Passport to Opportunity

The College has received a grant that will help fund passports for Pell Grant-eligible students to improve access to international education opportunities.


A special grant from the Institute of International Education will help the College open pathways to study abroad by providing funding for up to 25 Pell Grant-eligible students to receive their first adult U.S. passport.

Kenyon was among 51 institutions this year to receive the IIE American Passport Project grant, an effort to create access to international education opportunities and enable equity by removing a financial barrier.

“I am thrilled that our application was awarded this honor, and even more pleased that we will be able to support underrepresented students on their path to a global education,” said Marne Ausec, director of the Center for Global Engagement and an affiliated scholar in the Department of Anthropology.

The College will begin by identifying eligible incoming students in the Kenyon Educational Enrichment Program (KEEP) and STEM Scholar Program. The grant will cover passport fees, while CGE will fund the cost of passport photos and provide support in filling out applications.

The funding will help students overcome real roadblocks to studying abroad, something that has become an important part of the Kenyon experience, Ausec said. Between 40 and 50 percent of the junior class students study abroad during the academic year.

“The passport is a key. Once you have it, doors open,” Ausec said. “The ability to understand a different way of working, learning, speaking, thinking is super important in today's globalized world.”

The IIE American Passport Project, now in its fourth year, aims to reach diverse student populations, including first-generation college students, racial/ethnic minorities, students with demonstrated financial need, and students who have never traveled abroad.

So far, the program has supported 176 higher education institutions in 41 states since its inception in 2021. It aims to grant 10,000 U.S. students their passports by the end of this decade.

Lynn Hampton, director of diversity, equity and inclusion, said she was delighted to collaborate with the Center for Global Engagement on this initiative.  

“Thanks to this funding, we will be able to provide support for the academic enrichment of our underrepresented students in a very meaningful way,” she said. “Additionally, this grant helps ensure access and success for some of our historically marginalized populations by providing equitable participation in global education.”