Correction: The article’s original headline read “State Cuts EAP Funds.” In actuality, the UC Office of the President directly determines EAP’s budget. The Nexus regrets this error.
University of California students enrolling in the Education Abroad Program during the coming years will face program fees that could cost more than the price of UC tuition.
State funding for EAP is expected to be cut by almost $3 million over the next three years — from $4.1 million this year to $1.3 million in the 2013-14 term. In response, the program will be instituting two major fee hikes during its five-year budget plan, with a base fee increase affecting all EAP participants and certain programs charging an additional $1,000 to $1,500. These fee hikes come on top of the general 32 percent tuition increase levied on all UC undergraduates — including those studying abroad — by the Board of Regents this year.
Susan Berg Arnold, UCSB’s associate director of EAP, said the programs have traditionally been advertised as near to the cost of a semester at a UC, although this trend may be shifting.
“That’s what we’ve been able to say in the past, that students pay the same [program] fees,” Berg Arnold said. “The difference between different programs [costs] is in the airfare and living expenses.”
While this number may vary, Berg Arnold noted, so that a student travelling to London, for example, can expect to pay more due to high living costs in the country than one travelling to Budapest, there has traditionally not been an inordinate price differentiation between attending a UC and enrolling in a EAP study abroad program.
According to an anonymous second-year bio-psych major, the new fee increases will be a severe detriment to students hoping to study abroad.
“I was told that the price of going abroad was going to be significantly less than staying in Santa Barbara,” the student said. “It’s not fair that we were told this and in actuality now know it’s going to be more expensive to travel abroad.”
Between tuition and program fee increases, Paige Newman, a second-year business economics major, said many students are outraged.
“It’s ridiculous,” Newman said. “Students are trying to get away from the fee increases by studying abroad and are going to be trapped staying at UCSB, where their tuition is also going to be raised.”
In the current fiscal climate, UC officials said the UC Office of the President simply does not have the funds to allocate to EAP.
Early last month, Daniel Greenstein, vice provost for Academic Planning, Programs and Coordination at the UCOP, told The Aggie — UC Davis’ student newspaper — that he predicts participation in EAP system-wide will drop from 4,500 to 4,000 individuals due to the increased costs.
“Everybody should be able to have an opportunity to study abroad,” the student said. “To know that this might be out of reach for a lot of individuals because of budget cuts is very disappointing.”
However, according to Colenn Berracasa, a fourth-year global studies major and EAP intern, financial aid opportunities may make the program still accessible to most.
“It’s important to note the financial aid that people get transfers abroad,” Berracasa said. “It gets adjusted depending on the cost of the [specific] program.”