TRAVERSE CITY — Up to 25 NMC students will be able to obtain a free passport this year, thanks to a $4,000 grant from the Institute of International Education.

NMC is one of 48 schools selected to receive the grant, which will help up to 1,200 Pell grant-eligible students obtain their U.S. passports and start their study abroad journey. Required for travel beyond North America, passports typically cost $160 and are valid for 10 years.

“A passport is the first thing that opens up their world to the possibility of study abroad,” said Courtney Temple, IIE executive vice president and chief administrative officer.

This is the first year NMC has received the funding. In spring 2023, NMC had 53 participants visit Guatemala, Iceland, Morocco and Spain/Portugal on faculty – led programs, said Jim Bensley, director of NMC’s office of International Services and Service Learning. Destinations for 2024 include: Brazil, Costa Rica, Ireland, and India. Bensley said the 2023 trips had waiting lists.

The grant prioritizes first-year students, with limited financial means. NMC will couple the grant funding with engagement and outreach, advising, programming, and additional donor support for the students identified for this program.

In 2017, NMC was one of just 28 institutions of higher education to be awarded the IIE Generation Study Abroad Seal of Excellence for doubling student participation in short-term study abroad by the end of the decade.

Students should submit the Passport Online Application. Studying abroad is encouraged, but not a requirement for eligibility. Selected students will be notified by November 1.

For more information, students should contact Marina Call in the office of International Services and Service Learning at or (231) 995-2524. 


Release Date: August 30, 2023

For More Information:

Jim Bensley
NMC Director of International Services and Service Learning
(231) 995-2527


Northwestern Michigan College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, height, weight, marital status or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.