CIEE Awards Borough of Manhattan Community College $1 Million Grant To Lead Change in Study Abroad

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Matching grant will support BMCC Global Scholars Program

CIEE has selected Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) as one of four nationally recognized institutions of higher education to receive $1 million in matching grants over four years to establish new study abroad programs that will advance institutional goals while improving student outcomes.

BMCC seeks to become the nation’s leading community college for shaping globally minded and prepared graduates who are ready to serve their communities locally, nationally, and internationally by establishing the BMCC Global Scholars Program that will serve 1,000 students over four years via international internships, international service programs, and faculty-led honors programs for exceptional BMCC students. This bold goal would represent a four-fold increase in the number of students who currently participate annually in study abroad programs and position BMCC as the nation’s leader in preparing associate degree recipients as global leaders.

“Studying abroad or studying away is not merely about academic pursuits within the confines of a classroom; it is a transformative journey that opens doors to a world of diverse customs, traditions, and perspectives,” said Dr. Anthony E. Munroe, President, Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC). “By immersing themselves in different cultures, our students will not only broaden their horizons but also enhance their ability to adapt, communicate effectively, and embrace global citizenship. Furthermore, the challenges and uncertainties that come with navigating unfamiliar territories will instill in our students a sense of independence and self-reliance that will serve them well in all their future endeavors.”

BMCC’s Global Scholars Program will have three distinct program planks to ensure all students from all majors and backgrounds can be candidates. The Global Scholars Program will include an 8-week summer global internship, a 4-week summer international service program, and a series of annual 2-week summer faculty-led programs for high achieving students to learn and serve in a variety of international locations. Student cohorts will be ethnically diverse, Pell-eligible, and first-generation.

Through the BMCC Global Scholars Program, BMCC seeks to become the nation’s leading two-year degree college for global programs, demonstrate that students from high-risk backgrounds and non-traditional student profiles (e.g. working parents, single mothers, full-time working students) can participate in global programs and develop the life-changing skills and experiences provided by such programs to advance their careers and economic mobility.

Historically, BMCC supported about 60 students each year on international programs, or roughly 240 over four years. Through the CIEE Leading Change in Study Abroad matching grant, BMCC will strive to serve 1,000 students over the next four years.

BMCC students participating in global internships have expressed enthusiasm for the opportunity to gain hands-on experience, while exploring a new culture and earning college credit towards their major.

“I am ecstatic about living abroad and exploring the vibrant city of Paris while making new connections,” said BMCC communication studies major Benita Batama who is interning this summer at Chateau Des Joncherets in Paris. “I look forward to advancing in my career, expanding my intercultural awareness, and honing my leadership skills.”

“This journey is about blending my passion for business and fashion with the allure of French culture,” said BMCC business management major Michele Thomas who is interning at Commitment Fashion in Paris. She plans to embrace every moment, “from the hustle of intern life to the magic of living abroad!”

Announced in November 2023 at the 76th Annual CIEE Study Abroad conference in Paris, CIEE’s Pledge to Lead Change in Study Abroad seeks to show how a well-designed international exchange program can improve college enrollments, student retention rates, student graduation rates, and perhaps most importantly, enhance student employability and economic mobility. 

From a pool of 21 outstanding proposals from institutions across the United States, Arizona State University, Borough of Manhattan Community College, Northeastern University, and UC San Diego were selected for their proposed bold study abroad programs that advance institutional goals and improve student outcomes.

Each of the four winners pledged to match CIEE’s $1 million grant resulting in a total of $8 million in funding over four years for students to study abroad in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe.

The four colleges chosen will launch national models of international education programs by showing how study abroad programs can:

  • Advance Both Institutional and Student Success Goals – including advancing their enrollment strategy, improving student retention, increasing graduation rates, and providing students with skills and competencies that enhance their career aspirations;
  • Expand Access to Students From all Backgrounds and Academic Majors – including Pell-eligible, first-generation, men, scientists, engineers, and other non-traditional student groups; and
  • Improve Our World Through Impactful Student Engagement Abroad - including programs that enhance student success while helping to serve the broader needs of our global community like climate change, public health, and refugees.

“BMCC Global Scholars Program accomplishes all three goals of the Leading Change in Study Abroad Challenge. BMCC seeks to be the leading international educator among over 900 two-year public community colleges in America and we look forward to working with BMCC leadership over the next four years to help them implement their bold vision,” said James P. Pellow, Ed.D., President and CEO of CIEE

“We are excited to lead this bold initiative and redefine the very essence of what some have come to expect from a community college,” said President Munroe. “For many of our students, studying abroad or studying away is a distant dream. However, recognizing the immense value that such an experience can contribute to personal and professional growth, we are committed to providing our students with this invaluable opportunity.”


About Borough of Manhattan Community College

Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) is part of The City University of New York (CUNY) and enrolls 26,000 degree-seeking and 11,000 continuing education students a year, awarding associate degrees in more than 50 fields. It is the largest CUNY community college. BMCC ranks #5 among community colleges nationwide in granting associate degrees to minority students, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education. Visit:

About CIEE 
CIEE builds bridges between different people, different countries, and different cultures. For 75 years, we have helped young people participate in high-quality international exchange and study abroad programs that bring the world together. We change lives, our alumni change the world. Learn more at


Media contact: Leslie Taylor,, (207) 553-4274