New York AG Investigates Northwestern

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For college students, studying abroad can be a terrific way to expand their horizons and include that experience on their resume. Many corporations are looking for students who have international experience along with a good grip of a second language, tools that are very helpful in the global marketplace — a summer spent at the Sarbonne or a junior year studying in Bonn can be just what corporate recruiters want job candidates to have.

A Conflict Of Interest?

Overseas program providers understand the appeal of studying abroad and often work with universities to encourage their students to join these programs. Unfortunately, as in the case of Northwestern University, a conflict can arise especially when the program provider offers cash or other perks to university employees or to the school itself as alleged by the New York State Attorney General’s office. The state of New York is investigating Northwestern University and the ramifications of this query could be far reaching. Before you consider studying abroad, let’s take a look at the potential problems with study-abroad programs.

You’ve done very well the first two years of college, but you understand that you need an edge in the highly competitive workforce once your graduate. Your 3.4 GPA alone may not be good enough to get you noticed, but you believe your French language skills could spell the difference. Unfortunately, French isn’t commonly spoken where you live and the only way to improve your skills would be to spend time abroad honing your language skills. Montreal and Quebec are appealing — and priced just right — but frigid winter weather isn’t your cup of tea. While standing outside of the student center recently, you did notice the colorful poster explaining how you could spend your junior year abroad in Lyons, France and the thought of immersing yourself in French culture and language stokes your interest. You copy down the web address and promise yourself that you will check out the site the next time you log on to your PC.

Northwestern Under Investigation

Northwestern University, like hundreds of other citadels of higher learning, actively encourages their students to expand their horizons. One way they are doing just that is by making arrangements with study-abroad program providers to offer these options to their students. Andrew Cuomo, the Attorney General for New York, has a problem with that. As part of his investigation into ten such programs, Cuomo is attempting to learn if Northwestern received funds from the providers — the school says they have, but those monies are used to provide tuition assistance for students — and whether university employees received cash, discounts or free trips for steering students their way.

Along with Northwestern, Cuomo’s office is investigating Brandeis, Harvard and other universities to learn how their programs are set up. Critics of study-abroard programs say that schools limit choice and drive up student costs when working with a select group of providers. According to the Chicago Tribune, which is following the investigation, Cuomo and others want schools to fully disclose their relationships with study-abroad providers.

SayCampusLife will keep up with New York’s investigation and follow up with updated information once it has become known.

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