'U' programs alleviate cost of study abroad

BY MICHAEL KAN
Daily Staff Reporter
Published April 7, 2003

Students who do not participate in study abroad programs have many reasons for not taking advantage of the University's overseas opportunities.

"It's a big step," LSA junior Jen Reinhart said. She said there is a lot to consider, especially since she is already settled in Michigan. However, another important reason students are hesitant to travel abroad is the costs.

Engineering sophomore Richa Jolly said that because she doesn't know how the trip would be paid for, she would be apprehensive about going abroad.

The assumption that studying abroad is expensive is common, but not completely true, according to the University's Office of International Programs.

Students interested in studying in a foreign country without having to empty their pockets can look to the OIP, along with other study abroad organizations, to provide them with these affordable opportunities.

"We work very hard to keep the cost of study abroad as low as possible," OIP Assistant Director Jordan Pollack said.

Although the University has a variety of study abroad programs that vary in cost, Pollack said each program accommodates students' needs. "All our programs offer a scholarship opportunity," he added. Scholarships are awarded on merit and financial need, Pollack said.

Students should also realize that the expenses of study abroad can be lowered by financial aid, Pollack said. With University grants and government loans, a student can significantly compensate for the expenses of going to a foreign school. OIP usually provides study abroad programs that cost as much or less than tuition at the University, he added. "The cost of our programs is comparable to other academic institutions," Pollack added.

But he also said students are often sent to first-class universities, causing some programs to be more expensive than others. Whether or not students pay for an expensive trip is up to them, Pollack added, but they should also know there are many other affordable options to choose from.

"There's a lot of misinformation out there for study abroad," Pollack said. He added that the best way for students to learn more is to come in to the OIP office and talk to an advisor.

Students can also look at Cultural Experiences Abroad, a program that can help them plan their educational opportunities overseas. Christie Turley, the marketing manager of CEA, said students should worry about the costs of studying abroad, but that they should also know it's affordable.

"The common misconception is that it's too expensive." Turley said, adding that study abroad is for educational credit, so federal funds can be used to pay for some of the costs.

"There are also plenty of scholarships out there for study abroad - people just need to look for them," she said.

Turley recommended that students interested in studying abroad research their options and the value of the programs they are interested in, as well as the courses they wish to take. She also encouraged students to go to the financial aid office to make arrangements to pay for their study abroad activities

"Students also need to check with their academic advisor to make sure their courses will transfer," Turley said.