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SUNY New Paltz is one of the best colleges making international education accessible to all students, says U.S. Dept. of State

SUNY New Paltz has been named a 20-Year Gilman Top Producer by the U.S. Department of State, an honor reserved for colleges and universities that have an exceptional track record of helping students obtain funding to support international learning experiences.

The U.S. Department of State published this exclusive list of 80 institutions across four categories for the 20th anniversary of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, which helps fund study abroad and other educational experiences to outstanding students of limited financial means.

At New Paltz, the Gilman Scholarship is more than a resource for students – it’s a major part of the history and legacy of our Center for International Programs.

The College was instrumental in developing the federal legislation that created the Gilman Scholarship in 2001. Former President Roger Bowen and Bruce Sillner, the now-retired founding dean of the Center for International Programs at New Paltz, worked closely with Congressman Benjamin Gilman to support the creation of this federal funding resource to help Americans study abroad.

“The recognition of SUNY New Paltz as a 20-Year Gilman Top Producer validates our decades long efforts to make education abroad accessible to all of our students,” Sillner said. “It is particularly meaningful as it was former New Paltz President Roger Bowen who persuaded Congressman Ben Gilman to introduce the legislation that would fund the scholarships.”

More than 100 New Paltz students have received the Gilman Scholarship to support study abroad since it was created 20 years ago, significantly higher than any other SUNY school (Stone Brook is next with 59).

Many of those students are also enrolled in the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), thanks to a collaboration between EOP and the Center for International Programs (CIP) to create study abroad opportunities for students who traditionally have limited access these kinds of experiences.

“Part of what was stopping my dream of going abroad for the first time was my financial situation,” said Marilyn Garcia ’18 (History). “Receiving the Gilman Scholarship helped my dream come true. I am truly grateful for my advisors and the study abroad office at SUNY New Paltz for encouraging me to have faith in myself as I was applying for the scholarship.”

The collaboration between CIP and EOP was rewarded with a 2015 Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education, an extraordinarily prestigious award in international higher ed.

Students interested in learning more about the Gilman Scholarship and about study abroad can visit the Center for International Programs online. SUNY has cancelled all study abroad for fall 2021 due to pandemic concerns. At time of publication, the College is awaiting guidance about possible study abroad opportunities in spring 2022.


About the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

Throughout its 20-year history, the Department of State’s Gilman Program has reshaped study abroad to make it more accessible and inclusive for American students by providing scholarships to outstanding U.S. undergraduate students who, due to financial constraints, might not otherwise participate.

Since the program’s inception in 2001, more than 34,000 Gilman Scholars from all U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. territories have studied or interned in more than 155 countries around the globe.

To learn more about the Gilman and Gilman-McCain Scholarships and how their diverse alumni are pursuing impactful careers in the government, non-profit, and private sectors, visit www.gilmanscholarship.org.