The University will likely soon unveil additions to undergraduate financial aid that would provide students currently receiving aid with funding to cover the costs of summer study abroad programs, Yale College Dean Peter Salovey said Monday.
If discussions among top administrators continue to move forward, Salovey said, the final details will likely be ironed out as early as February — just as Yale students are finalizing their summer plans. The idea that all students, including those on financial aid, should be able to participate in costly foreign study opportunities was first articulated in the Committee for Yale College Education’s 2003 curriculum review. But discussions became “especially serious” last summer, when the University developed plans to bolster study abroad options in nations such as India and China, he said.
“Given the ways that Yale students plan their education, the summer is going to be an important time for these opportunities, whether they’re credit-bearing or internships,” Salovey said. “We are now attempting to work out an appropriate way of providing financial aid for these opportunities.”
Currently Yale does not provide any need-based financial aid to students studying overseas during the summer months, although the University does fund study abroad options during the academic year for financial aid students.
The administration is now soliciting ideas about ways to implement such an aid program from a variety of standing committees on international education, admissions and financial aid, and a new committee on programs in China that Salovey appointed in November. But Yale’s top administrators will make final budgetary decisions, Salovey said.
“It’s going to take a coordinated effort between the provost, president and dean,” he said.
The total cost of funding summer study abroad for financial aid students has not yet been determined, Salovey said. Although officials have not yet identified a source of the funding, Salovey said he thinks this would be an “attractive gift opportunity” for alumni and major donors of the University.
“It’s going to be one of our fund raising priorities, and I believe that’s a widely-shared view,” Salovey said.
Spanish and Portuguese professor Mercedes Carreras said she thinks the proposed aid will benefit students who might be deterred from studying abroad during the summer because of the associated costs.
“I think that whatever is meant to increase everyone’s financial possibilities is always good because it may be the case that some students are a little discouraged,” Carreras said. “If the administration is willing to help them more I think that is a very good idea. Whatever is meant to help students, I am always for that.”
Kerri Price ’07, who said she has never been outside of Ohio during the summer due to financial constraints, is one student who could benefit from the change under consideration. Price said she would welcome any changes that would make it financially easier for her to travel abroad over the summer.
“Just going home and working for my grocery store in Ohio doesn’t prepare me in any shape or form in preparing for the intellectual challenges at Yale,” Price said. “An international experience will give me a way to get out of a podunk town in Ohio.”