In response to President Trump’s initial travel ban ordered in January of 2017, Kent State enacted the #YouAreWelcomeHere scholarship following a viral social media campaign encouraging international students to study in the U.S.

“A lot of universities got together, especially Temple University, and started a viral campaign letting students know that they’re welcome,” said Salma Benhaida, director of international recruitment. 

She explained the campaign needed to be financially backed if it was going to actually impact the lives of potential international students. 

“We cannot say you are welcome here without putting it in writing and offering funding,” Benhaida said.

The scholarship covers a minimum of 50% of tuition to the selected applicants. The renewable award ranges from $8,000 to $9,000 per year.

As of spring 2020, Kent State has 1,409 international students representing 99 countries. The number of new international students has increased 21% since spring of 2019.

Two students are awarded this scholarship each year. The office of global education is currently working through applicants for the 2020-21 school year. 

“We’re looking at candidates, and typically only two students are eligible, we got quite a few applicants,” Benhaida said.

The application deadline for this scholarship is in December. Applicants must be incoming freshman intending to pursue an undergraduate degree. Benhaida explained the application process includes either a written or oral essay. 

“It focuses a lot on civic engagement," she said. "How can you be an active member of society? How can you help build those bridges?”

Mimi Freeman is the recruitment and retention reporter. Contact her at mfreem20@kent.edu

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