A passport initiative now serves as the gateway to international study for Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) students.
The program, implemented by President Elmira Mangum, Ph.D. in 2015, provides free passports for interested students in an effort to encourage them to participate in study abroad experiences. As a component of the initiative, the University covers the cost of passport fees at $110 each, a $25 processing fee and provides free photos.
Agnes Coppin, director of international students and scholars in FAMU’s Office of International Education and Development, said the program has made a positive difference for the students and the University at large.
“President Mangum believed this initiative could help prevent passport requirements from hindering students,” Coppin said. “Our office really wanted to increase the University’s study abroad numbers and this is helping in a big way,” she added.
Justin Gilley, a junior political science major, said taking advantage of the program makes sense for students.
“This is a really great program if you know you’re going to study abroad, because it’s just one less expense that you have to pay for,” Gilley said.
Megan McMillon a third year information technology student gave a similar response regarding the initiative.
“I think the program is pretty good because it encourages you to consider studying abroad. Who wants to pay for a passport when you can get one for free and gain more education internationally,” McMillon said.
Coppin said the ability to list a study abroad experience on resumes gives FAMU students an edge in terms of job placement.
“The world is very competitive and this makes them stand out, shows that they are diverse and that they can adapt to just about any environment,” Coppin said. By having hands on experience internationally, we feel that the students can make a difference for themselves and in their communities,” she added.
(Amaya Mann contributed to this story)