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Opinion: Ohio State’s study abroad tuition fix too little too late

OSU student Michele Theodore stands at a bullfighting ring in Pamplona, Spain, during the annual festival of San Fermin while she studied abroad in 2013.

OSU student Michele Theodore stands at a bullfighting ring in Pamplona, Spain, during the annual festival of San Fermin while she studied abroad in 2013.

Have you ever been utterly betrayed?

I’m talking the kind of betrayed where you feel like your heart was tied up to the end of a monster truck and dragged around. The kind of betrayed where suddenly the world seems less beautiful because people can be so ugly.

I have — and it cost me thousands of dollars.

I came to Ohio State for many reasons, but one of the most important was that I knew the university was well-known for its study abroad programs. I dreamed about studying abroad for years before I ever came to college and last summer, my dream came true. I had the opportunity to study in Spain and I wouldn’t change a single thing about it.

That is, until the Board of Trustees reared its ugly head.

Friday, the Board approved a measure to be recommended to the Ohio Board of Regents that students would no longer have to pay tuition to OSU when they study abroad and instead would only have to pay a $400 fee. Seems obvious, right?

Why should a student have to pay tuition to both their host university and their school back in the states?

I’ve been there. I worked an entire summer scraping roadkill and watching paint dry to scrape (quite literally) together the money to pay for both tuitions and I still had to take a loan out.

In the long run, I don’t regret it. I’m a Spanish major and I wanted to be sure my classes taken abroad would transfer exactly because the university can be picky about what classes can count for major requirements.

But it’s extremely frustrating to watch the Board vote on a measure that would have prevented me from taking out the loan. If I would have known, maybe I would have waited to study abroad.

If I would have known, I would have saved thousands of dollars.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome for all the students out there who have yet to study abroad. A few board members at the meeting even said they proposed waiving the fee — meaning students wouldn’t have to pay anything to OSU.

That’s great, but what about all the money the university got from students who already abroad? How can the Board approve a measure that will allow students to study abroad for only a few hundred dollars — or even without OSU costs at all? What will happen to the thousands of dollars (if not hundreds of thousands of dollars) brought in each year from students studying abroad?

The money has to come from somewhere and I don’t know where yet.

What I do know is that I trusted OSU and it cost me.


  1. Hm, OSU betrayed you? I mean, I would have loved this to have passed before I studied abroad, but it wouldn’t have effected my decision too much. When I spent a semester overseas I made a financial intelligent plan, worked with my advisor, and technically took a semester off OSU to attend a different university. Yes, the transfer of credits can always be tricky, but if you work with an advisor to get courses pre-approved it makes the process easier.

    Essentially, I just ended up with K credit, which works almost the same as regular credit. You paid both tuitions to get credit (just like me) and just because you took x class abroad doesn’t mean it counts towards y class at OSU regardless of situations. There’s plenty of programs on the web to figure out what transfers and can really help with selecting a study abroad program.

  2. Wow to be young and overly dramatic!!! Betrayal is siting on a school bus complaining about traffic and a helicopter flies overhead I start complaining again just to learn my 13yr old sister was killed getting off a school bus. My family was “betrayed” so again Michele you’re young but something tells me ten years from now a GREAT trip to Spain where you might have had to pay a few thousand dollars will be the least of “life’s betrayals!” My heart was destroyed by a monster truck (how ironic this is what hit my baby sis) and will never heal (what about a parent who buried a child?).

  3. Oh the helicopter was carrying my sis mangled body. As far as I was concerned she died when she was hit in front of the elementary school we all attended. Our former teachers and my baby bro (kids got him out of the school to show him her body) saw something they will never forget. RIP!

  4. I’m studying abroad in the spring in Spain. I was told I have the option to no pay tuition to Ohio State and only to the third party which I am going abroad with, but my credits will come back a K (transfer credit) like the other person who commented. Have they changed it so with the $400 I can get my GPA to transfer and not just transfer credits? Or is the $400 just what must be paid if you opt out of OSU tuition and pay the third party?

  5. The people here crack me up with their comments. Calm down everyone, no need to get vicious.

    I definitely get where you are coming from. It’s annoying that OSU is making this change so late in the game, you would think this would have been common sense years ago. As nice as the policy changes will be, it sucks to not have been a part of it.

  6. What does someone getting hit by a car have to do with studying abroad? What are these comments? I seriously don’t understand what’s going on.

  7. You wanted to go to Spain, you made sacrifices and got to make the trip. You haven’t been betrayed, you’ve had your entitlement bubble popped…WELCOME TO REALITY. life is tough, get a helmet. If this is how you feel about having to pay your own way for the trip of a lifetime, wait til those student loans come due and you’re trying to pay them on entry level salary. Buck up!

  8. It’s not about her having to pay her own way; it’s about OSU having a crappy policy. Why on earth did students ever have to pay tuition fees when they didn’t step foot on campus that semester, and were paying for classes elsewhere? The majority of colleges don’t have this policy.

    Given, it’s not as though the author got duped–she knew exactly what she was in for. The lesson is to read the fine print. Tons of colleges (including the one I went to) offer study abroad programs for the exact same cost as a regular semester, and should transfer all of your scholarships and credits easily.

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