Education Abroad works around new policy

Education+Abroad+works+around+new+policy

Micheal Schwartz

By Aubrey Barto, Video Editor

 

With the new scholarship policy in place for education abroad payments, university administration and the Office of International Programs are working to help students fund their education abroad.

The current policy states that no internal University of Akron scholarship can be used in payment to schools abroad that do not have a reciprocity agreement with Akron, including education abroad-specific scholarships given by the university. New protocols will be in place starting spring semester that allow the students to work around the policy.

There are currently 19 schools in the UA network that have reciprocity agreements, when a student chooses one of these schools, they pay their abroad tuition through UA. These schools are generally less expensive and easier to apply for. If a student chooses a school outside the reciprocity network, they receive a separate bill for their host university, which cannot be paid with university funds.

“You may not like the reason [behind the new scholarship policy] but you understand the reasoning. Now that we know students can’t use internal scholarships, we will work with them,” Black said.

In efforts to help students, Black and the Office of International Programs are working to grow the university’s network of school with reciprocity agreements. The Office of International Programs is looking to expand their network in Europe, with 76 percent of students showing interest in studying abroad in Europe. There are ongoing talks with a school in France to set up an exchange program.

There is currently one scholarship offered by the university to study abroad. Black is working with alumni to begin gathering more funds to create scholarships for current students. In five years, Black’s goal is to raise over $1 million for education abroad scholarships.

“I know a million dollars sounds like a lot, but other schools our size, in the state of Ohio, are doing it. One school in Ohio is raising $2 million and another school is raising $5 million and in less time. I think we can,” says Black.

In addition to growing the reciprocity network and raising funds for future scholarships, the Office of International Programs will work to remarket their department. There are plans to reformat the Education Abroad website to be user friendly for students, along with proposals in place for on campus events to spread the word about Education Abroad.

The office will continue to have a table set up in Student Union on Mondays next semester, the office also hopes to have Study Abroad Workshops in the Student Union up to twice a week. The workshops will be open to students and faculty to learn general information about the education abroad programs. After a successful Fall Study Abroad Fair, there are plans for a spring Study Abroad Fair next semester. This semester saw twice as many students in attendance at the Study Abroad Fair than the previous years and the Office of International Programs hope for another good turnout.

With the strategic plans in place, Black hopes to see over 500 students going abroad in five years. “I think that 500 students out of 25,000 is not unrealistic,” Black said.

With the globalization of today’s marketplace, it is imperative for universities to have successful education abroad programs.

According to the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers and Association of International Educators, study abroad programs provide opportunities for learning that are critical to the education of American college students and, over the long term, to the ability of the United States to lead responsibly, collaborate abroad and compete effectively in the global arena.

The success of the Office of International Programs will help the university as a whole.

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, a global college education is increasingly becoming a crucial part of being competitive in today’s job market and students are demanding it more and more.

Having an attractive education abroad program can draw in more students within the U.S. and internationally, leading to a rise the value of a UA education.

If students are interested in studying abroad, they can visit the Office of International Programs website at uakron.edu/oip.