Scholarships: Putting Study Abroad Within Your Reach
IFSA-Butler First Generation College Student Program
  • Scholarship value: Maximum $2,500 (see expenses and reimbursement breakdown below)
  • No financial need requirements
  • Applicants submit a 500 word essay, a CV/resume and the completed Financial Footprint.
  • Application deadlines:
    October 1 for spring/semester 1/calendar year
    March 1 for summer/fall/semester 2/academic year
  • Send questions and application materials to: Becki Niccum


First generation college students have some of the lowest study abroad participation rates among U.S. college students, and IFSA-Butler wants to change that. Our new, achievement-based scholarship program offers first generation college students significant financial, academic and preprofessional support for study abroad on a semester or year IFSA-Butler program.

Applicants to the First Generation Scholar Program must complete and return the Financial Footprint form. Click here to download the form.

What's Covered?

Reimbursements and Expenses Covered

Reimbursements and expenses covered include (semester and year students):

  • IFSA-Butler group flight or suggested flight (approximately $1,500 value)
  • Optional $500 distributed via PayPal to help with start-up expenses abroad such as books, transportation passes, etc.
  • Student visa fee reimbursement, where applicable ($100-$500 value, depending on country)
  • Passport fee reimbursement (approximately $150 value)
  • Up to $500 housing scholarship (depending on flight and visa costs)
  • Specialized predeparture information
  • First Generation Parent Publication
  • Student Blog
  • Resume Building/Reentry Workshop

Reimbursements and expenses covered include (summer students):

  • IFSA-Butler group flight or suggested flight (approximately $1,500 value)

Why are so many up-front costs covered by this scholarship?
The proposition of study abroad—with its associated procedures, cost, documentation, visas, academic planning and inevitable geographic separation—is often daunting and discouraging. For this reason, the First Generation Scholar Program combines scholarships in the form of discounts, as well as up-front capital for passport, visa fees and airline tickets.

Why a resume building workshop?
First generation college students tend to have more vocation-driven goals and see university as a means to a profession, rather than the "transformative experience" that so permeates the traditionally academic elite. Recipients of the First Generation Scholar Program, as well as all other IFSA-Butler "first gens," can participate in a post-study abroad resume building session to better encapsulate and articulate skills they've built abroad. Butler University Career Services will help design and lead this online resume building session.

What's not covered

What costs are not covered by this scholarship?
Tuition, tuition supplemental fees, meals, deposits and housing supplemental fees are not covered by this scholarship. Please note that this scholarship is awarded to students studying on IFSA-Butler programs only.

Selection Criteria

IFSA-Butler considers the following factors in choosing First Generation Scholars:

  • No financial need requirements, but a Financial Footprint is required for committee review
  • Applicants submit a 500 word essay, a CV/resume and the completed Financial Footprint. See Essays tab for essay topics.

We know that not everyone is a great writer, but we want to give everyone an opportunity to tell us their story and more about themselves. We recommend the following resume and essay writing help sites: Essay Writing Guidelines

Scholarship Essay Writing Tips

In addition, at least one FGCS scholarships per semester will be dedicated to an applicant participating in a Federal TRiO program on their home campus. This includes undergraduates in programs such as TRiO Student Support Services and Upward Bound.


The First Generation Scholar Program is a competitive scholarship, and the quality of an applicant's essay is the most influential criteria in the selection of recipients. We encourage applicants to read previous recipients' essays as examples of strong, compelling stories about the first generation college experience. Click on the Recipients and Essays tab on this page, and check out the following essay writing tips online: Essay Writing Guidelines

Scholarship Essay Writing Tips

Please submit your essay and CV/resume in Word or PDF to Becki Niccum by the application deadline. Be sure to include the following:

  • Name
  • Home university
  • IFSA-Butler study abroad program/country of interest

Each applicant should choose one essay topic from the options below:

  1. As a first-generation college student, you have undoubtedly gained special skills to help you succeed in uncharted territory of the U.S. academic system. You'll now need to draw upon many of these proficiencies to help you adjust in a brand new culture and education system. Tell us what skills you'll have at your disposal to help you adjust, learn and succeed while you're abroad. What is it that drives and challenges you to continue expanding your comfort zone? How might study abroad, and this program in particular, assist you in achieving your goals?

  2. Recreate a dialogue in which you discuss your motivation to study abroad with your family and/or other personal stakeholder. Why do you want to study abroad? What will it help you achieve? What are their hesitations or concerns? How did/will you address those? How will your decision to study abroad affect your family and community in the long run?

Tell your first generation college story in your own voice! Your story doesn't have to be dramatic, just engaging and reflective.

For Parents & Families

IFSA-Butler takes special care to provide assistance and additional support to parents and families of first generation college students. We know that the study abroad process—with complicated travel arrangements, visa applications, unfamiliar academics and the mysteries of a different culture, to name a few—can be daunting. We work closely with our students' families to make the application process, predeparture preparations and in-country adjustment as smooth as possible.

We recommend the following resources for parents and families of first generation college students interested in study abroad:


Share your story!
In order to facilitate articulating their experiences and help future students understand the value of study abroad, the First Generation Scholars will be required to chronicle their story before, during and after their time abroad in blog form, digital story or on social media outlets such as Storify, Instagram, Twitter or Periscope, or even serving as moderator for the IFSA-Butler First Generation Facebook group. Scholars can choose more than one medium, but at least a portion of their activities will be guided by a series of questions specifically addressing their experience as a "first gen" abroad. These blogs and stories can also be a powerful resume builder.

Scholarship Recipients

Spring 2016

Congratulations to our Spring 2016 scholarship recipients! All of our recipients submitted an outstanding essay and a resume as part of the application process.

allisonAllison Perrell, Wake Forest University








austinAustin Grubb, Susquehanna University








andrewAndrew Marino, Harvey Mudd College








gillianGillian Gray, Whitman College








jeanJean Bennett, University of Alaska Southeast






Fall 2015

Congratulations to our Fall 2015 scholarship recipients! All of our recipients submitted an outstanding essay and a resume as part of the application process.

callieCallie Cleckner, Wake Forest University
Visit Callie's blog






diemtienDiemTien Le, Davidson College
Visit DiemTien's blog






paigePaige Clark, Colorado College
Visit Paige's blog






troyTroy Sanders, Davidson College
Visit Troy's blog






tessaTessa Unick, St. Martin's University
Visit Tessa's blog






noneMegan Maldonado, University of Texas Austin
Visit Megan's blog





Spring 2015

 Congratulations to our Spring 2015 scholarship recipients! All of our recipients submitted an outstanding essay and a resume as part of the application process.

aaronAaron Rowbotham, University of Alaska Anchorage
Visit Aarons's blog






ashleyAshley Christopherson, Franklin & Marshall College
Visit Ashley's blog






janisaJanisa San Agustin, Saint Martin's University






laurenLauren Lyons, Sewanee: The University of the South
Visit Lauren's blog







niyoNiyo Moraza-Keeswood, Brown University
Visit Niyo's blog






Fall 2014

Congratulations to our Fall 2014 scholarship recipients! All of our recipients submitted an outstanding essay and a resume as part of the application process.

dulceDulce Castañeda, Northwestern University
Visit Dulce's Blog






 erikErik Liu, Davidson College
Visit Erik's blog






melissaMelissa Atkins, University of Redlands
Visit Melissa's Blog






sandraSandra Loyola, The George Washington University
Visit Sandra's Blog






shakettaShaketta Reliford, Gustavus Adolphus College
Visit Shaketta's Blog






Spring 2014

Congratulations to our Spring 2014 scholarship recipients! All of our recipeints submitted an outstanding essay and a resume as part of the application process.

caleb-bradfordCaleb Bradford, Princeton University
Visit Caleb's Blog






danielle_palmieriDanielle Palmieri, Connecticut College
Visit Danielle's Blog






genessi_santosGenessi de los Santos, American University
Visit Genessi's Blog






nicole_houghNicole Hough, Westminster College
Visit Nicole's Blog






allison_wolterAllison Wolter, Butler University
Visit Allison's Blog





Fall 2013

Congratulations to our Fall 2013 scholarship recipients! All of our recipeints submitted an outstanding essay and a resume as part of the application process. Below are PDF versions of their winning essays.

Ashley Adams, Davidson College
Visit Ashley's Blog

Karina Casanova, Brandeis University
Visit Karina's Blog

Keith Mattern,  Bucknell University
Visit Keith's Blog

Odalmy Molina, Brown University
Visit Odalmy's Blog

Sandy Xiong, Gustavus Adolphus College
Visit Sandy's Blog

Spring 2013

Congratulations to our Spring 2013 scholarship recipients! All of our recipients submitted an outstanding essay and a resume as part of the application process.

matthew beckMatthew Beck, Harvard University
Visit Matthew's blog






caitlin caswellCaitlin Caswell, Austin College
Visit Caitlin's blog






laney lenoxLaney Lenox, Millsaps College
Visit Laney's blog






sehrishSehrish Shikarpuriya, Emory University
Visit Sehrish's blog






2013s-karly999-999-profilesKarly Ziegler, McDaniel College

Visit Karly's blog






Congratulations to our fall 2012 scholarship recipient, Emily Buss.

147Visit Emily's blog






Digital Stories

Emily Buss, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Argentine Universities Program
Identity During Study Abroad

Institute for Study Abroad, Alliance For Global Education and MORE CULTURE. LESS SHOCK. are registered marks of the Institute for Study Abroad, Inc.