A record number of UO students receive Gilman scholarships

The University of Oregon broke its record for the second year in a row with 42 students selected for the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, and it maintains the No. 2 spot in the national rankings.

Combined, UO students were awarded a total of $165,000, which will help fund their study and intern abroad programs. This year’s awards eclipsed last year’s record of 30 recipients.

The Gilman scholarship is a highly competitive national scholarship for undergraduate students that are interested in opportunities abroad. Students who currently receive the federal Pell Grant can be awarded up to $5,000 to be used for program tuition, room and board, international airfare, and passport and visa fees, among other necessary costs.

Between 20 to 25 percent of Gilman applicants are accepted nationally each year. The UO saw 89.4 percent of its applicants succeed during the March 2022 application cycle.

Dennis Galvan, dean and vice provost for global engagement, said the accomplishment speaks to the university’s commitment to making study abroad accessible and inclusive for all students.

"It’s a real tribute to our Pell-eligible students’ determination; they know that they can do this,” Galvan said. “And it’s a real tribute to our staff. We have a great team that works hard every day to make sure students know about Gilman and works hands-on with each student to help them succeed.”

Two of the students, Cheyenne Isgro and Leighanna Huston, also were selected for the competitive Critical Need Language Award, which offers up to $3,000 of additional funding. The supplemental scholarship is given to a select number of students each year who will study a language that the United States government deems to be in demand and has a low number of proficient speakers. The students will participate in a university exchange in South Korea and Japan, respectively.

Katebel Jose, a first-generation junior, was hesitant about applying to the scholarship after learning about how competitive it is. But with encouragement from her study abroad adviser and the knowledge it will help her reach her goal of interning in the media and creative industry in Seoul, South Korea, she felt confident to press ahead.

“When I found out I received the scholarship, I was at a loss for words,” said Jose, “But at the same time, I knew that my deep passion for traveling abroad and working would get me to where I’ve always dreamt of going.”

Global Engagement Oregon, the unit housed in the Division of Global Engagement that focuses on study abroad programs, offers advising and hands-on support for all study abroad-related scholarships. UO students can apply for more than 40 scholarships, like the GEO Passport Grant that covers the fees of obtaining a passport.

“For the UO to consistently be ranked among the universities with the highest number of Gilman recipients is truly an honor and an important achievement,” said Luis Ruiz, assistant director for student success and analytics. “It shows a profound commitment to global engagement across all levels at our school, from our excellent and motivated students who pursue study abroad to our dedicated staff who build and prepare high quality programs, to faculty who design and lead innovative programs, to advisers who support and guide our Gilman applicants, and to the campus community who make study abroad and scholarship opportunities visible to all UO students.

—By Kaitlyn Jimenez, University Communications