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Study abroad costs: how do students do this?


Innisfree
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Dd is drooling over an undeniably wonderful program. Her advisor is pushing it. But it costs nearly $40,000 for one semester. 😳

The program information states that they can award need-based scholarships up to $10,000. Furthermore, no one has been denied the chance to go based on financial need. I just don't see how those two statements add up to students being able to attend: surely most students can't afford the remaining $30,000, can they? Are they taking out loans for study abroad?

Dd isn't eligible for any financial aid at her college, so she isn't likely to get financial aid for this program, according to their information. We do have money in her 529 account which will cover her education at her home school, and with luck, help some with the grad school which she will need for employment. We can't cover 30-40,000 extra for study abroad, no matter how prestigious or wonderful the program, without significant sacrifices. Truly, it just isn't possible.

Do students without either wealthy parents, or documented need, fall through the cracks for programs like this, or am I missing something?

Eta: https://globaled.duke.edu/programs/rome_ICCS

Edited by Innisfree
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The programs at DD#1's school are all less than out of state tuition & sometimes in line with in state tuition. So, most kids can swing it with their usual $$ flow (including loans). I haven't seen any that are that much. Usually $12-15k plus housing.

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There are also programs that cost less.

Some parts of the world are less expensive, and some programs are less expensive.

Europe, in general, is often more expensive.

Rome, in particular, is an expensive place within Europe.  

If Rome in particular is what makes sense for her, maybe there is an option where she travels there with a cheaper program, goes as a traveler instead of for college credit, or something like that.  

It's too bad when things would be so good but are so expensive, but there are other options.  This is not the ONLY way to go to Rome or to study abroad in Rome.  

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I'm going to add -- ime with programs like this, they have breaks for travel.  Well -- that just means it will be even more expensive with extra travel.  Or else -- going and then not traveling because of $$$.  

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That is outrageously expensive.  Our experience is similar to RootAnn's.  Programs we have seen have tuition less than their school's.  Scholarships can be used toward costs, etc.  There are also fully funded abroad experiences like CLS.

For comparison to another private university's Rome program, you might look at UDallas's and assess the differences/costs.  https://www.udallas.edu/rome/

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44 minutes ago, Lecka said:

They take out student loans.

 

This is what I was suspecting. I can't justify that easily. Dd won't be going into a highly paid career, so I don't want to saddle her with debt. I really kind of resent professors pushing programs like this on kids, kwim?

40 minutes ago, RootAnn said:

The programs at DD#1's school are all less than out of state tuition & sometimes in line with in state tuition. So, most kids can swing it with their usual $$ flow (including loans). I haven't seen any that are that much. Usually $12-15k plus housing.

This makes much more sense, but unfortunately dd's school doesn't have anything that sensible in her field.

4 minutes ago, 8filltheheart said:

That is outrageously expensive

I'm glad I'm not the only one having that reaction! Though to her credit, dd did also. 

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What the what?  No need to spend that kind of $ for a study-abroad program.  What in heavens name are they spending that money on???   Mostly the universities there are much lower cost, and room and board shouldn't be much more than here either.  Are they offering them champagne and caviar and the use of a Lamborghini?  

You can usually go on any study abroad program, not just ones offered by your Uni.  That's what I did when I was in college, and what both of my kids did as well.  You just have to work with them to see if credits will transfer.  For me and one kid, they did.  For a second, the uni was being a pain but she didn't need the credits, and decided to not worry and just have the experience, but then Covid hit.  My third kid did a coop semester abroad instead of study - again, found it herself and then had it approved by her uni.

There is no plausible excuse for that kind of $$ except for 'rich kids go here and we know we can charge ridiculous amounts of money'.

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23 minutes ago, daijobu said:

So Duke is charging $40K on top of tuition?  I know at Stanford, if you want to study overseas, you pay the same tuition as if you had stayed on campus.  Attending Stanford is expensive of course, but at least you don't pay a premium to go overseas.  

When I did a semester abroad, the costs were instead of tuition, as I wasn't taking classes my university.

Same for my dd who did coop semesters.  No tuition for the semesters you're on coop.  Takes 5 years to graduate, but you're still only paying 8 semesters of tuition.

My other two did summer programs, so that of course was extra.  But honestly didn't cost much (if any) more than if they'd signed them up for summer classes at their uni.

Edited by Matryoshka
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23 minutes ago, daijobu said:

So Duke is charging $40K on top of tuition?  I know at Stanford, if you want to study overseas, you pay the same tuition as if you had stayed on campus.  Attending Stanford is expensive of course, but at least you don't pay a premium to go overseas.  

I think that includes tuition.

It's also pretty close to the cost of attendance estimate on Duke's website for a regular semester on campus, including room, board, books, and travel to campus.

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14 minutes ago, daijobu said:

So Duke is charging $40K on top of tuition?  I know at Stanford, if you want to study overseas, you pay the same tuition as if you had stayed on campus.  Attending Stanford is expensive of course, but at least you don't pay a premium to go overseas.  

I doubt it's on top of tuition; I think the $40k includes tuition, fees and estimated expenses for the semester. But, you know, the whole semester at dd's (in-state, not flagship, but still not precisely cheap) school is less than a quarter of that. Dd is obviously not at Duke, but this is the program her school pushes for Classics majors.

If you do one of the exchange programs they have, then tuition is the same as on campus, yes. But none of the exchange programs has behind-the-scenes tours of the latest excavations in Pompeii, etc...  Most don't offer Classics at all.

30 minutes ago, Matryoshka said:

What in heavens name are they spending that money on???   Mostly the universities there are much lower cost, and room and board shouldn't be much more than here either.  Are they offering them champagne and caviar and the use of a Lamborghini? 

😁😄 Special access! Things No Tourist Ever Sees!!! Like the Pompeii visit listed above, plus, I gather, so much more...

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2 minutes ago, maize said:

It's also pretty close to the cost of attendance estimate on Duke's website for a regular semester on campus, including room, board, books, and travel to campus.

Yeah, I think my outrage is based not on the fact that Duke offers this, but on the fact that dd's very different state school is pushing it as The Thing every serious Classics student needs to do.

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1 minute ago, Innisfree said:

 

😁😄 Special access! Things No Tourist Ever Sees!!! Like the Pompeii visit listed above, plus, I gather, so much more...

😂 So the tour guides can afford a Lamborghini?  

Really, a behind-the-scenes tour is cool, but really, it shouldn't cost significantly more than going to the regular place.  What, they have to open a few different doors/gates?  Charge extra, sure, but still not getting close to explaining $40K...

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Just now, maize said:

She could do an archeology field school and get plenty of behind the scenes stuff. Maybe not at Pompeii but I'm sure she could find a Greek or Roman dig.

Yes!  Before my kid decided their health wouldn't support field work, they were signed up to do a field school excavating Roman ruins on a Mediterranean Isle.  

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2 minutes ago, maize said:

She could do an archeology field school and get plenty of behind the scenes stuff. Maybe not at Pompeii but I'm sure she could find a Greek or Roman dig.

This is one thing I was thinking about. There's also a Latin immersion program in Rome which appeals to her, while being substantially less expensive. It's a summer program, not a full semester, but far better than nothing. There's also a summer program in France. So- I think she'll get overseas, assuming any of us can travel again. 

 

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There are a number of ways to do study abroad, and some that even end up being less expensive than studying in the US.  If a student is already paying $30,000+ for tuition at Duke (either directly or has financial aid to cover it), then the extra cost is really travel related expenses.  I personally would not pay $40,000 out of pocket for my child to do a study abroad for one semester.  There are many other opportunities to learn from travel (which I am extremely supportive of when there isn't a pandemic) that are much more cost effective.  

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42 minutes ago, Innisfree said:

Yeah, I think my outrage is based not on the fact that Duke offers this, but on the fact that dd's very different state school is pushing it as The Thing every serious Classics student needs to do.

If they are really "pushing" this program, I would be automatically skeptical.  While I'm not familiar with demonstrating high achievement in classics or related fields, I'm automatically skeptical of any program where you pay to play.  In general for any program, whether it's math or engineering or humanities, to me the most prestigious and worthwhile programs are going to be the ones where the student is paid to attend.  Or at the very least it's free.  Many of these programs are probably hanging by a thread financially now and they may be trying to convince a few clueless rich people to sign up.

I may be conspiracy-minded, but it wouldn't surprise me if the staff in your dd's department doesn't receive some sort of referral commission if your dd signs up.  

Edited by daijobu
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DD did two programs in Rome with University of Dallas.  She also did a summer language program in Italy learning Italian.  It was not a university based program but when she got back to her campus she was able to test out of the first year Italian classes and even serve as tutor for the intro Italian classes.

Another program to consider is Costs & Financial Assistance | The University of New Orleans (uno.edu)University of New Orleans summer program in Innsbruck Austria.  UNO's tuition is much lower than many private schools with programs.  Innsbruck is a major crossroad in Europe allowing for a lot of weekend travel and many students go early or stay after the program to do some independent travel. 

 

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6 minutes ago, daijobu said:

I may be conspiracy-minded, but it wouldn't surprise me if the staff in your dd's department doesn't receive some sort of referral commission if your dd signs up

This was dh's take. No clue if it's accurate.

The basic line dd was given was that it was a wonderful opportunity to make important connections for the future, etc. 

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2 hours ago, 8filltheheart said:

That is outrageously expensive.  Our experience is similar to RootAnn's.  Programs we have seen have tuition less than their school's.  Scholarships can be used toward costs, etc.  There are also fully funded abroad experiences like CLS.

For comparison to another private university's Rome program, you might look at UDallas's and assess the differences/costs.  https://www.udallas.edu/rome/

Dd did UD's high school summer Latin program in Rome and it was an awesome experience. It also was only $5,000 with airfare (the airfare was more than the tuition.) 

I know that UT Austin has a summer Greek intensive in Greece, but there's not much information due to Covid. Googling around I found this list on Wesleyan's site. It might give you some ideas:

https://www.wesleyan.edu/classics/Summer Experiences/summer_language_study.html

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OK, so now I'm a little afraid to step into this conversation and say that my daughter was part of the ICCS Rome semester program as a college junior majoring in Classics back in 2012. 😄

It's gone up a bit in price in the intervening years.  The total estimated cost back then was approximately $30,000, which was still scarily high! She applied for Duke's financial aid and got $12,000 from them (and we're comfortably middle class). Her college advisor (who also recommended the program highly to her) arranged a departmental grant of an additional $9,000 for her.  That still left about $9000 which she and I split. So it was more in tune with what we were used to paying for college.

It was as advertised -- an amazing program. Lots and lots of on-site field trips/ lectures around Rome for the required Ancient City course, an art history class at the site of whatever work they were studying every Friday, and two week-long field trips to Sicily and Pompeii with all expenses included. 

There was one free week in the middle of the term when most of the kids did do some traveling. She joined a few others on a youth hostel tramp around Greece. A few kids did go on island vacations then, but that was not in her price range, haha.

I'm sure that a lot of her classmates were wealthy, but no one was there for a vacation! It was tons and tons of work: research, essays, challenging exams, learning field presentation skills, advanced Latin readings, etc. But she also had lots and lots of fun exploring the city; the Centro is in a safe neighborhood so adventures out were common.  The other students were serious about their studies & they bonded enough that they still have occasional reunions and she keeps in touch with several. Several went on to Classics PhD careers, and others like dd pursued other paths. There was even a marriage among her group!

So yeah, it's expensive. We felt lucky that we could send her. And no, it's definitely not a rip-off or scam!

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Definitely shop around for study abroad. I went on a Rome "Art and Architecture"  trip through Purdue years ago, and it was a comparative bargain. It was led by a couple of professors who knew their stuff and had been running the program for years. We stayed at a convent hostel near Palatine Hill and used public transportation. We even had a scoreboard for "pickpockets vs. Purdue" (Purdue won.)

If your dd can put together something like Kathy's Dd did, I say go for it, but if not, it's worth shopping some of the professor-led tours that various universities offer.

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10 minutes ago, Kathy in Richmond said:

OK, so now I'm a little afraid to step into this conversation and say that my daughter was part of the ICCS Rome semester program as a college junior majoring in Classics back in 2012. 😄

It's gone up a bit in price in the intervening years.  The total estimated cost back then was approximately $30,000, which was still scarily high! She applied for Duke's financial aid and got $12,000 from them (and we're comfortably middle class). Her college advisor (who also recommended the program highly to her) arranged a departmental grant of an additional $9,000 for her.  That still left about $9000 which she and I split. So it was more in tune with what we were used to paying for college.

It was as advertised -- an amazing program. Lots and lots of on-site field trips/ lectures around Rome for the required Ancient City course, an art history class at the site of whatever work they were studying every Friday, and two week-long field trips to Sicily and Pompeii with all expenses included. 

There was one free week in the middle of the term when most of the kids did do some traveling. She joined a few others on a youth hostel tramp around Greece. A few kids did go on island vacations then, but that was not in her price range, haha.

I'm sure that a lot of her classmates were wealthy, but no one was there for a vacation! It was tons and tons of work: research, essays, challenging exams, learning field presentation skills, advanced Latin readings, etc. But she also had lots and lots of fun exploring the city; the Centro is in a safe neighborhood so adventures out were common.  The other students were serious about their studies & they bonded enough that they still have occasional reunions and she keeps in touch with several. Several went on to Classics PhD careers, and others like dd pursued other paths. There was even a marriage among her group!

So yeah, it's expensive. We felt lucky that we could send her. And no, it's definitely not a rip-off or scam!

Thank you so much for chiming in, and I'm sorry to have made you feel nervous to do so. It does sound like a wonderful program, and I don't think at all that it's a scam overall. I did wonder if colleges made any money based on students attending, but regardless, it sounds great. I'm glad it was a good experience for your dd.

Yesterday dd attended a virtual information session for ICCS, which was discouraging-- just basically saying that their aid was for students with need demonstrated by FAFSA.

I've suggested dd talk more with her advisor about it. Maybe the department does have the ability to help. 

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47 minutes ago, Innisfree said:

Thank you so much for chiming in, and I'm sorry to have made you feel nervous to do so. It does sound like a wonderful program, and I don't think at all that it's a scam overall. I did wonder if colleges made any money based on students attending, but regardless, it sounds great. I'm glad it was a good experience for your dd.

Yesterday dd attended a virtual information session for ICCS, which was discouraging-- just basically saying that their aid was for students with need demonstrated by FAFSA.

I've suggested dd talk more with her advisor about it. Maybe the department does have the ability to help. 

Doesn't fafsa need partly have to do with difference between the cost of a college and the family's expected contribution? Maybe since Duke is more expensive than her school of enrollment the equation would demonstrate need?

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Just now, maize said:

Doesn't fafsa need partly have to do with difference between the cost of a college and the family's expected contribution? Maybe since Duke is more expensive than her school of enrollment the equation would demonstrate need?

Possibly? I don't know, maybe we need to look into that. She did decide on a less-expensive in-state college to keep costs down, but we hadn't made that decision when we did the fafsa form, so I'm not sure.

 

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