Studying abroad as an Ohio State student has been a significant financial undertaking for years. In the past, students studying abroad have been required to pay tuition to both OSU and their respective foreign university.
But last April, the Board of Trustees waived that requirement for fiscal year 2015, and is hoping to repeat that action with a waiver for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.
However, the process is complicated for the university by stipulations in the Ohio Revised Code, which require the university to get state approval for a waiver every two years to correspond with the state’s biennial budget.
Students enrolled at Ohio colleges are required to pay a uniform instructional fee, regardless of how many credits they take. Prior to the university seeking waivers, students would commonly take leaves of absence to avoid double charges while studying abroad, a habit that became concerning to the trustees.
“Dis-enrolling causes the student to be ‘off our radar’ and to be at risk for travel-related situations such as manmade or natural disasters and medical emergencies,” according to a statement accompanying the board agenda.
Mallory Conlin, a fourth-year in psychology, had wanted to study abroad in France, but won’t have the chance because she’s graduating in August.
“The cost held me back. It would save a lot of money if I didn’t have to pay the OSU tuition requirement,” she said.
Kacie Ziemann, a first-year in public affairs, said the changes could increase her chances of leaving the country.
“It’s an expensive semester. Definitely knowing that information helps me,” she said.
Ali Ross, a first-year in finance, is studying abroad during May Session and said the biggest roadblock preventing her from taking a longer trip is not the money, but the difficulty of staying on track with her degree.
“The tuition requirement is waived for Maymester. I didn’t want to do two months so 10 days was good. Maybe I’ll do longer eventually,” she said. “I’m iffy about it because it’s hard to get the same core requirements at other universities that are required for my major.”
The Board of Trustees is set to vote on the issue on Friday.