Students question the Off-Campus Study fee

AARON SKUBBY, Asst. News Editor—Students have expressed surprise about the administrative fee they will be charged for Off-Campus Study. Assistant Director of Off-Campus Study Sandy Spence sat down with The Denisonian to explain that the fee is no secret, and she helped to explain where the money is going.

The fee for Off-Campus Study is $920 for a semester, and $280 for the summer. Spence noted that Denison is “on the low end” cost-wise compared to other Ohio liberal arts schools.

Ohio Wesleyan University, for example, has an administrative fee of $2,600. Students with financial aid can use that money for their study abroad, and the administrative fee will simply be subtracted from the financial aid award.

Students do however need to pay a $300 deposit for the program.

Spence explained that it is important for students to “show commitment” to the program they signed up for, and not cancel on an expensive program. She said that though it is a monetary commitment, it’s “a 300 dollar commitment, not a 4000 dollar commitment.”

So what does that money go towards? According to Spence, “the money helps pay for all the funds used to support a student during the OCS program.”

This budget includes the costs for faculty chair responsibilities in regards to study abroad, student insurance, registrar’s office, and any other departments involved. Spence highlighted the Alert Travel app, which is funded by the administrative fee as well. It is an app that gives students studying abroad important safety alerts, and helps maintain contact with students if any risks arise.

Spence highlighted some of the resources available to help make Off-Campus Study accessible to students. Students do not need to pay tuition that semester, and they can put financial aid towards study abroad. Additionally, the Lisska Center helps lots of students access study abroad opportunities.

Spence explained that the fee is clearly outlined on various digital resources regarding Off-Campus Study. The Finances and Scholarships tab of the Global Tools website says that “Denison presently charges a nominal administrative fee of $285 for a summer program, $920 for a semester program, and $1,000 for an academic year of study with the same program or provider. This fee covers the administrative support associated with off-campus study as provided by various campus offices.” Similar information can also be found on the University catalog.

Spence noted that though it is outlined online, the fee still does not generally become clear to students until it shows up on their bill.

According to Spence, students tend to read the information, but not really think about what it means until they have to pay. Students planning to study abroad experience an intensive preparation process, which includes several documents, meetings, and mandatory events. Students are encouraged to share any suggestions on how to increase clarity with the Off-Campus Study office.

This story idea was suggested by one of our Instagram followers during an open Instagram survey on our story, “Have any story suggestions? Let us know!” The follower was a Denison student concerned about the Off-Campus Study fee because they felt the office’s only explanation for the fee was “for their help” with the application. Have a story idea of your own? Send us yours by direct messaging @denisonpublications on Instagram or emailing denisonian@denison.edu.

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