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Grant Opportunity (PD-SEOUL-FY22-03)
July 20, 2022

Funding Opportunity Title: Education Influencers Exchange Program
Funding Opportunity Number: PD-SEOUL-FY22-03
Deadline for Applications: OOB August 19, 2022, GMT+9
Assistance Listing Number: 19.040            
Total Amount Available: $100,000 

The U.S. Embassy Seoul / Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the U.S. Department of State announces an open competition for organizations to submit applications to carry out a program to implement the Education Influencers Exchange Program. Please follow all instructions below.

Program Objectives:
The United States has historically been the top destination for degree-seeking Korean students studying at colleges and universities overseas. However, we have seen a yearly decline in the number of Korean students studying in the United States with the figures for 2020-2021 (39,491 Korean students) reflecting a 32% decrease compared to five years ago (2016/17 recorded 58,663 Korean students) and 45% decrease compared to ten years ago (2011/12 recorded 72,295 Korean students).

According to the National Center on Education and the Economy, up to 80% of Korean high schoolers each year use private tutoring, including college agents or application preparation services. This is illustrative of Korea’s infamous “education fever,” fueled by the decision-making power Korean parents wield in their kids’ educational decisions. Additionally, as a country with nearly 100% of households with internet access, online forums including internet cafes and vlogs have become key sources for information exchange among parents of school age children.  This exchange program will focus on working with 5-7 influencers within this arena, whom the U.S. Embassy in Seoul will select as the participants.

NOTE: After issuance of the award, depending on availability of FY22 EOY funding, the number of participants may be increased to 10 and the award will be amended accordingly. 

The exchange program will consist of three parts:

  1. Consultation
    The selected organization will perform group consultations with candidates, either in-person or remotely, to assess the chief interests and concerns of their audiences (students and their parents) as they pertain to U.S. higher education. The findings will be incorporated into the design of a 10-day exchange program to best address their interests and concerns and promote U.S. higher education.
  2. 10-day Exchange program in the United StatesFindings of the consultation will be incorporated into the design of a 10-day exchange program in the United States. The itinerary will be largely driven by the results of the consultation, but we anticipate that visits to U.S. college campuses and meetings with successful Korean alumni of U.S. higher education institutions will be included in the itinerary. The exchange program may also include stays in two different cities to provide participants a wide view of the United States. Ideally one stop would be more urban, and one more suburban/rural.  Throughout the exchange, the participants will be given ample opportunities to collect material for their social media channels. Embassy Seoul will also work with our media/communications team to post snapshots from the tour and brief interviews with participants about their experiences. 
  3. Social Media PostsAs part of the program, each participant will be required to publish three blog or vlog features about study in the United States via their social media accounts within 3 months of the conclusion of the program. The proposal should incorporate 1-3 sessions during the trip to workshop ideas with participants to outline and gather content for these posts.

Proposals should budget for two Korean-language interpreters to accompany the group during the ten-day program. One Embassy Seoul employee may also accompany the group to engage, liaise, and troubleshoot any challenges. The applicant organization should plan to include the Embassy staffer in making logistical arrangements, including any cultural activities or ground transport. However, funding for the Embassy staffer’s flights and hotels will be borne directly by the Embassy (i.e., not included in the award budget).

Participants and Audiences:
The participants of this exchange program will be comprised of 5-7 online influencers selected by the U.S. Embassy who are actively engaged in exploring overseas educational opportunities for South Korean undergraduate university students via online forums including YouTube, online internet cafes, and vlogs. 

***Eligible Applicants 

The following organizations are eligible to apply:     

  • Not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/non-governmental organizations
  • Public and private educational institutions
  • Public International Organizations and Governmental institutions

NOTE: Preferably US-based NPOs that have a partnership with organizations in ROK, or vice-versa.

For more information, please refer to the NOFO document and email us at SeoulPDGrants@state.gov for any questions.