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New probe investigates high study abroad fees

Study abroad programs at 15 colleges are being investigated by governmental officials on suspicion of overcharging students to cover perks for administrators. The Associated Press outlines that probe and identifies schools currently under investigation.

As an alumna of two study abroad programs and an enthusiastic supporter of the opportunities they give young people, I find this really disappointing. Making it more difficult and more expensive to study abroad shouldn’t be a business model; it should be contrary to everything study abroad programs stand for.

It’s worth noting here, though, that colleges run study abroad programs in all different ways. As illustrated in this scandal, some schools charge students a premium to study in foreign countries, but others have even exchange policies that allow students to pay their home university regular tuition but attend a university in another country. Others maintain reasonable fees for students in other countries. And there are always third-party programs beyond your institution.

If you are considering going abroad but find your own university’s program too expensive, you may want to look elsewhere. There are plenty of programs associated with a college but open to students beyond that school that offer good value and college credits.

When you’re vetting study abroad options, compare prices and programs, talk to people who have gone before you, and make sure to factor in living expenses— which vary widely depending on your destination—into your budget.

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