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Attorney General Issues Study-Abroad Subpoenas

January 22, 2008

by Kevin Ladd

The investigation into policies at study abroad offices has deepened as New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced his decision to subpoena college officials. Now that codes of conduct and student lender subsidy cuts have addressed the student loan scandal, the attorney general is turning his attention to problems within the study abroad offices.

According to the Associated Press, the total number of schools Cuomo is seeking information from has now reached 15.  Among them are notables such as Harvard, Columbia, Northwestern and Brown University.  Fears about the effects that financial arrangements between schools and travel agencies have had on students are at the heart of the problem.

The issue was widely publicized last year when The New York Times ran a story about a Columbia student who was denied credit after studying abroad at Oxford University. The student, Brendan Jones, had decided to take advantage of the cheaper travel rates by using an outside travel agency. After completing the course requirements at one of the most prestigious and recognized universities, Brendan was denied his request for a credit transfer.

Concerns that study abroad advisors may be using such tactics to pressure students into traveling with schools have been on the rise. Also under investigation is the practice of awarding study abroad officials free travel opportunities and giving schools marketing funds after a certain number of student travelers have been secured.


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