Top 20 Hit: Bergen’s Study Abroad Program

PARAMUS, N.J. – The federal government has recognized Bergen Community College as one of the top colleges in the nation for Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship awardees over the last 20 years, joining fellow honorees such as George Washington University, the University California, Berkeley and the University of Texas at Austin.

Fifteen Bergen students received the Gilman study abroad scholarship during the last 20 years, enough to place the College in the top 20 for scholarships among all associate degree granting colleges nationwide. The Gilman program represents a collaborative initiative of the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Institute of International Education to make study abroad more accessible and inclusive for U.S. students.

“For community college students, receiving the Gilman Scholarship has ensured participation in study abroad programs,” Bergen Study Abroad Advisor Amparo Codding said. “We have been very proud of our results, with 15 out of 17 applicants earning the scholarship.”

The program provides scholarships to outstanding U.S. undergraduate students who, due to financial constraints, might not otherwise participate, according to Codding. To date, Bergen awardees have earned scholarships ranging from $1,500 to $8,000 and $53,000 overall.

“This has motivated other participants to plan ahead and dedicate time and effort to their essays, with the guidance of a study abroad advisor,” she said.

Codding has worked with all 15 Bergen Gilman scholars, advising students since 2011 who have studied in countries such as Costa Rica, Italy and Japan. Most recently, in 2019, Bergen recipients - and sisters - Erin and Alicia Moran studied in the Czech Republic and Spain, respectively. Grace Romano earned a scholarship to study in Germany in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic prevented her from doing so.

As a top 20 institution, Bergen also received recognition for its support of equity, diversity and accessibility in study abroad for American students.

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. To learn more about the program, visit  

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (, a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

Photo Caption: Study Abroad Advisor Amparo Codding

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