PROVIDENCE — Providence College (PC) and Santander Universities, a program of Santander Bank, N.A., announced on March 8, that they have signed a seven-year agreement extension to provide study abroad diversity and global service-learning grants to students who otherwise might not be able to study and serve abroad. A second focus of the agreement involves entrepreneurship and innovation scholarships to help support growing PC student interest in these areas.
The almost $1 million commitment builds on two previous agreements between Santander and PC beginning 10 years ago and will provide funding in four distinct areas:
· Diversity Scholarship Grants, which range from $2,500 to $5,000 per student, will assist underrepresented students with the direct costs of studying abroad or related expenses such as airfare, and visa arrangements;
· World Learning and Service Engagement Grants, which can be up to $3,000 for individual students, will support international experience and service-learning opportunities;
· Virtual Global Learning Scholarships of $900-$2,500 per student will allow underrepresented students to engage in rich, virtual exchange experiences when travel is restricted due to barriers such as COVID-19 and;
· Entrepreneurship and Innovation Scholarships of $2,000-$5,000 will support a growing culture of entrepreneurship and innovation at Providence College. Fundable programming includes, but is not limited to, internships at start-ups and incubators, faculty-student project research, professional development opportunities at business accelerators, project costs associated with advancing new ventures, and student participation in competitions such as the BIG EAST Start-Up Challenge.
“Many underrepresented and first-generation students do not participate in study abroad programs due to the cost involved or because they lack family understanding and encouragement in doing so. At Providence College, we place great emphasis on the educational value and cultural enrichment that studying abroad provides for our students as part of their undergraduate academic experience. Our partnership with Santander Universities over this last decade has helped us reward hundreds of PC students who wish to study abroad but who might have otherwise faced financial barriers to do so. We are most grateful for Santander’s ongoing support and expansion of this program,” said Providence College President Rev. Kenneth R. Sicard, O.P.
“The growing popularity in local service initiatives, alternate spring breaks and student-led immersion programs clearly demonstrate student interest in engaged learning and service on a greater, international level. Due to expense and distance, these opportunities are often beyond the reach of most students. Santander Universities’ World Learning and Service Engagement Grants will allow grantees to continue to implement the service learning program internationally, and provide students with more opportunities to impact the world beyond their local communities,” said Santander Bank Region President Karim Hill.
“We greatly appreciate Santander’s partnership in this endeavor. The timing of student access to funds during their study abroad process is critical. Some expenses are due long before students depart for their programs, and not having cash or credit to cover those expenses constitutes a barrier for this audience. The Santander University grants remove this hurdle and help provide students with a seamless path to study abroad,” said Providence College Dean of Global Education Christian Wilwohl.
In addition to the grants, Santander signed long-term agreements to provide exclusive banking services on campus, including ATMs, and to serve as the Department of Athletics’ primary bank sponsor.