Durbin Commends Inclusion of Study Abroad in House Foreign Relations Act

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today made the following statement the announcement that the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Act was included in wide-ranging legislation in the House of Representatives to improve and support U.S. foreign policy efforts. The House Foreign Relations Authorization Act – introduced by Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee – would establish the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation as a new executive branch corporation to expand dramatically the number and economic diversity of U.S. students studying overseas.


“The Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Act has strong bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate,” said Durbin. “I commend Chairman Berman for choosing to make this international study abroad program a priority. With an international education, the next generation of Americans stands to gain a deeper understanding of the cultures and histories of other nations. This, in turn, will enhance the United States’ capacity to lead in the 21st Century. I will work to see that this important legislation is considered in the Senate.”


Durbin originally introduced the measure in the Senate based on the recommendations of the Commission on the Abraham Lincoln Study Abroad Fellowship Program – of which Durbin was a member. The Commission was established in 2004 to explore the opportunities for expanding the opportunity for American college students to study abroad, with special emphasis on studying in developing nations. In addition, the 9/11 Commission Report recommended that the United States should increase support for scholarship and exchange programs.


Durbin’s Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act aims to make study abroad in high-quality programs in diverse locations around the world the routine, rather than the exception, for American college students. Additionally, the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act sets three main goals:


• To help at least 1 million undergraduates study abroad annually within 10 years

• To expand study abroad opportunities for students who are currently underrepresented

• To increase the number of students that study abroad in non-traditional destinations


The legislation creates an independent government entity, the Senator Paul Simon Foundation, to administer the program. Eighty million dollars is authorized for grants to individual students, colleges and universities and nongovernmental institutions that provide study abroad opportunities. The Senator Paul Simon Foundation will be allowed to leverage additional funds through support from the private sector.