The Council for Opportunity in Education Announces New Partnership with the Institute of International Education Center for Access and Equity

Discover how the IIE Center for Access and Equity’s partnership with COE is revolutionizing study abroad opportunities for low-income, first-generation, and disabled students. Explore our collaborative initiatives to broaden access to international education and unlock transformative experiences for diverse student populations.

The Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) announced today a new partnership with the Institute of International Education (IIE) Center for Access and Equity. The Center operates on a community-building model, rallying institutions and individuals to develop practices and programs that equitably broaden access to international education and opportunities for all.

In this collaboration, the Center and COE will bolster existing and new programs, including the Center’s American Passport Project and COE’s study abroad initiatives. The partnership seeks to integrate study abroad and international education into established TRIO programs, exposing more first-generation college students to educational and financial opportunities abroad.

COE President Kimberly A. Jones remarked, “For over 20 years, COE has provided pathways for low-income, first-generation students to participate in study abroad programs. We are excited to enhance these offerings through our partnership with IIE.”

Sylvia Jons, a TRIO alumna and the head of higher education initiatives at IIE, shared, “My experience with the TRIO programs was transformative, providing me with the support and resources needed to succeed in higher education. It’s incredibly meaningful to see IIE CAE and COE partner, as it signifies a collective effort to expand opportunities for students facing similar challenges.”

Research indicates that financial and social barriers often deter students and families from pursuing study abroad opportunities. However, studies show that students who study abroad tend to experience positive academic, professional, and personal outcomes. For instance, according to CASSIE, while only about 20% of first-generation college students complete their degrees, an impressive 94% of first-generation students who studied abroad earned their undergraduate degrees.

Courtney Temple, executive vice president and chief administrative officer at IIE, expressed, “The push for greater access and inclusivity in education is a long-term, collaborative practice. When organizations like the Council for Opportunity in Education join us, it affirms that IIE is going in the right direction.”

Lindsay Gee Calvert, director of the IIE Center for Access and Equity, highlighted the significance of support systems in delivering equity in education. The partnership aims to include global learning and international education in the support ecosystem for historically underserved students.

The Federal TRIO Programs aid students in overcoming economic, social, academic, and cultural barriers to higher education. Nearly one million low-income and disabled students receive college access and retention services through COE member colleges annually.

Since its inception in March 2023, the IIE Center for Equity and Access has embarked on its third formal partnership. The Center has collaborated with Dickinson College and Leaders of the Free World, focusing on fostering mutually beneficial learning opportunities and boosting Black male student participation in study abroad, respectively. The American Passport Project, an initiative to assist 10,000 Pell-eligible U.S. students in obtaining passports by the decade’s end, received the 2023 AAUA Khaladjan International Award for Innovation in Higher Education.

Media Inquiries

For media inquiries or to arrange an interview, please contact Terrance L. Hamm, associate vice-president for communications and marketing at COE via email at [email protected] or call (202) 347-7430.

About the IIE Center for Access and Equity

The IIE Center for Access and Equity aims to advance accessible programming and equitable community-building practices that enrich and expand international education, exchange, and opportunity for all. Through dialogue and action, the Center leverages programs and partnerships that examine the intersection of international education with diversity, equity, inclusion, and access; cultivates global learning to support engagement and understanding of individuals and communities; and supports access for underrepresented communities by examining and addressing structural inequities. Learn more at

About the Institute of International Education

The Institute of International Education (IIE) is the leader in designing and implementing international education strategies and program services. We work with governments, policymakers, educators, and employers across the globe to prepare students and professionals for the global workforce and equip them to solve the increasingly complex challenges facing our interconnected world. With support from donors, we also create initiatives that assist students, scholars, and artists whose lives and work are threatened; expand teaching and learning across cultures; and provide opportunities to underserved populations. A not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has an extensive network of offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,600 higher education partners. Learn more at

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