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Campus hopping

The Baltimore Student Exchange Program provides the opportunity to be a super student

Ashley Parks

Staff Writer

 The Baltimore Student Exchange Program is available for students here at UMBC or at other 4 year state and private institutions. Students can take a full time schedule of classes at their home school along with a handful of classes at another Maryland institution for the price of tuition at their home institution.

Two for the price of one always sounds like a good bargain. Now, apply it to college tuition and it sounds even better. That deal is being offered to UMBC students and others enrolled at some local four-year state and private institutions. Surprisingly, only a handful of students are taking advantage of it.

The Baltimore Student Exchange Program (BSEP), or Inter-Institutional enrollment, is currently in effect for the benefit of undergraduate and graduate students in the state of Maryland. Bowie State University, Towson University, College of Notre Dame of Maryland, Goucher College, MICA, Loyola College, UMBC, College Park and Morgan State University are among the participating institutions. Full time students have the opportunity to take classes at their home institution while enrolling in classes at another school.

“It’s a really good program and saves the students money,” said Lori DeThomas, the Academic Program Specialist in the UMBC Registrar’s office. “Some people go to satisfy a requirement or because of a schedule conflict here.”

DeThomas has been responsible for processing the submissions to the program for the last four years. The requests make it to the Bursar’s office after receiving approval from the transfer team on campus as well as the student’s academic advisor. In order to be eligible, a student must be at least a sophomore, maintain full time status and be in good academic standing. Those participating in ROTC programs are exempt from the sophomore status requirement.

“We have undergraduate and graduate students coming and going from multiple institutions,” says DeThomas. This fall, 78 students have found their way to UMBC from other schools, while 53 UMBC students are jumping over to other campuses for a total of 131 involved. Just four years ago, an estimated total of 50 students were participating.

The BSEP can be an asset to students in broadening their academic experience while saving a significant amount of money. DeThomas offers an example of students traveling to College Park to learn Persian for UMBC’s language requirement. Other students are studying subjects at MICA while paying UMBC tuition. Full time UMBC students will be charged UMBC prices at other institutions.

The grades that are earned by BSEP students factor into their grade point average at their home school, regardless of where the course was taken. Unlike transfer students, a D earned by a BSEP student at another institution will transfer as a D into their transcripts and their GPA.

This academic opportunity is available at the cost of dedication and responsibility. For  those willing to pay that price, this program grants a flexible way to complete their degree with all the comforts of home.