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Roughly same number of students studying abroad

The number of students studying abroad this semester is consistent with previous years, despite the economic downturn and a new policy requiring students to pay full Brown tuition.

Though this semester's enrollment of 254 students is down from last spring's record 315, overall participation has gone unchanged, said Kendall Brostuen, director of International Programs and an associate dean of the College.

During the fall of 2007, 213 students studied abroad, while 212 studied abroad last fall, Brostuen said.

Previously, students wishing to study abroad were required to pay full tuition if they were attending Brown-sponsored programs. Otherwise, they paid only the costs of their study abroad institution. Now, students must pay full Brown tuition for all programs, including Brown-approved alternative programs and petitioned alternative studies. The new policy was approved in 2005, and the class of 2010 is the first affected.

"It feels like being robbed," said Leticia Marquez '10, whose finances have been affected by the recession. But Marquez said she still plans to study abroad in Costa Rica next year.

The University has begun to institute more opportunities for students to study abroad over the summer, which may partly explain the lower enrollment this spring, Brostuen said.

The number of students opting to spend an entire year abroad has also been declining for the past ten years, he said, hesitating to attribute this decrease to the economic crisis. The reason could be that more semester-long programs are offered than year-long ones, he said.

Regardless of destination or length of time spent abroad, students can use their financial aid awards toward studying abroad, Brostuen said, adding that he would like all students to be able to study abroad with programs that best fit them.

"Cost should not be a primary factor," he said.

Student attitudes appeared to be consistent with this philosophy. Ivayla Ivanova '11 said she feels it is important to study abroad regardless of cost in order to experience other cultures firsthand and to see how foreign communities are dealing with the financial meltdown.

Ivanova, who plans to study in Denmark next year, said her program will cost the same as it would have before the new tuition policy took effect.


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