Barlow Grants

The Barlow Endowment for Study Abroad

David Barlow ’79 established the Barlow Endowment for Study Abroad to enhance study abroad for Bates students and faculty. Mr. Barlow  studied in the United Kingdom and found his year abroad to be a powerful learning experience, both inside and outside the classroom. His generous gift to the college provides opportunities for Bates students to enrich their study abroad programs, to link them more closely with their academic program at Bates, and to share their experiences with the rest of the campus and community.

The endowment has three grant programs for students.

1.  Host Country Cultural Enrichment Grants

As the name suggests, these grants are designed to enrich the experience of students on semester or year-long study abroad programs. Enrichment Grants can be used for an activity within the host country to help students learn more about their host country’s culture. While these grants can fund travel, grants have also been used, for example, to purchase a trumpet to allow participation in an orchestra in Russia and supplies for a student to use for volunteer work in an orphanage in Ecuador. Up to $500 is available for one enrichment activity that takes place prior to final exams. Allowable expenses include food, low-cost lodging, budget travel, entry fees, conference expenses, and up to $100 for supplies or equipment. Funds may not be used to pay the regular costs of study abroad, to purchase gifts, or to buy or rent automobiles. Primarily recreational activities (such as bungee jumping in Queenstown, NZ) are not eligible.

Students apply for enrichment grants after they have begun studying abroad when the scope of opportunities and costs of carrying them out are better known. The grant application needs to be submitted prior to the activity and should describe the proposed activity, including the time period, location, and actual or estimated costs. There is a limit of one grant per student. The activity must be within the host country.

Enrichment Grant Application Form

Applications are reviewed six times during the academic year: the first Monday in September, October, November, February, March, and April. The Off-Campus Study Committee may alter these procedures and deadlines, if necessary. All decisions are final.

2. Thesis Research Grants

Grants of up to $2,000 are available to support senior thesis research in the student’s study abroad country.  The research can be undertaken during junior year while studying abroad, during the following summer, or during senior year.  Most students apply for the grants during their senior year and undertake their research then.

For junior year thesis grants, students apply after they have begun studying abroad and identified a potential thesis topic and have a better sense of its feasibility and research costs.  Students who study abroad in the fall may apply for junior year research funds upon their return to campus for use later in the year.  October 1 is the initial deadline for senior year grants, but applications are welcome into second semester.  Applications must be submitted prior to undertaking the research.

Thesis Grant funding for the 2023-2024 academic year has been depleted.
No further proposals will be considered.

Grant applications are submitted via an online form.  Please include the following:

  • Abstract of 250 words.
  • A one-two page proposal describing the thesis topic in detail, your proposed research and the explicit links to both your thesis and your off-campus study site, research methodology(ies), and the anticipated contribution of the field research opportunity to your thesis.
  • IRB approval (if applicable).
  • A projected budget in USD, showing the breakdown of all associated expenses with supporting documentation (flight itinerary, lodging costs, meals, local transportation, and visa, if needed).
  • Proposed dates of travel.
  • Letter of support from your thesis advisor confirming that you have worked together to refine your thesis topic, that the proposed research methodologies support your topic, that you have obtained necessary IRB approval (if applicable), and that the return to the study abroad site is meaningfully connected to your work.

In addition to the Barlow Thesis Grants, students can apply to the Bates Student Research Fund if their expenses will exceed $2,000.  More information on this fund may be found at:

3. Campus and Community Activity Grants

Upon return to campus, students may request up to $500 to support an activity, either on-campus or in the Lewiston-Auburn community, that is directly related to their study abroad program. The goal is to share the abroad experience with our community. Examples include a student who studied batik cloth design in Ghana sponsoring a batik exhibit on campus, or a student who studied in Argentina sponsoring an Argentine film night. Group projects are also supported. An example includes support for students who participated on the Short Term in Vietnam who want to exhibit their photographs on campus. Typically, these activities are co-sponsored with other student organizations and/or academic departments. Applications are submitted to the Off-Campus Study Office in Roger Williams Hall for review by the Off-Campus Study Committee. Applications may be submitted using the Barlow Application Form via email to Dean Gallant. Grant applications are reviewed approximately once a month when college is in session as long as funds remain.

The Grant Award and Completion Report

Grant awards are distributed within the United States to the student, her or his TD Bank account, or to the student’s family.  According to IRS regulations, neither of these grants is subject to Federal income taxes.  Enrichment grants are exempt because they are less than $600; thesis grants are exempt because they support an activity for which academic credit is awarded.  Grant recipients must write a one or two page “Completion Report” on the use of the funds.  The completion reports for enrichment grants should be submitted during the first semester back on campus.  For thesis grants, the report is due one month after return. The grant amount is charged to the student’s bill if the report is not received by the appropriate date.  Students are expected to return unused funds to Bates for use by future students.

Summary Table: Three Grant Opportunities

Thesis Research
Campus/Community Activity
Sophomore year Not applicable, wait for junior year Not applicable, wait for junior or senior year Not applicable, wait for junior or senior year
Junior year Apply while abroad Apply from abroad or upon return to Bates. Thesis topic needs to be well defined with faculty support. Apply upon return to Bates
Senior year Not applicable Apply in fall with faculty support Apply upon return to Bates
Funds Available Up to $500 during program Up to $2,000 each student Up to $500 for individual or group project