Purdue University officials hope paying students up to $3,000 will lead to more of them to study abroad.
Fewer than 20 percent of Purdue students participate in international study programs before graduating, and one of university President Mitch Daniels' new initiatives is to increase that to one-third of some 30,000 undergrads, the Journal & Courier reported.
"Learning in another country is an educational necessity, and making study abroad a core component of a Purdue education will help students grow, learn and prepare themselves to make an impact in a global economy," Daniels said.
The money will be available starting spring semester for qualified undergraduates who complete a credit-bearing study-abroad program for a semester or school year. Purdue will pay up to $1,000 to those who choose a shorter program.
Suresh Garimella, Purdue's chief global affairs officer, said the cost of traveling abroad discourages many students.
"We have a fairly good sense that at least one obstacle for them is the financial one," Garimella said. "Maybe (this) pays for their ticket."
Along with the financial investment, school officials plan to make it easier for students to go abroad by designating approved programs and courses.
Karissa Raderstorf, associate director of undergraduate studies in the School of Chemical Engineering, said the study abroad offerings for science and engineering students have grown over time.
"For the engineering students, (study abroad) helps open the doors to them," she said.
Short-term funding for the grants will come from Purdue's current budget, Garimella said, though the university has not set a cap on how much it will pay out.
The cost could approach $7 million a year if 30 percent of Purdue's undergraduate students were to participate once during their college years at the full $3,000 level.
"We're obviously starting an ambitious plan," Garimella said. "... In the long run, if every one of our students wants to (participate), that would be a wonderful problem to have."