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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

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SGA proposes fee increase to fund study abroad scholarships


UH student Isabella Serimontrikul grabs photos during her study abroad excursion. Courtesy of Melinda Taylor/The Daily Cougar

SGA is proposing an increase in learning abroad fees in order to increase study abroad scholarships. | File photo/The Cougar

Students preparing to study abroad may soon get some extra help.

The Student Government Association had the first reading of SGAB-52001 Tier One Learning Abroad Initiative, which is proposing an increase to study abroad fees.

The initiative proposes increase the learning abroad fee to $1 per student per credit hour, meaning that a student who takes 15 credit hours will be charged $15 for that semester. The funds would go to a pool of monies that would help fund study abroad scholarships.

The current fee of $1 per student has been in effect since 2001 and has decreased the value of the learning abroad scholarship fee by 24.2 percent since then, according to the bill.

UH-Downtown and UH-Clear Lake charge their students $5 and $2 per student per semester, while other Tier One universities like the University of Texas and Texas A&M University charge study abroad fees exponentially higher than UH, according to engineering senator Clint Kirchhoff.

Former SGA Vice President Erica Tat, who co-authored the bill with Kirchhoff, said that the current $1 per student fee is “insufficient” to fund scholarships.

A push in study abroad initiatives comes after Provost Paula Myrick Short approved a $200,000 increase in funds to be allocated toward study abroad programs. The funds currently stand at approximately $300,000 a year.

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