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U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, Representing the 30th District of Texas

Congresswoman Johnson Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Ease Underserved Students’ Efforts to Study Abroad

Jun 26, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC –  Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, alongside Congressman Don Young (R-AK), today introduced H.R. 3503, the Passport Assistance for Disadvantaged Students Act of 2019. This legislation will make it easier for underserved students to access study abroad programs offered by their universities.

“This legislation intends to break down systematic barriers which prevent certain students from studying abroad while in college. The opportunity to travel and learn in a foreign country allows students to advance their studies in a globalized environment,” said Congresswoman Johnson. “I believe all students should have equal access to opportunities like study abroad regardless of race or socioeconomic status. This is why I am proud to introduce this bill.”

The Passport Assistance for Disadvantaged Students Act of 2019 establishes a pilot program between the Department of Education, the Department of State, and three public universities, including one Historically Black College or University (HBCU) and one Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI). Students at these designated universities who receive Pell Grants and are accepted for a study abroad program will have the opportunity to receive a United States passport at no cost. The school would cover the upfront cost, and the Department of State would reimburse the institution after they have reported relevant information to the Department of Education. At the end of this pilot program, the two agencies will submit a report to Congress about the program and consider potential expansion to a broader population of students.

Click here for the text of the bill, and click here for the section-by-section summary.