Just for Parents

If you are reading this section of the website, one of two things has probably happened: either your son or daughter has just “dropped the bomb” and told you of their plan to study at some exotic place, or you are exploring what opportunities might be available for your student in making the decision to attend Gordon College. In either case, a number of important questions arise that we hope can be answered below. If not, please don’t hesitate to contact us at .  

Dr. Cliff Hersey
Dean of Global Education

Questions you may have…

  • How extensive are the options for study in an off-campus setting?
  • How does this help my son or daughter reach their academic goals?
  • What is Gordon’s track record in participation among students?
  • What will this cost?
  • What is covered in the cost?
  • How is coursework “counted” in the student’s transcript?
  • What about safety?
  • What about contact with my son/daughter while on the program?

How extensive are the options for study in an off-campus setting?
Gordon College offers numerous programs in a number of different categories. The GEO Programs link will give specific information about individual sites. In general, students can receive credit for study abroad (international) or off-campus study (domestic) through semester-long programs, short-term international seminars (3-6 weeks) or summer experiences (e.g. practica and internships). Gordon encourages every student at the college to consider choosing one of these options for study and makes it financially possible for them to do so. Gordon owns and operates several programs, cooperates with the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) and contracts with other program providers to offer these academic experiences. We even give students the option of petitioning for programs not on our “approved list” if they and their academic advisor can make a compelling case. The extensive options provided by Gordon make it a leader both within the CCCU and among all colleges nationwide.

How does this help my son or daughter reach their academic goals?
We believe that programs designed to expose students to cross-cultural realities and experiences or ones that allow them to consider how to shape culture domestically are integral to what it means to have a Liberal Arts education. It is the reason Gordon has offered these kind of programs for over 50 years, and built it into one of the ways in which Gordon defines itself.  The “value” of the experience can of course be measured in many other ways. For some majors, like those in Languages or International Affairs, study abroad is seen as indispensible and therefore required of all majors. For others, the choice to study abroad or domestically is an attempt to round out issues of justice, poverty, religious understanding or political difference. We find that these programs are life-changing in many ways.

What is Gordon’s track record in participation among students?
The most revealing measurement of participation we have found is to measure the percentage of Gordon graduates each year who have studied in one of our program offerings. The most recent statistics (for 2008 graduates) reveals numbers that are right in line with our five-year averages:

  • 34% of the graduating class (undergrad) earned some of their credits in an off-campus program through the GEO.
  • 2.5% of that total attended a full-year program.
  • 20% attended a semester-long program.
  • 14.5% attended a short-term international seminar program.
  • If we include official Gordon-sponsored mission trips and other non-credit-bearing programs, the total runs to 47% with 25% of that total participating in more than one program.
  • About 250 students per year participate in some credited GEO program.

Per annum we have 35–40 non-Gordon students participating in Gordon-IN programs.

What will this cost?
For Gordon Students

Students approved to study for semester-long programs through the GEO normally pay few additional costs above their regular tuition, housing, meal and fee charges, and are allowed to maintain their full scholarship package for one semester. One exception is the required international insurance provided by CISI (at the rate of $35 a month). The second exception occurs in cases where the total actual cost of a program exceeds the total cost of a semester at Gordon College. In that case, the student is required to pay the actual costs above that amount.

Students accepted to the CCCU Oxford program, programs in languages, or those in the Pike Scholars program for which there are specified study abroad requirements, may study for two semesters with the full benefit of their scholarships.

In the case of students who are on tuition remission, tuition remission does not apply to study abroad. In these cases, students are encouraged to see Student Financial Services to assess their scholarship package. During the semester off-campus, students who normally have tuition remission will instead pay normal tuition and fees minus this assessed scholarship package.

Short-term International Seminars (usually in Summer Session or between semesters) do NOT normally have scholarship options. However, the college makes every effort to make these options as cost effective to the student as is possible.  Likewise, summer internship, ministry practicum or international social work experiences are not normally covered by regular scholarships.

For Visiting Students

As a general rule, semester study abroad cost the same as a semester on Gordon's campus: tuition, room and board. Lab/travel fees apply with some programs. Students should see their off-campus programs office regarding the cost of studying abroad. Scholarships may be available from the Global Education Office.  Additionally partnership arrangements may be available with your institution which may significantly lower the costs.

International seminars vary in cost. Seminar fees cover tuition, airfare and ground transportation related to program accommodation, 2 meals a day, program fees and course materials. Airfare, number of credits per course, accommodation expense, and currency fluctuations cause the cost to vary.

What is covered in the cost?
Under most circumstances, the college will cover all of the instructional and living costs of the student while in the program.  This would (except in exceptional cases) include round-trip airfare, ground transportation, tuition, housing, meals, visa expenses, insurance and other associated instructional costs. Personal expenses for daily needs, personal travel, and gifts (for Mom and Dad!) are not covered by the program cost. Some domestic programs do not include airfare, and occasionally, other costs are negotiated with the student. Before committing to a program, you (through your student) will receive complete information regarding all costs and coverage. 

How is coursework “counted” in the student’s transcript?
For Gordon Students:

Official credit for these programs comes into the student transcript in one of two ways:
  • Many programs carry direct Gordon College credit. In these cases, the transferability of the credits is transparent. It is simply listed by the Registrar.
  • In other cases, the transferability of the credits is verified and accepted by the college before the student leaves for the program. This done through a prior agreement between Gordon College and the institution awarding the credits.

Please note: Gordon credit is calculated into the student’s overall GPA in the transcript. However, transfer credit from any other institution is awarded, but grades are not calculated into the overall GPA.

For Visiting Students:

Only those programs owned and operated by Gordon and carrying Gordon credit are open to participation by Non-Gordon students. Students should verify with their off-campus programs or Registrar the transferability of Gordon credit.

Encourage your student to  talk to is his/her major advisor about the courses he/she is interested in, how they fit with your student’s major, how credits will be transferred back, and what it would mean for your student to be off-campus for a semester.

What about safety?
Safety is on everyone’s mind these days and no one can guarantee the safety of students in these situations. However, Gordon takes every precaution possible to insure that students are not placed in harm’s way. We do this by assuring that the following steps are in place:

  • Program Approval: All of our program selections are carefully monitored and approved—not only for credit, but for the student’s co-curricular experiences in housing, meals and activities.
  • Monitoring and Visitation: The Global Education Office on campus keeps its hand on world hot spots and attempts to increase its knowledge about world situations. In most cases, GEO personnel have first hand experiences with these program sites.
  • Orientation: Before students are allowed to go to programs, they are required to attend an orientation where they are made aware of safety concerns and other cultural expectations.
  • Emergency Protocol: Each program operated by Gordon College has developed an emergency protocol for implementation in emergency circumstances. Other programs are also scrutinized for similar plans.

What about contact with my son/daughter while on the program?
The connectedness of the world today makes contact anywhere almost a guarantee. However, while it might be possible to have that daily conversation, it is often discouraged. Why? Because crossing a cultural boundary is more effective if the student is not also trying to maintain a connection with the familiar. Our task as educators is to try to make students “experience” the culture rather than just “visit” it. So we often limit the amount of access students have to the internet and to social media. We encourage you to give them some space. They will have plenty of great stories to tell when they return.