Examining Study Abroad Participation in I-Promise Students: Preliminary Study on Why Minority Students Don’t Study Abroad

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Jennifer Aguayo


Overall, study abroad participation rates have steadily increased
across higher education institutions, however, the majority of the
participating population is persistently Caucasian females. This
project seeks to understand how Illinois Promise (I-Promise) students’
decision against studying abroad is influenced by their
race or socioeconomic status. Illinois Promise is a scholarship
awarded to students considered to be the most disadvantaged in
society. Despite I-Promise’s transferability of financial aid, not
many I-Promise students are studying abroad. This qualitative
study will survey I-Promise students and then purposefully sample
minority (African-American, Native-American, Latino, and
Asian-American) students for in-person interviews. Implications
for this study include gaining insight on the social influences that
might exist in a minority student’s decision to study abroad. As
the gap in minority participation in study abroad continues to widen,
it is hoped that this study will increase understanding of why
racial disparities exist in study abroad participation. Higher education
policy may benefit from understanding this and ultimately
contribute to the increase in minority participation in study abroad

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