Averett Offers New Study Abroad Scholarship to Increase Access for Underrepresented Students

Posted on July 22nd, 2019 by Danielle Staub

According to Averett University’s Director of Study Abroad Dr. Catherine Clark, financial need is currently the largest barrier to increasing participation in study abroad at the school. She and others at Averett are working to change that.

University surveys show that Averett students are eager to have an experience abroad, and for those past participants who have had the opportunity, they’ve cited financial aid as essential to their ability to do so. While Averett has one existing endowed scholarship for an Averett student to study in a foreign country, the need for access among minority and underrepresented students remains.

Citing low statewide and national percentages of minority college students who study abroad, Clark is looking to exceed that at Averett.

“My goal is to surpass the state and national averages at Averett by sending students abroad in proportion to the population on campus,” said Clark. “This will make us leaders in international education, and serves Averett University’s values of engagement through the belief that international education is a unique opportunity to promote global awareness, service and leadership.”

To help with this, Averett Study Abroad is creating a new Averett scholarship to supplement existing financial aid. The “Diversity in Study Abroad Grant” is geared to support students from diverse economic, educational, ethnic and social backgrounds by ensuring that they are aware of and have equal access to the benefits and opportunities afforded through global education exchanges. Some of the underrepresented populations in study abroad include students with high financial need, first-generation college students, LGBTQ students, students from diverse ethnic backgrounds, and students with disabilities.

This grant is open to all full-time students currently enrolled at Averett with a GPA of 2.0 or higher and who can demonstrate a commitment to diversity, social justice, equity and inclusion. Averett students who receive the award are expected to share their experiences with the Averett community via the study abroad blog, and during campus events like the Annual Study Abroad Fair, the Engage Showcase and Global Snacks and Stories.

“At no other point in one’s life is studying abroad so uniquely possible and fruitful,” said Clark. “Studies regularly show that students who study abroad have better grades, experience less attrition and graduate from college at higher rates. Students return to their home campus with diverse skills and a broader worldview; they often become leaders and creators on campus with an investment in social and cultural issues.”

Aariyana Britton, a rising junior and nursing major, is studying abroad in England this summer. Britton received the Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) Scholarship, and says she is taking this opportunity not only for herself, but also for her community. Check out her study abroad blog by clicking here.

“We don’t have many people traveling and going to college where I’m from, let alone having someone travel to another country,” said the Sussex County native. “This allows me to study what I love in a country that’s also amazing. I chose England because I’ve always wanted to travel there. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a child, and it just so happens this trip was based out of London.”

She is thankful for the opportunity to apply for scholarships.

“It fills my heart with joy knowing that there are institutions and people out there willing to help me reach my goals and become a better nurse,” said Britton. “I definitely believe that studying abroad is a great idea for any student willing to travel. It’s a great opportunity to experience countries outside of your own and to study what you love and your passion in many areas. It is so important to have a broad and wide range of knowledge when it comes to what your future holds. My advice would be just to go for it, regardless of the odds against you.”

For more information about the “Diversity in Study Abroad Grant” program, email sao@averett.edu or click here. For more information on how to make a tax-deductible donation, visit www.averett.edu/giving/ways-to-give/ or email dhayes@averett.edu.