The University of Iowa

In the news: University of Iowa considers study abroad fee--$30 charge for all undergraduates could generate $770,000 for scholarships

October 11th, 2018

The Pentacrest on the campus of the University of Iowa including the Old Capitol Building (center), Macbride Hall (top left), Jessup Hall (bottom left), Schaeffer Hall (top right), and MacLean Hall (bottom right) in an aerial photograph in Iowa City on Wednesday, May 14, 2014. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

By Vanessa Miller, The Gazette

IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa is weighing an idea to charge all undergraduates an extra $30 a year to encourage more of them to study abroad.

The fee, if ultimately approved by UI leadership and the Board of Regents, would generate about $770,000 a year. That would boost study abroad support about 66 percent, according to Downing Thomas, associate provost and dean of International Programs.

“Unlike any other fee, 100 percent of the revenue would go back to students in the form of scholarships,” he told faculty leaders this week in presenting the idea.

It would add to the $1,496.50 in mandatory fees the UI already charges its nearly 24,000 undergrads for things like technology, student health and recreation.

At $15 a semester, or $30 for an academic year, it’s on the lower end of the fee schedule. Students pay a $507 technology fee, a $292 recreation fee and a $237 health fee. But fees add to the cost of a higher education, and regents already have approved several rounds of tuition increases.

Annual tuition and fees for UI resident undergrads this fall total a combined $9,266.50. Adding in room and board and other expenses, the estimated cost to attend the UI is $22,101.50.

Thomas, while presenting Tuesday to the UI Faculty Council, was careful to note the proposal hasn’t been approved by UI leadership or its governing board.

But the hope, he said, is to increase study abroad participation — which has been shown to improve collegiate outcomes — by offering more scholarships to those who qualify based on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.