UAB awarded IDEAS grant to expand study abroad

UAB, one of 24 colleges and universities selected from across the United States, has been awarded the grant from the U.S. Department of State.
Written by Karen Templeton
Media Contact: Shannon Thomason

Green globe in the handThe University of Alabama at Birmingham has been selected to receive an IDEAS grant from the United States Department of State’s Capacity Building Program for U.S. Study Abroad.

The Increase and Diversify Education Abroad for U.S. Students grant funding is provided by the U.S. government and supported in its implementation by World Learning. UAB is one of 24 colleges and universities from across the United States, selected from 115 applicants, to receive the grant. Grant recipients are charged to create, expand and diversify American student mobility overseas in support of U.S. foreign policy goals. 

“We are committed to continuing our support for U.S. colleges and universities as they build their study abroad capacity now, in anticipation of a strong return to U.S. student mobility in the future,” said Marie Royce, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. “When American students study abroad, they support critical U.S. foreign policy goals by building relationships with foreign peers, sharing American culture and values, and developing valuable career skills. With these international experiences, the next generation of Americans is being equipped with the skills necessary to compete and succeed globally.”

UAB will use the majority of the grant to support faculty-led programs that are developed out of the Education Abroad Faculty Fellows program, with the goal to reduce program fees for students seeking these short-term opportunities, thus increasing affordability. Another portion of the grant will support the inaugural UAB at Aberystwyth University in Wales program to enhance cultural competency and program awareness across campus. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students are working with UAB’s Office of Education Abroad to arrange their travel for 2021. 

“This grant is a great opportunity to capitalize on the Education Abroad growth we’ve seen at UAB within the past year,” said Ashley Neyer, director of UAB’s Education Abroad. “Although COVID-19 has significantly impacted our internalization efforts, our team is committed to making education abroad accessible for all UAB students, and this grant leverages our commitment. Our team is appreciative that the Department of State values the opportunities we have developed for our faculty and students, and we know this grant will make a lasting impact at UAB.”

UAB facilitates more than 160 “abroad” programs around the world. The Education Abroad team supports students engaging in programs ranging from short-term and semester-long study to research and service learning, as well as athletic and student organization travel. Students are supported in identifying programs that align with their degree program or area of interest, identifying financial resources and coordinating plans for travel and accommodations.

“The hard work the Education Abroad team put into applying for the IDEAS grant is indicative of their commitment to providing unparalleled opportunities for UAB students,” said UAB Provost Pam Benoit. “Many travel plans have been sidelined due to COVID-19, but that hasn’t slowed down the work being done to ensure future life-changing experiences for students seeking to go abroad. There is a true commitment to preparing our graduates to be leaders in an ever-evolving global society.” 

For more information on UAB’s Education Abroad initiatives, visit

The Capacity Building Program for U.S. Study Abroad seeks to increase the capacity of accredited U.S. colleges and universities to create, expand and diversify study abroad programs for U.S. students. In addition to the IDEAS grant competition, the program also offers opportunities for faculty, staff and administrators at U.S. colleges and universities to participate in a series of free virtual and in-person study abroad capacity building activities. For further information about other study abroad resources and other exchange programs offered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, contact or visit online.