Compensation for Fall Study Abroad Intended to Address Housing Shortage
In recent years, the number of students studying abroad has remained consistent with around 350-370 students departing for at least a semester each year. Despite consistent yearend numbers, close to 70% are of students have been choosing the spring semester to go abroad. Skidmore has been increasingly concerned about these ratios and has announced that students who choose to go abroad in fall of 2017 will be given 1,600 dollars.
This money is not tied to those with financial need, as the “stipend is a way for us to encourage students to consider fall [study abroad] in hopes that we will shift the culture a bit so that students will start understand the benefits of fall abroad,” said Cori Filson, Director, Off-Campus Study and Exchanges (OCSE). The stipend is part of a larger ongoing campaign. OCSE has touted Fall semesters abroad as an easier way to prepare for summer internships, easier on-campus housing and Skidmore course selection due to less competition because many classmates will be abroad, and students have been told they could have the option to extend their stay for the whole year. There is also less stress for students as they have more time to make their travel preparations because they do it during summer break. Posters have been hung across campus promoting fall study abroad and a website has also been created. The Office of Off Campus Study and Exchange (OCSE) is also working with faculty so they can talk to their advisees about fall study abroad and with parents, who they hope could then talk to their children about it over break. In order to make fall study abroad academically possible for everyone, OCSE is working with departments to make sure students do not have academic constraints preventing them from being able to study abroad in the Fall.
Past OCSE efforts to change enrollment patterns have not included monetary incentives, and have not gained much traction. The office does not want to force anyone to go abroad in any particular semester. “I believe in offering students opportunities in helping them choose the best opportunity for themselves,” said Filson. In no way is OCSE trying to get all students to study abroad in the Fall, they just want to balance out the numbers in hopes of helping solve the housing shortage.
Filson told the Skidmore News last spring, “I have been discussing this imbalance with the Dean of Faculty’s Office, Res Life and the Registrar’s for about two years now. The imbalance obviously affects housing on campus; it also can affect class offerings on campus and the overall finical planning for the college.”
Cerri Banks, Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs, in a September meeting with the Skidmore News, reemphasized that incentives for going abroad in the Fall were being looked at in order to balance already greatly stressed housing loads. Overall, “as an institution Skidmore believes that off campus study in general is an integral part of what we want for our students,” said Filson.
As of now, the monetary incentives for going abroad in the fall are only being offered for Fall 2017.
Photo provided by Cori Filson.