Community Colleges and Education Abroad
By Stacye Fraser Thompson
At the 2018 NAFSA conference in Philadelphia, a group of colleagues came together for an Open Meeting to discuss the opportunities and challenges related to education abroad at the community college level.
The highlights of this Open Meeting discussion included:
- Finding mechanisms to enable collaborative study abroad:
- School collaborations - Two or more institutions share the jointly-offered program. Each institution awards its own credit, but the cost-sharing allows for the program to meet minimum enrollments and support faculty travel.
- Consortiums - State-wide collaborative programs, including 2-year college system consortiums and state-wide systems shared between 2 and 4-year institutions (and some including K-12). Examples include:
- Partnerships- Partner with 4-year institutions to allow for cost effective programs and help meet minimum enrollments. Develop course articulation between 2-year institutions and also 2-year to 4-year institutions
- Developing and offering programs that appeal to community college students:
- Ensure that programs meet academic or career-related requirements. Consider partnering with community college equivalent institutions abroad.
- Service-learning, volunteer or other non-credit short-term international experiences may be more affordable for some students.
- Identify internship opportunities, particularly with international companies that may have a connection to the local community college, city, or state.
- Funding issues for community college students
- Financial Aid Offices may not be familiar with education abroad or have a dedicated staff member
- Community Colleges may not have the resources available to develop partnerships or know where to begin. Some advice from Open Meeting attendees included:
- Use reputable programs to help you develop faculty-led programs to targeted destinations
- Keep your price point manageable for students to participate
- Learn about options for Gilman or Boren Scholarships which give priority funding for Pell-eligible and community college students.
- Consider creative fundraising options through your institution (GoFundMe, special events, alumni collaboration, etc).
- Allow community members to participate in program at a higher program fee rate to subsidize student costs
The NAFSA Education Abroad Knowledge Community (EAKC) is seeking volunteers to join a Community College Task Force, to explore these issues in more detail and develop resources to support practitioners at the community college level. If you are interested in joining the Task Force, please contact Sarah Langston, EAKC Content Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org