Campus limits study abroad offerings because of poor demand

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    A summer study abroad program in London has been cancelled, the latest in a string of eight terminated programs scheduled for this summer, a university official said.

    “The History of the Industrial Revolution in London,” a summer study abroad course, is one of the programs that has recently been cancelled due to low enrollment, said Jane Kucko, director for the Center for International Studies. This was the first time the program was offered through the university.

    Kucko said that in previous years, three to four summer programs were cancelled due to low enrollment, and that the economy could be a contributing factor in this year’s increase in the number of cancelled programs.

    Tracy Williams, associate director of the Center for International Studies, said she is not certain that the economy was the driving factor for the decrease in enrollment. It could be that not enough students knew about the course, she said. The economy could be affecting enrollment, although the dollar-pound exchange rate is at one of the lowest it has ever been, making it relatively inexpensive to travel this summer, she said.

    Williams said she has heard feedback from students that students are planning to go abroad for a semester rather than a summer. Students can use their financial aid and scholarship money to study abroad, Williams said. Because of this, it costs about the same amount to study abroad for a semester as it does to stay on campus for a semester, she said.

    Kucko said that even though eight programs have been cancelled, 13 are set to go this summer, with healthy levels of enrollment. These courses are typically the ones that have a long history, she said. The slight drop in enrollment rates is not unique to the university, and many of Kucko’s colleagues from other universities across the country have expressed that they have also had to cancel more programs than usual, she said.

    Williams said only one person had enrolled in “The History of the Industrial Revolution in London,” which was designed to investigate the world’s transition from a pre-industrial to an industrial economy, focusing specifically on developments in England.

    Harrison Smith, a junior economics major, who was the only student to enroll in the course, said he was disappointed when the program was cancelled, because he had been looking forward to studying in another country and having the time to travel overseas.

    “Since I am a junior, I am afraid my study abroad opportunities are disappearing quickly,” he said.

    When programs are cancelled, Kucko said, the center contacts each student and offers to redirect him or her to another program. About 50 percent of the students choose to redirect to another program, while others had their hearts set on the particular course or could not fulfill the same core or major requirements by entering another program, she said.