.”
According to the latest Open Doors Report, which is released annually by IIE, only 10 percent of the roughly 304,000 U.S. undergraduates that studied abroad in 2013-2014 went to East or Southeast Asia (China, Japan, and South Korea topped the list of destinations). Conversely, nearly half of the 1 million international students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities come from that region. One goal of the Generation Study Abroad initiative is to diversify the regions where outbound U.S. students travel, and IIE hopes the re-launch of Freeman-ASIA will encourage more students to consider study in Asia.
Recipients of the Freeman-ASIA scholarship are expected to promote study in East and Southeast Asia to their peers and community upon their return, as a condition of the award. During the 13 years the award was originally offered, 4,500 U.S. undergraduates studied in that region on the scholarship, and more than 135,000 additional students learned about East and Southeast Asia as a result of such required outreach and events.
Freeman-ASIA applications for the summer semester will be available beginning February 1. For more information, visit iie.org/Programs/Freeman-ASIA.