When President Jeff Herbst joined Colgate, one of the first students who came to see him asked for advice about working for a non-governmental organization in Africa. Yet, for two reasons she had never been to the region: Colgate offered no such study group opportunity, and her financial aid package was not portable to non-Colgate programs.

From that moment, Herbst decided to help all Colgate students become more competitive in their quest for global work, regardless of their financial situation.

Last spring, Colgate faculty adopted a new approved programs/portable aid policy that will allow students, beginning with the Class of 2016, to carry over their financial aid when studying abroad on a Colgate-approved program that better meets their academic interests than one of Colgate’s own faculty-led study groups.

Meanwhile, Herbst announced an interim portable aid initiative — in effect for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years — that is funded by the president’s office.

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The interim program applies to approved non-Colgate programs in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and other non-traditional study abroad destinations, such as the Balkans or former Soviet States.

“The main purpose of the program is to provide our aided students with the same opportunities for off-campus study as are available to full-pay students, particularly in destinations outside of Western Europe,” said Herbst. “We believe so strongly in the importance of this that rather than waiting two years for Colgate’s new policy on home school tuition/portable aid to go into effect, we are making funds available to make this happen now.”

Colgate continues to be ranked highly compared to its peers in terms of the number of students who study outside the United States. According to 2010 Open Doors data published by the Institute of International Education, Colgate placed second among baccalaureate institutions for the number of students abroad for a semester.

Presently, only one quarter of Colgate students who study abroad do so in non-traditional destinations — defined as Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The national average is 33.5 percent.

Kara Bingham, Colgate’s director of Off-Campus Study and International Programs, is pleased with the new initiatives. “I think we’ll see significant increases in the number of students choosing to study in non-Western countries as a direct result of these initiatives in the years to come