February 25, 2009 Special Edition NAFSA.news reports that Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) introduced the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act of 2009 today on the floor of the U.S. Senate. You can read this special edition of NAFSA.news here.
Additionally, NAFSA has set-up a webpage on their public policy website devoted entirely to the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act that includes some historical background on this bill and a video of Senator Simon from November 13, 2003 discussing the importance of U.S. students studying abroad and establishing what, at the time, was known as the Abraham Lincoln Study Abroad Fellowship Program.
Those of you who are interested in the history of the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act might remember that on November 18, 2003 NAFSA released Securing America's Future: Global Education for a Global Age - Report of the Strategic Task Force on Education Abroad to the general public and that the concept behind the Abraham Lincoln Study Abroad Fellowship Program was introduced by the late U.S. Senator Paul Simon (D-IL) in this report. Inspired by President Lincoln’s understanding of international matters and his signing of the Morrill Act, the Land Grant College Act, Senator Simon envisioned a Fellowship of up to $7,000 a year awarded to 500,000 college students to study abroad annually for a least a summer or semester with priority given to those students seeking educational opportunities in developing nations. The cost of this program would be $3.5 billion a year which is only one-seventh of 1 percent of the federal budget. In the words of Senator Simon, “The question is not whether we can do it, but whether these fellowships should be one of our priorities.”
You can access the video of Senator Simon that was previously mentioned here.