The declining value of the American dollar is making study abroad a more expensive proposition.

The dollar is hitting record lows against the euro. One American dollar buys only .69 euros. It also buys .48 British pounds as of yesterday. In November 2005, one American dollar bought .85 euros or .57 pounds.

Carol Dickerman, the director of the University’s Office of International Programs, said she’s worried about the effects the weakness of the dollar could have on study abroad programs.

The places where the dollar is weakest, like Europe, tend to be the places where students want to study most, Dickerman said. She’s encouraging students to consider studying in places where the dollar is stronger, like Latin America and Africa.

While classes, housing and entertainment for a semester in Aix-en-Provence, France cost $11,777, a similar package at the University of Cape Town in South Africa costs $5,075. The rand, the currency of South Africa, is weak against the dollar; $1 is worth 6.8 rands.

LSA junior Monica Converse said the falling dollar influenced her decision to study abroad in a country that doesn’t use the euro. Her first choice is Budapest, Hungary, which still uses its national currency, the forint, rather than the euro.

“I’m an independent student, so I’m financing my own education,” Converse said. “Going somewhere on the euro would’ve caused me to increase loans and to incur more of a financial burden.”

For some students, like LSA sophomore Aly Marks, location is more of a factor than the decline of the dollar.

“I always wanted to travel to Italy and I was going there regardless – whether or not the dollar sucks,” she said.

While some students might pick a new study abroad destination because of the decline of the dollar, others could choose not to study abroad at all. LSA sophomore Ben Johns said he is worried that studying abroad could cost as much or more than his out-of-state tuition.

Dickerman said she worries that the price of the University’s study abroad programs will go up. In recent years, the Office of International Programs has been forced to cut out some parts of its programs – like special trips or entertainment – because of the falling value of the dollar. But because some things can’t be cut, like classes, the University must pass along the additional cost to students, she said.

Students who still want to take the classic trip to France or Italy can still find scholarships to offset the rising cost of the programs, Dickerman said.

Still, the effect of the falling dollar on enrollment is unclear. Dickerman said it hasn’t affected overall enrollment.

“The dollar has been slowly deteriorating for a couple of years, but at the same time, our enrollments are going up,” Dickerman said. “What I can’t tell is how much our enrollments would go up if the dollar wasn’t deteriorating.”

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