1139914262.pngThe Office of International Programs often touts the consistency in tuition across its study abroad programs. No matter where in the world you go with a Georgetown program, you can be sure that your tuition will remain the same.

But what the Office of International Programs fails to mention is that tuition at many foreign universities costs much less than the consistent price Georgetown offers. For students who participate in programs that offer little on-site support from Georgetown staff, this policy is clearly disadvantageous.

Those studying at King’s College in London, for example, enroll directly in classes taught by King’s College professors. They study with other King’s College students and live in King’s College dorms. But, while the average student who enrolls independently in King’s College will pay around $10,092 per semester in tuition, a student enrolled through Georgetown will pay $19,884 per semester.

Similar discrepancies apply to students studying at Sciences Po in Paris, Queen’s University in Belfast and the Instituto Tecnologico de Estudios Superiores in Mexico, among others. Students who are interested in a direct enrollment program with little Georgetown support have to ask themselves: Why not just withdraw from the university for a semester and study abroad independently?

The answer is simple: Students who circumvent the university in order to save money on tuition fees may find it difficult to get credit for their coursework abroad. The process for transferring credit from a foreign institution — even one that hosts a Georgetown program — is cumbersome, with no guarantee that a student who went abroad independently will be successful in getting full credit for their work.

As a result, many students planning to study abroad are forced to choose between sacrificing a semester’s worth of credit and sacrificing a better tuition rate. Some students who go abroad for a full year will study independently for one semester, and enroll in a Georgetown-sponsored program for the second in order to get at least half a year of credit. Other students might choose to tie their independent study into further coursework upon their return to Washington, D.C.

But by and large, study abroad students who do not have enough room in their schedule to take a semester off must cough up full Georgetown tuition (minus financial aid), even when they enjoy little to no Georgetown services while overseas. Given all the additional costs of living abroad in pricey places such as England for four to 12 months, it seems unfair to charge students who enroll directly in foreign schools a much higher tuition than they would otherwise pay.

The university ought to adjust its study abroad rates to accurately reflect the tuition of foreign universities, as well as the level of Georgetown support students receive. Study abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that should not be tarnished by a disproportionate price tag.

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