The movement for study abroad gained significant momentum yesterday when the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act as part of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act. While the package bill's primary purpose is to authorize funding for the operations of the U.S. Department of State, it also includes innovative programs like the Simon bill that are critical to accomplishing U.S. foreign policy and public diplomacy goals.
The Simon Act aims to dramatically increase the number of American undergraduates who study abroad in quality programs across the globe, focusing particular attention on ensuring access to study abroad across the college demographic and encouraging study abroad in the developing world. Currently, only about one percent of U.S. undergraduates study abroad each year– this bill will change that.
Hundreds of people from across the country have written letters urging their representative to make study abroad a national priority by voting "YES" to H.R. 2410. On Tuesday, a coalition of nearly 45 higher-education organizations sent a letter to Congress in support of the bill. Our work isn't done, though.
Soon, we'll ask you to take action to support the bill pending in the Senate. If you haven't done so already, you can sign up to be a member of NAFSA's Advocacy-Centered Team to receive updates on this important legislation. You can also Join us on Facebook and be part of the growing online movement to support study abroad.
Read NAFSA's full statement on the passage of the bill.