By Casey DiBari – Opinion Editor
Recently, the Shoulder to Shoulder program’s price has in- creased. Before, the program ran by Study Abroad would offer stu- dents a chance to take a service trip for a week in a country, such as Vietnam or Ecuador, for varying prices depending on the location. But now, the trips have all have a set price of $1,200. For trips that used to be around $500 for Mexi- co or $800 for Antigua, according to students in the old program, this increase has made the trips harder for students to afford.
Students within the pro- gram were informed there was going to be an increase in pricing for Shoulder to Shoulder trips. This was still a surprise for students who claim the trips were different from each other and don’t understand why all prices were made the same.
Payment for Shoulder to Shoulder trips are added on to a student’s tuition bill depending
on the semester. While a student doesn’t seem to have to pay immediately, it’s still difficult for some to get this money in a short amount of time.
Because of this price increase, there have been fewer students involved with the program this year. For example, the 2020 Mexico trip has been cancelled due to the lack of students, according to Director of International Education Stacy Weltzin.
We do have to understand despite the costs of these trips, the university does cover the rest of the trip price. According to Weltzin, the service trips themselves range from $39,000 to $45,000 per program. This number covers the required 12 students, one leader, and one co-leader. The students are paying somewhere around 32 per- cent of the cost before the price raise. The in- crease for students’ payment was a way for Lasell to alleviate some of their own costs for the trip. Despite the different locations, the trips aren’t so different, and can be the same price.
Frankly, the increase in price isn’t fair to the students and seems to be hurting the program. This is not to say they need to think about the students, however, when they are rediscussing the budget, they could reconsider other ways to alleviate the cost to be beneficial to both parties.