Education Abroad: Why students are staying in Akron

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Education Abroad: Why students are staying in Akron

Micheal Schwartz

Micheal Schwartz

Micheal Schwartz

By Aubrey Barto, Video Editor

Assistant director of international programs education abroad, David Black, is pushing to reorganize the Education Abroad Office to make it easier and more affordable for students to study abroad.

Out of the over 25,000 students at The University of Akron, only an average of 150 students travel abroad every year. When compared to Kent State University who have 800 students travel abroad every year and Michigan State University who have almost 3,000 students study abroad every year, Akron is simply falling behind.

“The study abroad [program] here at Akron is designed around two things,” said Black. “First, it’s designed about being reactive. Second, it needs to be affordable.”

The cost to study abroad can range from in-state tuition up to $12,000 for a semester depending on the program you choose. Here at The University of Akron students can participate in the school exchange program for the cost of in-state tuition plus travel expenses.

A new policy implemented in the beginning of 2014 can make the program even more expensive. The policy prohibits students from using internal scholarships to pay for their education abroad. This decision is likely to severely limit the number of students capable of affording the program.

The Department of Development is working to gather a $25,000 endowment to create a scholarship for students who study abroad. Unfortunately, under the new school policy the student would not be able to pay the cost to study abroad with the internal school scholarship.

On top of the new policy, the Education Abroad Office is funded only by the program fees of the students who study abroad, unlike other schools that fund their education abroad offices with school funds. If the university took on basic funding for the Education Abroad Office, which includes salaries and basic office costs, the program fees that students pay could be recycled back into the department budget and used to help lower the program costs to students who study abroad by thousands.

In today’s globalized world, 97 percent of students who study abroad are offered a job within 12 months of graduation. With such a high success from students that study abroad, the university should make it more practical and affordable for the Education Abroad Office to reach students.

“I really believe that our university, from the president down, wants our students to study abroad. I just don’t think they are aware of why students don’t study abroad. I can and will share that information,” Black said.

With his proactive, strategic plan that includes funding, scholarships and updated programs, Black will continue to work with school administration on how the university offers education abroad programs. There are already meetings scheduled in the upcoming few weeks to cover the new policy and how students can affordable work within the policy to fund their travel abroad.

For more information about the University of Akron Education Abroad Office, you can visit their website at www.uakron.edu/oip/studyabroad.

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