LETTER: Unnecessary expenses
U.Va., stop trying to profit at the expense of your students
A recent editorial mentioned the value of studying abroad and what U.Va. can do to increase the number of students able to participate in such programs. However, it neglected to address the barriers the University itself imposes.
As a fourth-year student, I had always wanted to study abroad and finally found a way to do so via a J-term class. Unfortunately, the University did not offer any classes that would count toward my major, so I decided to go on a two-week program sponsored by George Mason University instead. I contacted my advisor and got approval for the class, paid the program cost to GMU, filled out all my health forms, renewed my passport and was all ready to go.
As I dropped off my form at the study abroad office, I was then slapped in the face with an additional $490. This added an almost 10 percent increase to the cost of my program. I was told it covered the costs associated with transferring the credits over and vetting the legitimacy of the program.
The University regularly accepts transfer credit from George Mason University, another Virginia public college. It does not charge a $400 fee to do so. The course I am taking is taught by a GMU professor and the syllabus was vetted by University faculty here. It seemed I was being charge this fee purely because the class was taught abroad.
If the University truly wants their students to benefit from study abroad opportunities, they should stop trying to get a piece of the pie and make it as easy (and inexpensive) as possible to do so.