Students can now request their financial situation be reviewed to possibly reduce the application fee for study abroad through a Google form.
SGA President Daniel Sherman and Vice President Amy Brock brought up this issue to the Study Abroad office. This was because of a discussion in SGA from a senator about the application fee.
“It is a topic that we have discussed in our office for a number of years,” Stephen Shewmaker, executive director of ACU Study Abroad, said, “It’s about wanting to provide as much opportunity and access to students as possible.”
The application fee is common for study abroad programs as they can be used to measure how serious students are about applying. ACU study abroad does not anticipate waving the application fee but reducing it for students in unique circumstances.
“It is just as likely to be students who, in the moment, can’t afford the full application fee,” Shewmaker said. “There will be greater internal funding for study abroad with the next fundraising campaign for these students as well”
In 2020, with no active study abroad programs, the study abroad office made a scholarship guide of internal and external scholarships. Low-income students who cannot afford study abroad costs can look for scholarships in the new guide as well as reducing the application fee.
“We never want to get a student where they are abroad and they can’t afford it,” Cassidy Miller, study abroad coordinator, said. “Our goal is to get students to come talk to us about studying abroad and not deciding by themselves that they can’t afford it.”
With the Google form and scholarships, low-income students and students who cannot afford the application fee are encouraged to talk to Shewmaker and Miller. There are still spots open for the fall and spring study abroad programs.
“We hope that students who felt like the application fee was a hurdle can now apply,” Shewmaker said. “Ultimately, students who would have self selected out of studying abroad would end up going abroad.”