The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs recognized Santa Monica College (SMC) for being among the top 20 producers of Gilman scholarship recipients nationwide over the past twenty years, in the associate degree-granting institutions category.

The Department of State’s Gilman program makes studying abroad more accessible to American students by providing scholarships for outstanding undergraduate students who, due to financial constraints, might not otherwise participate. Since the program’s inception in 2001, more than 34,000 Gilman Scholars from all U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. territories have studied or interned in more than 155 countries around the globe.  

“Santa Monica College has historically placed immense value in study abroad opportunities and has a deep appreciation for the benefits students and employees gain by actively learning about other cultures—truly opening minds and perspectives, preparing our students to become global leaders and thinkers,” said SMC Superintendent/President Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery. “It is visionary that the U.S. State Department’s Gilman Program has helped so many SMC students on this journey of discovery over these past two decades. We celebrate this honor!”

In late October, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Ethan Rosenzweig announced virtually the U.S. colleges and universities that were the top producers of Gilman scholars. These institutions were recognized for their support of equity, diversity, and accessibility in study abroad for American students through the Gilman Program. The State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, in collaboration with the Institute of International Education, compiles the lists, which are organized by institution size and degree-awarding category.

A global college, Santa Monica College is among the top U.S. destinations for international students, ranking in third place nationally and first place in California among community colleges per Institute of International Education data for 2020-2021.

While SMC has placed its Study Abroad program on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the college historically has offered robust, diverse Study Abroad offerings, ranging from weeks-long, intensive programs over summer and winter intersession in locations such as Belize, Guatemala, and South Africa to short-term “field study trips” over spring break to England, Russia, Denmark, and more. 

To learn more about the Gilman and Gilman-McCain Scholarships and how their diverse alumni are pursuing impactful careers in the government, non-profit, and private sectors, contact and visit For more information on Study Abroad programs at SMC, go to

Submitted by: Grace Smith, SMC PIO