WSC wins higher travel budget

Registration for the travel courses of the 2011 Winter Study Program (WSP) is underway, bringing another round of January travel opportunities for upperclassmen at the College. This year, 10 different travel courses were approved and funded, ranging from domestic studies in immigration and policing in Texas to the impact of global crises and policy measures in South Africa.

A new WSP travel course available for the January term is titled “Drawing and Painting in Egypt.” Students will create and study art in the Upper Egypt Nile Valley, tour the East and West Bank temples, examine tomb paintings and explore different aspects of the Theban landscape.

Students will also work with Egyptian students from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Luxor.

To cover the added travel costs of these courses, the College will offer financial aid to those in need.

According to Candace Marlow, assistant director of Financial Aid, any preexisting aid recipient will receive 50-90 percent of their total trip cost. This policy for WSP travel has been in effect since January 2001.

The allocation of aid is specific to each student and is calculated using a simple formula. The percentage of annual expenses to attend the College covered through a student’s financial aid package is the same percentage of aid allocated to the student to reimburse Winter Study travel.

For example, if a student receives 55 percent of his annual College expenses through financial aid, 55 percent of the student’s total trip cost will be covered.

“We wanted to have both the most diverse variety of courses available to students and the most diverse population of students able to take advantage of these courses,” said Olga Beaver, professor of mathematics and the chair of the Winter Study Committee (WSC).

In 2010, a total of 71 students were given financial aid for a WSP travel course. Thirty-five students received 90 percent of their travel costs in financial aid, 11 received 80-89 percent, 10 received 70-79 percent, five received 60-69 percent and 10 received 50-59 percent.

The 2011 budget for Winter Study travel is slightly larger than that for 2010, though the 2010 budget was considerably smaller than that of 2009 due to overall College budget cuts.

Additionally, Winter Study travel applications have become more competitive over the last few years because of tighter caps on course enrollment.

Beaver believes that the WSC received more money this year because the administration “really understands and supports the pedagogical philosophy behind this program.”
“It offers an incredible travel experience for students who, among other things, often cannot take their junior year abroad,” Beaver said.

For example, one of the oldest and most popular WSP trips available this January is “Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths, Many Narratives,” which has been offered to students every other year since 2003. During the first half of Winter Study, students will read and engage in class discussion and study works like Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain. Students will then spend Jan. 17 to Jan. 27 in Jerusalem exploring the Christian, Jewish and Muslim history that has shaped the city.

Full descriptions of all travel courses, application materials or financial aid information can be found online. The deadline to submit the application for a WSP travel course is 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 30.