Study abroad is a college experience that allows students to study their field of interest in depth at a different college or in a different cultural setting. The possibilities are endless where students can study abroad, especially if the institution has an agreement with an organization that assists the process, like ENC does with Best Semester. Best Semester is an organization through the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities that offers twelve different study abroad options including Oxford, England, Tennessee, and Los Angeles.
Since ENC is part of the CCCU and our students are able to study abroad through their programs, the single question is, “Why don’t more students know about potential opportunities?” The answer is simple: money.
Sophomore History major Dan Compitiello is currently in the process of applying to the Best Semester program in Washington D.C. to study Political Science. According to Dan, the application process itself was easy, but the only thing that has kept his application on hold due to getting his transcripts.
“Since I have a balance on my account, I’m not able to get my transcript, [and] for that reason my application is considered incomplete,” Dan said.
Dan, alongside many other students, cite financial aid as a huge obstacle when considering studying abroad.
“My school scholarships wouldn’t transfer over to cover my study abroad, which would really set me back financially and it would really be a burden on my family,” Dan continued.
When studying abroad, the only aid that will transfer over is the Federal Aid, not the institutional aid.
ENC’s Bursar Melinda Vasquez explained that when a student studies abroad, Federal Aid is able to transfer because it is universal to the student. The institutional aid does not because it is specific to the school. The school aid is applied by credits based on the number of classes and the cost of those classes, which, at different institutions, varies.
Another major expense that is a significant factor in studying abroad is housing. The housing costs are different based on where the student studies, but in most cases students would have to take out a loan to cover room and board, as well as living expenses.
While this is an option for some, others cannot afford to take out more student loans, or have maxed out their aid. Additionally, ENC does not have a study abroad scholarship for which students could apply and receive financial support.
Perhaps a student, alumnus, or donor believes a study abroad scholarship should be offered. Let’s say you are a student who wants to study abroad is interested in creating a scholarship for yourself and for many students to come. In this case, according to the Institutional Advancement at ENC, you can help create an Established Annual Scholarship with the following steps:
First, contact the Development Office. From that point, there is paperwork to fill out and sign. Once the school receives the Scholarship Worksheet and an initial donation, the school will be entered into an official Scholarship Agreement. The signed agreement will be entered into the database and Financial Aid will be notified that the scholarship is established.
There is a timeline for funding your scholarship that you have to meet in order for it to be given to other students. When you express your desire to establish an annually funded scholarship, you are legally liable to raise the same amount of money per year. This is different than an endowment, which means that the scholarship would use the total amount of money you raise by dividing it equally per year.
ENC will make the award(s) based on how much you give to the scholarship by April 15 of each year and how many recipients you specify in the Scholarship Agreement.
For example, if you say that you would like the scholarship to be awarded to four students, and ENC has received $2,000 towards the scholarship by April 15, then ENC would award $500 to four different students for academic year 2015-2016. You can also specify if you would like the award amounts for each student to be of differing amounts as long as there is clear criteria for ENC to determine how to split the total award amount.
These are the steps you must take if you want to create a scholarship to help students who desire to study abroad. It requires fundraising on the part of the student, who is most likely already stressed with establishing their study abroad plans.
Not enough ENC students study abroad, but they should. College provides the ideal time for students to immerse themselves in another culture and walk in another person’s shoes. But, with limited financial aid options, very few students from ENC actually have that chance.
To put it simply, there needs to be a scholarship that can help students like Dan expand his learning experience by studying abroad. If a student wants to study abroad in Washington D.C. or China (both options with the CCCU Best Semester program), there should be financial support on behalf of the college. Studying abroad provides students with real-life experience and will prepare them for any future that they choose. They will look back on their time at college with a sense of individual growth on many levels, including traveling to a new city or country on their own in order to further their education and push their personal boundaries.