Columbia College | Columbia Engineering

Parent FAQ

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Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions for parents. We also encourage parents and guardians to look at the student FAQ. For any questions not addressed on the website, please contact the ABP Program Administrator, Pete Cerneka at pc2371@columbia.edu

  1. What are the costs associated with participating in an ABP project?
  2. Is there ABP financial aid available for my student?
  3. Does my student need travel vaccines before the trip?
  4. Should I purchase extra travel insurance for my student traveling with the ABP?
  5. Will my student be safe traveling on an ABP project?
  6. How can I get in contact with my student in case of an emergency? 
  7. Do administrators or faculty members manage and/or chaperone the projects?

What are the costs associated with participating in an ABP project?

Students will develop the budget for their project and must account for travel expenses and any fees necessary to run their projects. ABP subsidizes (fully or partially) student travel expenses. 

In order to ensure commitment to their project, ABP requires group members to make a non-refundable contribution to their project. For domestic projects, students contribute $50 and for international projects, students contribute $100. These contributions are then immediately available to their teams to spend on their projects

Is there ABP financial aid available for my student?

The ABP provides travel funding for selected projects. The funding provided may cover the travel costs of up to six of the project's participants. However, beyond the travel grants, there is no additional financial aid from the ABP for individuals or groups.

Does my student need travel vaccines before the trip?

Students are responsible for determining what, if any, immunizations are required/recommended for their project, however, we offer lots of resources to help them with that process. CU on the Road Travel Medicine Program give valuable advice about how to manage students’ medical needs while traveling, including immunization advice. The Office of Global Program is also a valuable resource. Lastly we recommend that all students also refer to the Center for Disease Control to make informed choices of with possible immunizations. ABP does not cover immunization expenses; however, some health plans may cover them.

Should I purchase extra travel insurance for my student traveling with the ABP?

ABP-supported teams DO NOT need to purchase any additional travel insurance for their project. As part of ABP support, all team members have access to Columbia's travel insurance, International SOS (ISOS). ISOS is travel insurance that provides various travel-related protections and services, including emergency medical services that supplement regular health insurance. It is free and available to all Columbia students and provides worldwide assistance in the event of an emergency that requires special evacuation and repatriation services, or immediate medical intervention.

Will my student be safe traveling on an ABP project?

The design of each project is crafted by students, but with input and oversight from the ABP administrator, and in partnership with sponsor organizations. Additionally, workshops and individual project advising meetings with ABP administrators encourage students to be current on the cultural and political climate of their trip location and equip the projects with the resources to make informed decisions about their trips.  

Columbia University policy prohibits the support of projects in countries that appear on the U.S. State Department's travel warning list, although exceptions can be made if a team can show how their particular project can be safe. Exceptions are made on a case by case basis. Projects impacted by the U.S. State Department travel warming list or for other safety reasons, may be rejected, or even cancelled, even at the last minute, if Columbia determines travel is unsafe. In these situations, the team needs to understand that the team members are responsible for any costs associated with a cancelled trip.

How can I get in contact with my student in case of an emergency? 

All ABP trips must supply the ABP administrative team with a point of contact at their trip site. We recommend that parents also obtain emergency contact information from their student before trip departure. Additionally, family members may call Public Safety at 212-854-5555 to contact the Dean On Call. With ABP staff, Columbia University and the host organization will work to contact your student and make any necessary arrangements. 

Do administrators or faculty members manage and/or chaperone the projects?
 
No, ABP projects do not have faculty or administrator managers/chaperones. All funded projects are independent student-run  projects that are supported by the ABP. However, the ABP works closely with projects through every step of the design process and ensurese all protocols/precautions are in place.    

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