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GRCC TRIO students looking to study abroad will gain help purchasing passports through an Institute of International Education grant

May 31, 2022 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Up to 25 Grand Rapids Community College students will be able to get United States passports for studying abroad through a grant from the Institute of International Education.

The IIE American Passport Project, in its second year, is intended to increase participation and diversity in study abroad programs, giving all students access to the academic and career benefits of international experience.

GRCC, one of 40 colleges and universities selected for this second cohort, will identify 25 students in the TRIO/Student Support Services program to participate. TRIO is a federally funded program that provides academic advising, tutoring, financial guidance, counseling and other supports to assist students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

A United States adult passport costs $165, a price that can put studying abroad out of reach for many students.

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

“A passport, learning a new language, and study abroad go hand in hand in providing our students with essential experiences they, in turn, will be able to apply to their studies and professional lives.”

AAA Kentwood-Grand Rapids has also committed to providing 25 sets of passport photos for free to the 25 GRCC students.

GRCC is restarting its Study Away program, which shut down temporarily because of the pandemic. Past trips have allowed students to work in health care in Costa Rica, study literature in Spain, and learn about the cultures of Morocco, Greece and France.

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