The Gilman Scholarship Program appears to have announced a pretty significant policy shift in just about the most unremarkable way possible. In double-checking some information about the scholarship for a student who is interested in study abroad this summer, I stumbled across this entry in the FAQ:
Q. What is the minimum length of study required to be eligible to apply for the Gilman Scholarship? Are short-term programs eligible?
A. Eligible programs must be a minimum of four weeks (28 days) – or two weeks (14 days) for current community college students – in one country and can be as long as one academic year. Short-term programs are eligible as long as they fall within the eligible start dates for each cycle and are at least four weeks (28 days) in length.
That bit about the minimum length being 14 days for community college students? That’s new. When this change was made is unclear. There’s nothing about the change in the News & Social Media section of the Gilman website. I think I know why the change was made, though.
The Gilman Scholarship aims to make study abroad possible for students who, without some financial assistance, wouldn’t be able to afford the experience. They target groups that traditionally haven’t studied abroad in the past, including community college students. However, money is often just one of many obstacles that stand in the way of a study abroad opportunity for community college students. Jobs, apartments, children: these all make it difficult to drop everything and live overseas for long periods of time. Even the previous minimum required length, four weeks, is too long for many.
So it would seem that the people behind the Gilman Scholarship have realized this, and taken action to make it possible for community college students who can’t get away for a whole month to get the financial support they need to make their study abroad dreams a reality.