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St. Olaf College

November 18, 2022

Amount Requested$60,000.00


1520 St. Olaf Ave
Northfield, Minnesota 55057

Janine Haidar

Senior Development Officer

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  • Engender Dignity, Respect and Equality
  • Broaden Perspectives Through Art, Culture, Literature or Extracurricular Experiences
Proposal Information

Funds are Being Requested for:

Program Support

Mission Statement

St. Olaf College challenges students to excel in the liberal arts, examine faith and values, and explore meaningful vocation in an inclusive, globally engaged community nourished by Lutheran tradition. Approved by the St. Olaf College Board of Regents, May 2016

Amount Requested


Program Budget


Organizational Budget


Relationship to the Olseth Family Foundation


Summarize Your Request

St. Olaf College respectfully requests $60,000 to support the International and Off-Campus Study Opportunity Fund during the 2023-24 academic year. The fund will help approximately 20-60 students complete off-campus study.

International off-campus study is a transformative experience for students. Considered a proven high-impact academic practice, it deepens engagement in student learning and strengthens learning outcomes. Students who study abroad are better prepared for a complex, changing employment marketplace and world. Participation is beneficial for all students, and especially those from demographic groups historically underserved by higher education.

At St. Olaf, typically 75% of students study abroad during their enrollment at St. Olaf. This high participation has ranked us among the top two baccalaureate college sending students abroad annually for the past 13 years. Over the past ten years, driven by our commitment to meet financial need and with support from partners like the Olseth Family Foundation, the aid available for students has changed greatly:
• The number of students supported, as well available aid, has increased fivefold. 500 students a year receive aid for study abroad, accounting for 75% who study abroad. The funding awarded now totals more than $1 million per year.
• Students with Pell grants can go on any semester- or year-long program and have nearly 100% of their cost above studying on campus covered by scholarship. Additionally, we can cover up to 50% of Interim program costs for these students
• We now offer an automatic scholarship (no application is required) for students with financial need.
• Overall, we can now cover ~35% of all program costs above tuition, a percentage that has grown over time.
Even so, participation gaps remain. While we made significant gains in equity for participation before the COVID-19 pandemic, Black and Hispanic students, whose families were impacted disproportionately by the pandemic, continue to participate at lower rates, as do first-generation students.

Cost remains a primary barrier. Notably, middle-income students are borrowing one-to-three times more than their peers for Interim programs ($2,000-$3,000 more in debt), and 40% more than middle-income students participating in semester programs.

With the Olseth Family Foundation’s approval, for this cycle we propose directing the Foundation’s aid to increase access for middle-income students interested in Interim programs. This will reduce their loan debt and bring these students closer to parity with low-income students.

By providing scholarships to students with an interest in studying abroad, the International and Off-Campus Study Opportunity Fund supported by the Olseth Family Foundation will promote equity of access for under-resourced students to this life-changing opportunity.

Overview of the Grant Request

Population Served

Approximately 20-60 U.S.-based students who wish to study abroad who receive need-based financial aid.

Geographic Area Served

St. Olaf students come from nearly all 50 U.S. states; funds will support domestic students.

List Three Measurable Goals That This Funding Will Help You Achieve.

• Provide financial aid for international and off-campus study for approximately 20-60 students
• Limit student indebtedness by covering up to 40% - 50% of costs for award recipients
• Promote equity of access to international study experiences for all students

How Will You Accomplish These Goals?

Upon award of the funds from the Olseth Family Foundation, St. Olaf's Smith Center for Global Engagement and Financial Aid offices will promote this opportunity to students. Our Financial Aid office will also promote financial aid resources to students through an easy-to-understand guide. Additionally, it will provide estimates of aid anytime to students as requested, providing them with information on the aid they would receive to participate in their program.

With the Foundation’s consent, eligibility will be limited to middle-income domestic students who are recipients of need-based aid and who intend to study abroad. Formerly, we required students to submit a separate application for Olseth Foundation awards. Other funding is now provided to students with need automatically, making the former application for Olseth funding an outlier and a potential barrier to participation. With the Foundation’s consent, we would like to award funds to students with need automatically once funding is available. Recipients will be selected based on financial need and loan indebtedness. Based on the Foundation’s preference, the college can 1) use Olseth funds to award ~24 students $2,500 each to cover 50% of their need, or 2) award ~60 students awards of $1,000 in addition to other aid provided. Would the Foundation have a preference concerning the breadth or depth of impact provided? Approximately 150 middle-income students participate in Interim annually.

Awards will offset costs related to study experiences. If a student receives an award and elects not to study abroad, the award will be provided to another qualified applicant.

St. Olaf will continue raising endowed and current funds to 1) lower the cost of international study overall for students, and; 2) provide additional assistance to low- and middle-income students as needed to ensure equity of access for all students to international study.

Looking Forward, How Will You Measure These Goals?

St. Olaf will track the number of students who apply and the awards made. Upon completion of the study cycle, we will also ask award recipients to complete a survey sharing the impact of their experience and their award.

St. Olaf will also continue to measure and evaluate student participation in international and off-campus study. Annually it will track participation across race/ethnicity, student income (low-, mid-, and high-need), family education, and gender against the composition of its student body overall. St. Olaf will track the indebtedness of its graduating classes, as well as their participation in international and off-campus study during their four-year tenure.

St. Olaf will submit this information annually in our report to the Foundation.

Implementation Plan

Start Date


End Date


Describe Most Significant Collaborations With Other Organizations And Efforts.

St. Olaf faculty, students, and staff sustain hundreds of partnerships with arts, educational, and social service nonprofits to advance the academic, civic, religious, residential, and global aspects of its mission and programs. These partnerships include key collaborations which broaden opportunities for international study. For example, St. Olaf has agreements with universities in Africa and the Middle East, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, and Europe. These agreements support faculty or student exchange, direct enrollment of St. Olaf students abroad, or educational opportunities for faculty-led groups of students. Further, St. Olaf is a partner within the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, the Council on International Educational Exchange, and numerous smaller consortia through which member institutions can develop and offer international education programs which may not draw enough interest on their individual campuses to otherwise make them financially feasible. These consortia allow the institutions to expand study opportunities, share costs and avoid program duplication.

What Is The Projected Timeline For The Proposed Activities?

• Olseth grant payment received Fall/Winter 2022
• Olseth Scholarship promoted by Smith Center for Global Engagement and financial aid office Jan – Mar 2023
• International study applications due Apr -23
• Olseth-supported Interim international study Jan-24
• Report sent to Olseth Foundation Sep-24

Supplemental Information

Current Year Organizational Budget


Program Budget For Proposed Funding Period


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Approval Status