Decode Abroad Scholarship

Paris may be a moveable feast, but it isn’t a free lunch, especially if you’re a college student studying abroad. The Harvey Mudd College Office of Study Abroad (OSA) offers students semester-long programs in more than 20 countries, giving them the chance to experience another culture and continue their education. But while the programs include travel expenses, some meals, lodging and extra excursions, they don’t include spending money, a necessity some students can’t afford on their own.

Thanks to a partnership between Office of Study Abroad (OSA) and the Office of Institutional Diversity (OID), students can apply for the Decode Abroad Scholarship, a stipend for first-generation and/or low-income students studying abroad. The scholarship, ranging from $300 to $500, may be used however the student chooses, with the idea that having some extra spending money will enhance the study abroad experience.

“The idea of a scholarship for low-income students started with a conversation Gilma Lopez and I had years ago,” says Rhonda Chiles, OSA director. “Gilma is on the Study Abroad Committee and, as director of financial aid, she noticed low-income students rarely applied for study abroad. Last semester, I suggested working with OID.”

Last year, OID launched the Project Decode program, which provides first-generation and/or low-income students with resources, services and workshops to help them build community and navigate Harvey Mudd. When Chiles approached Zack Ritter, acting associate dean for institutional diversity, with the scholarship idea, he suggested using it to support Project Decode students. “She explained that concerns about the affordability of studying abroad were keeping some students from applying in the first place,” says Ritter. “So, we decided that creating a scholarship would be a great way to encourage prospective students.”

Ritter and Chiles look forward to awarding four to six Decode Abroad scholarships this fall. Applications are due Feb. 15.

“We will be looking for financial need in the applications,” says Ritter. “We encourage students who are part of the Project Decode mentoring program to participate, but all Mudders are welcome to apply.”