New grant aids International Institute in issuing student passports, expanding study abroad experiences

Students on study abroad trip in Italy

Beginning this fall, MSU's International Institute will expand its study abroad program by offering qualified students their first passport to see the world. PHOTO: Brennan Byrne

Mississippi State continues to open more pathways for study abroad as a recent recipient of an international grant giving students an opportunity for their first passport and overseas travel.

MSU’s International Institute will provide up to 25 students -- whose circumstances previously hindered experience with study abroad -- with advising and support for education in other countries through the American Passport Project. The initiative is part of the Institute of International Education headquartered in New York City.

“We are pleased the Institute of International Education is supporting the application of 25 MSU students for their first passport,” said Dan Reynolds, associate vice president for international programs and executive director of the MSU International Institute. “Securing a passport is one of the first hurdles in fulfilling the necessary steps of participating in a study abroad program which may transform the way students see and understand the world in which they live and work.”

The program prioritizes students early in their higher education experience to allow them ample time to go through the passport application and study abroad planning process, while also removing any financial barriers. It aligns seamlessly with MSU’s strategic plan’s call-to-action to “serve the whole student” through expansion of experiential, or hands-on, learning opportunities.

The not-for-profit IIE works with governments, policymakers, educators and employers to prepare students and professionals for the global workforce and equip them to solve complex challenges facing the world. IIE’s Passport Project has supported 176 higher education institutions in 41 states since its inception in 2021 and aims to grant 10,000 passports to U.S. students by the decade’s end.

For more information on MSU’s International Institute and study abroad, visit

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Harriet Laird | Public Affairs

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