Our View-May Term revisions may be necessary

by Simpsonian Staff

Last year when the newly created Office of International Education instituted new policies on enrollment in May Term international travel courses, there were some kinks in the process. The deadlines for applications and the newly created, non-refundable deposit (or application fee, if that’s what you want to call it) were not widely announced, so students were taken by surprise when the deadlines were so sudden after the travel fair.

This year it seems that the same problems have popped up yet again. Some students were not sure how to fill out the application, and some were surprised about the short timeline for turning in applications and paying the $200 deposit.

On top of that, funding is also a problem this year. Students are having a hard time getting loans to cover their regular tuition, let alone a three-week trip that can cost in excess of $3,000. There’s always the option of getting a loan from the college if you haven’t already studied abroad while at Simpson. It’s a one-time loan for about $2,000. So financing these courses can be tough.

But in the interest of not dwelling on the negative, we have a couple of suggestions to help with some of the issues that always seem to come up.

First, to address the issue of problems filling out the applications and not knowing deadlines, why not hold a few informational sessions a couple of weeks before the travel fair and the application deadline to walk students through the process and inform them of the deposit and all the other policies? It would definitely help clear up any confusion.

Second, make the application materials more easily accessible to everyone. It shouldn’t be hard to find the materials online, but for some, it may be a real challenge.

It would also be great if the college could find some way to establish a scholarship fund specifically for Study Abroad to reward or help the students who really want or need to study abroad.

The scholarships wouldn’t have to be large sums, but as college students we all know that every little bit helps!