Why Are Out of State Students Paying More to Study Abroad?

Emily Margeson emarg634@uwsp.edu

Many students take advantage of study abroad programs and have life- changing adventures. Most of time, cost is not brought up when students describe their time abroad.

I was part of a group last winter while abroad in Peru with Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This class was three credits and everyone involved had to follow guidelines and complete assignments to achieve full credit.

Upon starting classes this fall as a full time student at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, I looked into abroad experiences that would be available. I was surprised at how many more opportunities were offered here compared to Kirkwood.

One big let down to all the choices was that they all had added fees for out of state students. For short-term experiences, out of state students pay around $250 more than students that are Wisconsin residents. Semesters abroad usually cost around $1000 more.

I had never thought that studying abroad would be so expensive, but after speaking with Mark Koepke, associate director of international programs, it made more sense.

“In recent years the UW System gave universities the ability to set the cost for study abroad programs for out of state students,” Koepke said. “Before it had to be the same cost as out of state tuition on campus.”

I am glad that the costs finally changed to be more affordable even though some of the extra fees are still in place.

“The justification of this all is that the extra money out of state students pay goes to help lower the cost of

Wisconsin residents,” Koepke said. “It’s basically all about who pays taxes in this state.”

All of the extra costs make more sense to me now, but I’m still curious as to how much more residents would pay if everyone added a little more to their bill and it was an even cost.

Since I am an out of state student, this affects me more than Wisconsin residents. I would like to think that paying the extra money for the semesters that are studied on campus would be enough to cover that extra money needed for studying abroad.

Since the extra cost is there, making an even number for all students would be ideal. I’ve noticed in many of my classes there usually are at most three students from out of state. This makes me think that there would not be that many people from out of state on study abroad programs.? If there were only four out of 20 students on a short-term experience, they each would pay $250 more than the other students. If this was distributed to all students, it would cost everyone in the program $50 more than the normal cost.

The extra $50 may seem like quite a bit of money to a college student. When you are thinking in terms of how much the whole program would cost, $50 is a small fraction.

I am very pleased that the International Programs Department has tried to lower the costs and has made it much more fair than it used to be. Being an out of state student just makes me want to see if the costs could be more evenly distributed because of the extra tuition costs for on campus learning.? 

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