The International Education Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, mentors and offers transformative global learning opportunities to motivated low-income students, those who traditionally have been, and continue to be, under-represented in overseas exchange. To train a diverse, internationally aware and engaged cadre of world citizens for the critical challenges of the global 21st century, IEF creates learning options abroad for young people who are or will become first-generation college students. These youth represent the future of an increasingly diverse U.S. population whose incorporation in the American dream is fundamental to actualizing the promise of equality inscribed in the nation’s very founding.
As the United States becomes a society without a demographic majority, even as educational access has diversified, low-income youth remain underrepresented in college and high school study abroad. Beyond foreign language competency gains, research shows that study abroad fosters self-confidence, maturity and academic motivation, informing career choice and shaping a world view characterized by a high degree of cultural understanding and civic engagement. More equitable access to overseas learning can reinforce and enrich school persistence, academic success and college admissions initiatives geared to low-income students. Indeed, a broad focus on the educational needs of students from historically marginalized communities is essential if we are to break the cycle that reproduces systemic inequality across generations. Multiplying the impact on society and the student population at large, benefits will accrue in the form of improved public education in general. By tapping the potential of talented high-need students, integrating this growing population into national life, IEF promotes the intercultural competency that all youth require to succeed in a dynamic global milieu—actualizing the founding ideals of a fair, just and democratic society; addressing the need for a diverse, internationally competent citizenry; and reinforcing U.S. global competitive advantages.
 Current Trends in U.S. Study Abroad and the Impact of Strategic Diversity Initiatives. New York: Institute for International Education, 2007.
 Welner, Kevin, and Amy Farley. Confronting Systemic Inequity in Education: High Impact Strategies for Philanthropy. Washington, DC: National Committee for Responsible Philanthropy, 2010.