Financing Lawrence Study Abroad

Of the five schools my son has been accepted to Lawrence is the only one at which financial aid does not apply to study abroad. He likes Lawrence quite a bit, but it is a little unsettling as a parent of a kid who really wants to study abroad to read that students have to apply for various study abroad scholarships in hopes of being able to afford to go. It is probably a deal breaker — on the one hand you have four schools at which you know all of your financial aid will apply to a semester or year abroad and on the other hand at Lawrence instead of that guarantee you have an entirely new scholarship process to go through involving Lawrence scholarships and outside scholarships. Good grief! But I personally think Lawrence could be a really good school for my kid. To get there and not be able to study abroad when his dream is to study in London and their main program is the London Centre… seems tailor made for him. Anybody been through the study abroad scholarship process at Lawrence? We are in the process of discussing this with several sources at Lawrence, but in the off chance a parent or student that has firsthand experience with this comes along I thought I would post the subject here.

From the Lawrence website:

We encourage you to look into potential funding sources outside of the usual aid you receive. The more creatively you think about potential funding sources and the more research you do into this, the more likely you will be to find funding support. There is no magic solution or definitive database of funding options so it’s up to you to search out different sources. There are lots of scholarships available for study abroad waiting for applicants. This page provides some suggestions for your search but you can also do your own internet search, consult various civic, social, or religious institutions (such as the Rotary Club), or check with your parents’ workplaces for possible scholarships.

My daughter is a senior at Lawrence and went to their London Centre last year. It’s a fantastic program and I can’t say enough good things about it. Having said that, it was a challenge to deal with the fact that the significant merit money she was awarded did not travel with her. She did apply for some outside scholarships but came up empty-handed. But you never know; your son may have better luck. Keep in mind that for many of these scholarships, your child is not only competing with Lawrence students but with college students from across the country. Anyway, in the end, she made it work with money she saved from summer work, work- study and gifts. The folks at Lawrence are always very happy to talk to families and I would encourage you to discuss your concerns with them. In the big picture, we have felt that the Lawrence experience has been so exceptional that it was worth a slight additional cost that one term.

Thank you for the reply. It is discouraging to hear this, but it was what I expected the case to be.

This issue is something we picked up on reasonably early in the selection process. I have no idea if my D15 will actually participate in a study abroad program, but the question about whether merit aid could be applied to those programs was one of our deciding questions. Lawrence ended up being her number 2 choice but the quarter system and the study abroad conditions were a major reason she chose elsewhere. She ended up at Beloit.

@MrMicawber I feel your pain. My S has committed to Lawrence despite this “shortcoming” and I am very concerned about it. That said, it was his choice, and he still chose Lawrence. My S will be studying Japanese and possibly even choosing Linguistics as a major. I feel like it is critical for him to spend st least a year abroad in order to become fluent, but I don’t necessarily think he needs to “study” abroad. I am not counting on the scholarships, but we have significant financial need, so I will be encouraging him to spend a year in Japan after graduation–either working as an English teacher, or as a volunteer with an organization such as Volunteers for Peace, which is a bit like the Peace Corps. The latter provides a stipend. I wish I had noticed this post earlier. It is nearly May 1 now so I’ll bet your son has already decided–and what DID he decide? For the record I think my son will want to do a semester in London too–he’s a huge Premier League fan and they apparently take a class in the history of British futbol at the London Centre. No idea how we’ll fund it, but I’m hoping he can save his income from summer employment. I actually assumed that merit money traveled with the student for the one program the university itself administers! I can understand why a school wouldn’t want to essentially pay another school for the student to attend, but since they have their own faculty and staff in London, that is really surprising and disappointing.

@Basbleu As much as he/we liked Lawrence the lack of financial aid for study abroad was a significant factor in ultimately choosing not to attend. He is a passionate student of English history and politics, and undoubtedly would have loved the London Centre. I agree it certainly is disappointing. I hope this situation changes at Lawrence in the future. I did not realize this was the case when researching colleges and making visits. As much as I thought Lawrence was likely a great fit for my son, had I known we probably wouldn’t have pursued it. I know Lawrence is a great school, and I am sure its many strengths outweigh this factor for many students.

My daughter is a recent Lawrence grad. She received merit aid only, so financing study abroad was a concern. She studied in Spain for a semester, at a Lawrence approved program. Study abroad programs that are approved by Lawrence, but not run by the college, can be quite affordable. She also received a non need based grant from the study abroad office at Lawrence. The total cost of her semester abroad was almost exactly what she would have paid for a trimester on campus. And she came home with a semester’s worth of credits, instead of just the fall trimester on campus. So, while it would have been a stretch to afford a trimester at Lawrence’s London Center, her semester in Spain turned out to be affordable.

My daughter and husband met with financial aid regarding this prior to our daughter accepting the offer of admission. I do believe the above mentioned concerns are being addressed by the University. I do not anticipate any trouble with study abroad. Before making a decision about Lawrence, I would encourage you to contact the financial aid folks. They were quite helpful.

Update: During my son’s freshman year at Lawrence he befriended a girl who wanted to spend the following summer in Japan. They are now wrapping up a two month stint in Japan, which they mostly spent working on organic farms, arranged via the WWOOF organization. Although study abroad would have been nice (and who knows, maybe he can still do that) —I’ll bet he learned a lot more from this experience where he had more agency and met so many people from around the world. So no, he was not able to apply his financial aid to study abroad, but for whatever reason, enrolling at Lawrence led to a life-altering international experience all the same. Go with your gut. “Study abroad” isn’t everything, and there are other economical ways to see the world. Just a thought.

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Anyone applying for 2019+ might already be aware of this, but just in case this thread confuses someone, starting in the 2019-2020 academic year, all institutional scholarships and financial aid will travel with students when they study abroad.

My daughter (class of 2023) is taking her first visit to Lawrence this coming weekend (2/17-2/18)