New legislation to encourage study abroad

Good news for student vagabonders hoping to make that leap abroad. This Matador pulse article, 1% of American students study abroad, introduces the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act.  If it gets signed into law, it could enable more students to take that first step overseas. Here’s the official website.

Some of the biggest obstacles are getting financial aid and the bureaucratic nightmare of making sure your classes taken abroad will count toward your degree back home. One shortcut is to find out if your university has a “sister school” that it cooperates with.  That could cut through a lot of the hassle.

Posted by | Comments (5)  | June 26, 2009
Category: Travel News

5 Responses to “New legislation to encourage study abroad”

  1. Laura Says:

    This is fabulous news…

    I SO SO regret not traveling abroad in college. It would’ve been the perfect timing and now I don’t know when I’ll ever do it.

    It’s never too late…haha

    (cheap travel lovers! follow me @BudgetVacation)

  2. Dylan Says:

    I’m travel-studying coming this September. ‘Bureaucratic nightmare’ is putting it lightly but it’s still totally worth it.

  3. Nicolai Says:

    Study Abroad was encouraged at my university in the US. There were posters across campus showing various department-approved courses at universities around the world.

    The process was seamless. When I did it, registering for the course was as easy as registering for a local one, because it came straight out of our own course catalog despite being taught thousands of miles away.

    Also, Study Abroad isn’t any more expensive than staying in the US and studying. Not only is tuition cheaper around the world, but you don’t have to pay car insurance (as one of many examples) when you’re gone. It more or less evens out. I can’t think of a compelling reason not to study abroad.

    Lots of naysaying “reasons” not to based on fear of the unknown.

  4. brian Says:

    As a financial aid counselor, I can attest that statement that there is no financial aid for studying abroad is a little misleading. Students can always get an increased budget, and therefore increased aid, for overseas classes, but it almost always be in the form of loans, and this assumes the student has not already borrowed the maximum to pay for his or her standard course load. Moreover, many of these programs will demand payment upfront in cash, regardless of one’s financial aid packaging. Coming up with that much is generally beyond my students’ ability.

    I breezed through the proposed amendment, and while 40 million may seem like quite a bit, evenly spread to the hoped for 1 million students, it doesn’t amount to much per student. If you are truly interested in studying abroad, I can only suggest speaking with your financial aid office (although I’m biased in that regard…) and see if there are dedicated scholarships available. Loans are always an option, but if you have borrowed the maximum Stafford loan (and you probably did), then you will need to look at parent PLUS loans, Perkins Loans, and the archetypal manifestation of a necessary evil: alternative loans. The PLUS and alt. loans are credit based, so if your repayment has been lacking, you’ll probably need a co-signer.

    Finally, it is possible to travel and turn those trips into college credits via independent study courses. Since travel exposes you to anything, you can study any number of topics. E.g., a trip to Thailand can double as an in depth study of Buddhism, the Thai language, or if your feeling a little bolder, elephant wrangling. At the very least the corralling of elephants will make for interesting papers.