Home School Tuition Bolsters Participation in Study Abroad Programs
Providence, R.I. — More Providence College students are studying abroad this academic year than ever before, thanks to a new policy that allows their financial aid to travel with them.
Adrian G. Beaulieu, dean of the Center for International Studies, said 229 students chose to study abroad this year, an increase of 40 percent over the 163 students who were abroad the previous academic year. The number of countries increased as well, from 20 to 27, with students studying for the first time in Bolivia, Japan, Lebanon, and Morocco.
The new Home School Tuition policy, which took effect in September, allows students studying outside the country to pay their tuition to Providence College, minus scholarships and other financial assistance. Previously, students paid tuition set by a study abroad program provider, usually a college, university, or nonprofit organization.
Being able to apply financial aid to study abroad “clearly has made the difference for a lot of students, and the numbers are bearing that out,” said Beaulieu. “One of our guiding principles is to make study abroad an integral part of the academic experience for our students.”
Courtney Halloran ’13 (Lakeville, Mass.) took advantage of the Home School Tuition policy when she traveled to Costa Rica last semester to study its health care system.
Knowing her full-tuition scholarship to PC would still apply made the decision to travel “an easier choice,” Halloran said. “It cost my parents hardly anything for me to go, because my scholarship transferred.”
Halloran, who is considering a career as a physician’s assistant or a nurse practitioner, called her experience abroad “amazing” and “awesome.” She worked in local clinics, went door-to-door offering health care education, and studied Spanish, tropical medicine, and global health, and the biology of native plants and animals. She also traveled to Nicaragua.
“I learned not only from the culture I was immersed in, the country and its people, but also met people from all over the United States that had different experiences and perceptions than I had,” Halloran said. “It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen or done before.”
After a semester in Madrid, Christian E. Selinski ’13 (Lutherville, Md.) understands the benefits of studying abroad. A double major in Spanish and biology, he always knew he would study in another country, but being able to use his financial aid package “made a difference,” he said.
“This made it that much easier for myself and my class as a whole to take advantage of the study abroad experience,” Selinksi said.
Selinski lived with a host family in Madrid. During his semester abroad he was able to attend Oktoberfest in Munich and reunite with other PC students studying in Europe.
Encouraging study abroad
Increasing the number of students who study abroad is a goal of the College’s Strategic Plan, which sets a goal of 30 percent participation. Beaulieu said about 25 percent of PC students are studying abroad this academic year, and the 30 percent goal will be reached next year.
In addition to the Home School Tuition policy, PC is encouraging study abroad through Diversity Scholarship Grants offered in partnership with Sovereign Bank/Santander Universities. “Under-represented students” — including first-generation college students and those with physical disabilities or high financial need — are encouraged to apply, Beaulieu said.
Wherever in the world students choose to study, the experience will be a good one, Selinski added.
“You become very independent. You learn that you can live by yourself, you can move somewhere and get to know that place,” Selinksi said. “You meet new people and learn a language that isn’t your own. And you get to know the world, looking at the United States from the outside in. You get a deeper understanding of what it means to be an American.”
— Vicki-Ann Downing