Adios study abroad fee

The Study Abroad Fee has been sent packing.

“After thinking about it, this was not the most appropriate way to fund Study Abroad scholarships,” said Ken Kline, Northern Kentucky University’s budget director.

The $5 charge, which NKU implemented this semester to generate an estimated $45,000 for Study Abroad scholarships, was paid by all undergraduate students. To reimburse students, NKU will credit their accounts this semester.

“If your credit exceeds $20, (the bursar) will send you a check,” Kline said. Students who will not be returning next semester will get a check at the end of the 2009 semester.

The Student Government Association originally proposed the fee in 2006, according to SGA President Gabe Cronon, as one of several ways of expanding funds for Study Abroad. A survey where students expressed interest in international study prompted SGA to pass the resolution, Cronon said.

The university did not, however, apply the fee then because it discovered other funding avenues.

With the impending budget crunch, however, Kline said that NKU decided to implement the fee.

That caused a backlash from students. Cronon said that he personally received between 30 and 50 complaints, though he said that “it was actually a small number.”

Nevertheless, Kline said that he did not know what, specifically, prompted the rescinding of the fee, noting that the decision was made at the executive level. Still, he said NKU “will revisit the issue in the budget process this year.”

Study Abroad will still receive $45,000, thanks to other aspects of the budget garnering more money than anticipated. However, it is not recurring, Kline said.

“It’s a one-time investment,” he said. “Essentially, we provide temporary funding and then we’ll discuss the issue for the following year.”

Cronon said that SGA is considering adding a referendum to the ballot, so that all students will be able to vote on it.

“You’re always going to have opposition to everything,” he said. “Whenever you assess a fee, you have people adamantly against it and people adamantly for it.”