The decision to make Claremont McKenna students pay their otherwise full tuition when the go abroad is an unfortunate and dishonest one. (See the full email down below and also the post from The Forum.)
New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo launched an investigation of how higher education's study abroad programs are conducted. Initial findings suggested that too often, colleges and universities structure their programs in self-serving ways that shortchange students—backroom deals with independent study abroad contractors have become commonplace, and along the way study abroad administrators have begun putting financial kickbacks and perks such as free trips ahead of students' educational and economic prerogatives. The bottom line: the cost of studying abroad is often inflated, and the red tape involved can be excessive and compromising for students whose study abroad options are limited by their schools' exclusive arrangements with study abroad providers.
Memo to: CMC class of 2010
From: Greg Hess, Dean of Faculty
Date: May 12, 2009
Subject: Policy Change for Cost of Study Abroad
I understand this is a very busy time of year; however, I want to share this information with you before you leave campus for your summer endeavors. This information may assist you in your future academic planning.
Effective July 1, 2010, all CMC off-campus study students will pay CMC tuition, room, and board, regardless of study site or program costs in order to receive CMC credits for graduation. The Associated Students fees will not be charged for abroad or exchange programs.
Claremont McKenna College has always had a very unusual off-campus study cost policy compared to our sister schools and the majority of other small private schools. We have traditionally charged the program cost for study abroad, and not CMC home-school costs. CMC’s implementation of this new off-campus cost structure puts CMC more in line with our peer institutions; additionally, it ensures that all students have access to the same academic integrity and equal opportunities regardless of socio-economic status, whether studying at CMC or off-campus through study abroad, on the Washington Program or on any approved CMC domestic exchange.
Under the new policy CMC off-campus study costs will be billed in the usual manner, and will cover: the off-campus academic program, room and board, pre-departure workshops, evacuation insurance through the International Student Identity Card, a travel allowance towards the cost of round-trip transportation from Los Angeles to the program site, administrative costs incurred by CMC for each semester (i.e. Offices of the Registrar, Financial Aid, Student Affairs, Student Accounts, Academic Advising, Digital resources provided by the Libraries of the Claremont Colleges, etc.) and, in some cases, an allowance towards local transportation costs. Many programs include health and accident insurance in the program cost. If health and accident insurance is not covered in the program cost, an allowance may be awarded to the student to secure this insurance. The CMC off-campus study costs exclude room, board, and travel during vacation periods and weekends.
What this means for the rising sophomore class is that, should you study off-campus spring 2010, your semester costs will be under the current policy i.e. you will be charged specific program costs and program suggested expenses. Should you study off-campus after July 1, 2010 (i.e., for the rising sophomore class, during your junior year, whether fall 2010, spring 2011 or AY 2010-2011, or any time after that), you will be charged the CMC tuition, room and board.
As is our current policy, financial aid will continue for eligible students during the time off-campus on an approved program. Students will continue to receive federal and state aid as well as private and merit scholarships and up to 100% of CMC grants, not to exceed the costs of a semester (or full year) at CMC. Your family will continue to receive billing statements by CMC, which will detail the comprehensive fee charged for studying off-campus as well as any expected or actual financial aid for which you are eligible to receive. Students on payment plans may request continuation of the service while studying off-campus.
Students studying through CMC off-campus study should expect to personally pay for passport and visa fees, cost of medical examinations and immunizations, and refundable security/damage deposits. On site, students pay for personal needs such as: books, supplies, clothing, medical charges, laundry, postage, recreation, entertainment, phone bills, snacks, and weekend or holiday travel. These costs are likely to be higher than in Claremont and costs may vary considerably from site to site.
If you would like more detailed information about this new cost structure or about any of our off-campus study programs, including assistance in determining the best semester for your off-campus study, please contact Kristen Mallory, Director, Off-Campus Study Office, Heggblade Center, 909-621-8267.