Though Aid Available to Most Students, Summer Programs Not Need Blind

Although student-travel opportunities can cost over $5000 per individual, students chosen for travel programs can receive full financial support from Andover to learn outside of the classroom. All five off-campus programs offered by Andover provide financial aid to students, according to Roxanne Barry, Director of Summer Opportunities. Not all programs are need blind, however, according to John Rogers, Dean of Studies, because available aid fluctuates from year-to-year. “When the Academy adapted its need blind policy, we also made the decision that we would make meeting the need of every student during the academic year the priority, which meant that the amount of money available for supporting summer experiences for students might be less in some years because we might have more need [for it during the school year],” said Rogers. Qualified summer programs can receive up to 47 percent of their necessary funding from aid, a percentage proportional to the number of students on aid in the student body. Preference for financial support goes to curriculum-related programs, according to Jim Ventre, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid. In order for an off-campus trip or program to qualify for financial aid support, it must first adhere to Andover’s mission and academic goals. Rogers, Temba Maqubela, Dean of Faculty, and department chairs seek programs that allow students to use their vacation time to pursue topics not offered in the academic year, according to Rogers. If a program fulfills Andover’s academic aims, that program’s director works with the Financial Aid Office to determine whether the trip is financially possible. “There are certain types of problem-based learning and community-based learning that are really hard to facilitate in a traditional academic schedule, but that lend themselves to serve bigger blocks of time in the summer. [We approve programs] that clearly utilize the kind of larger concentrated time that summer affords,” said Rogers. Students on full or significant financial aid, which is approximately 20 percent of the student body, are entitled to support for one summer program or off-campus experience during their career at Andover, according to Ventre. “Because of the increased interest in summer opportunities, we are in the process of developing a new process by which full and heavy financial aid students will prepare for summer programs. Students will be expected to coordinate their plans with the Financial Aid office to receive the necessary support that allows them to take advantage of their one-time opportunity to participate in a sanctioned program. Sanctioned programs are those that have met the standards and policies as established by the Dean of Studies office in conjunction with Risk Management,” wrote Ventre in an e-mail to The Phillipian. Pecos Pathways Because of long historical ties to the Pecos Pueblo tribe in New Mexico, Pecos Pathways is able to take four Andover students on an all-expenses paid cultural and anthropological excursion, according to Lindsay Randall, Peabody Museum Educator. The program lasts for three weeks in June and is funded by various private endowments and donations. South Carolina Trip This service learning trip takes 38 students to John’s Island in South Carolina for one week during spring break. According to Mark Ebner Office of Academy Resources, financial aid is available for the $600 student fee from the Financial Aid Office and alumni donations. Russian Trip This is a department-created program that pairs approximately nine Andover students with Russian Families for three weeks in the summer. Students can apply for need-based aid to cover the $3600 student fees, according to Victor Svec, Instructor and Chair in Russian. Music Tour Using funds from the department budget and student fees, Andover’s orchestras and chorus perform at national or international location every year during spring break. The cost varies depending on tour locale, but in past years a trip to Ireland cost approximately $2500 per student. Aid varies according to need and is available through the Financial Aid Office for students on scholarship, according to Peter Cirelli, Chair of the Music Department. The program is also need-blind and invites students based on dedication and musical aptitude (orchestral/choral placement). Niswarth Niswarth brings between 12 and 15 students to India every summer to learn about pressing social issues such as education and health. The Abbot Academy Association awarded Niswarth a three year grant to continue last fall. According to Raj Mundra, Director of Niswarth, the program is need-blind and through the Financial Aid Office can offer students financial aid to cover the $4500 fee. “The Abbot grant covers the financial needs of students accepted into the program. It is need-blind. We hope that Niswarth will become self-sustaining. My hope is that this type of programming and educational experience will become more a part of our core program at PA,” said Mundra.