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$1M grant to bolster new study abroad program at ASU

Matching grant from the Council on International Educational Exchange will support Early Start Global Accelerator Program

College students posing on rocks in front of waterfall

University students visit Monteverde, Costa Rica, as part of a Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) program. Photo courtesy CIEE

May 29, 2024

The Council on International Educational Exchange has selected Arizona State University as one of four nationally recognized institutions of higher education to receive $1 million in matching grants over four years to establish new study abroad programs that will advance institutional goals while improving student outcomes.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at ASU will enhance its 10-year investment in early-start student success programming to launch the Early Start Global Accelerator Program for high-risk, first-year students. 

“Study abroad is one of the most transformational college experiences that supports student retention and persistence to graduation,” said Nancy Gonzales, ASU executive vice president and university provost. “For these reasons, ASU has made it our priority to expand access to study abroad opportunities, as it has historically been accessible only to students from higher-income families.

"This grant from CIEE, which we are proud to match, will help ASU advance our charter commitment to making impactful university experiences accessible to all.”

The ASU Early Start Accelerator Program was established in 2014 in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to assist students in their transition to college, measured by increasing retention for first-year, at-risk students and increasing six-year graduation rates. 

Each year, ASU analyzes data from Early Start initiatives and adjusts program specifics to increase impact. In 2024, ASU will add an international program element to Early Start, the ASU Early Start Global Accelerator Program.

The ASU Early Start Global Accelerator Program will pilot in summer 2025 with 60 students attending an eight-day program in Monteverde, Costa Rica. ASU will entirely fund the pilot program. Following the pilot year, the Early Start Global Accelerator Program will be expanded to 150 students each year and funding will be shared by ASU and CIEE.

The program will have three goals:

• Improve first-year student retention.

• Engage first-year students with an intense experience on environmental sustainability and culture in the world-renowned cloud forest of Costa Rica.

• Serve as an institutional model of student success for Early Start initiatives in all ASU colleges.

“We are excited to partner with CIEE and The College on this exciting program that aligns with ASU’s charter," said Noah Rost, ASU global education director. "It will be transformational for students. We hope that more students will take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad so they can, not only learn in new countries but also experience different cultures.”

Announced in November 2023 at the 76th annual CIEE Study Abroad Conference in Paris, CIEE’s Pledge to Lead Change in Study Abroad seeks to show how a well-designed international exchange program can improve college enrollments, student retention rates, student graduation rates, and enhance student employability and economic mobility. 

From a pool of 21 proposals from institutions across the United States, Arizona State University, Borough of Manhattan Community College, Northeastern University and UC San Diego were selected for their proposed study abroad programs.

Each of the four winners pledged to match CIEE’s $1 million grant, resulting in a total of $8 million in funding over four years for students to study abroad in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe.

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