September 24, 2018 — The University of Utah, in partnership with Brigham Young University, has been awarded $6.8 million from the U.S. Department of Education to support international education and language study over the next four years. The Title VI National Resource Center and Foreign Language and Area Studies grants will provide funding directly to the Center for Latin American Studies, Asia Center and their BYU counterparts and will earmark $4.6 million for student scholarships.
“Title VI grants are the main source of federal funding to support strong academic programs in critical foreign languages and in the multidisciplinary study of international areas,” said Claudio Holzner, director of Latin American Studies at the U and associate professor of political science. “These prestigious grants recognize the U as a national leader in research and teaching of Latin America and Asia and of the languages spoken in those regions. We serve a critical role in ensuring that the U.S. maintains a deep pool of experts in regions of the world that are critical to economic competitiveness and national security.”
The scholarships will provide nearly $650,000 each year for the next four years for undergraduate and graduate students from all disciplines to study less commonly taught languages of Latin America and Asia. The funds typically cover full tuition plus a stipend and help ensure broader access to the university regardless of students’ financial need.
“FLAS has helped me become more adventurous with my education and formulate my career goals,” said Anh Cao, a U student studying international studies and economics. “I've been able to gain so much more with my education here at the U with different classroom experiences, international travel, and mentors because of FLAS.”
Cao, who hopes to work in business consulting or law and use her experience to benefit lesser developed countries, had the opportunity to travel to Vietnam for three months because of her scholarship.
“With the guidance of advisors and mentors through FLAS, I was able to travel confidently by myself. I felt that I grew so much as a person over those months and was excited to be able to share that experience with others,” said Cao.
The Asia Center and the Center Latin American Studies, both housed in the College of Humanities and supported by the College of Social and Behavioral Science, partner with BYU and with many departments across campus to facilitate the development of curriculum, public events, conferences, study abroad and internship programs. Both centers also support outreach to K-12 schools, community colleges and nonprofit and business groups, ensuring the benefits of Title VI funds are felt beyond the campus.
“Our mission is to serve as a resource for the university, community and the state of Utah. We work to enhance academic programs across campus and to train highly skilled graduates who are prepared to enter the workforce,” said Holzner.