Studying Away Becomes Mandatory at The Kent State University Fashion School

Kent — Located on Kent State University’s front campus, Rockwell Hall is home to a fashion school that is now requiring incoming students to study away. This decision went into effect in Fall 2016 and will apply to all incoming freshman from that point forward.

This decision has been highly controversial and has raised concern among students. Though students agree that studying away is an enriching and exciting opportunity that they would like to partake in, it also comes with a very hefty price tag.

Rockwell Hall, also known as the Fashion School, where it is now mandatory for students to study away as a part of their graduation requirements.

Students who do not come from wealthy economic backgrounds, or who are responsible for paying their own way through college, feel that this requirement could be a serious issue and possibly even deter students from attending this program.

“I think it’s very beneficial for people to study abroad, especially fashion students because your not just subjected to one thing, you’re subjected to a whole new set of things,” Kent State student Sean Stewart said in an interview. “However, it could deter students from attending Kent State if students are forced to go because maybe the pricing and issues with leaving family and friends behind for five months…it can be hard for some people.”
Kent State Student Sean Stewart attends Spring Fest in Munich, Germany during his semester abroad in Florence. This was one of the many weekend trips that are available to students in the study away program.

With college being as expensive as it is already, students have expressed that adding another cost could be detrimental for some families. Kent State students come from all kinds of economic backgrounds, so while this decision may be doable for some, it could be a huge issue for others.

One student, Courtney Peterson, who is studying Fashion Design, is not required to study away as she was accepted to the program before this requirement was established. However, she is choosing to study abroad in Florence next spring and looks forward to the opportunity, but understands why other students could be concerned with this decision.

“I do think it will be a big issue, they should create more scholarships for the study away programs so more students are able to apply and are accepted for these scholarships.” Fashion Design student Courtney Peterson said in an interview.
Fashion Design Student Courtney Peterson works on a garment for her final draping project. She will be studying abroad in Florence next Spring and looks forward to experiencing the global fashion industry and gaining inspiration for her garments from the European culture.

On the other hand, Elijah Mccallum, a Fashion Merchandising student, is a part of the first class that will be required to study away.

“I personally feel that it’s really cool because coming into college I planned on studying abroad,” said Elijah Mccallum in an interview. “I have talked to a lot of other students though, who feel that this could have a negative effect because they don’t have the money to be able to financially do it.”

For Fashion Merchandising student Grace Barbee, studying abroad had always been a dream. However, when she got into college and really crunched the numbers, she decided that her world travels would have to wait. Coming from out of state and already paying out-of-state tuition, the costs were just too high. She outlines both the positive and negative aspects in an interview regarding the topic.

“At the moment, I believe we are the only school in the U.S. requiring students to study away so I do think that makes us more prestigious,” Grace Barbee said in her interview. “However, for incoming students, it might be a deterrent in whether or not they should choose Kent State because I do think that some students may not feel comfortable with that requirement for several reasons, cost being the biggest one.”
Inside Rockwell Hall, where Fashion Design and Merchandising students attend almost all of their classes.

With this requirement being very new, there hasn’t been a whole lot of information provided to the student body on what all this condition for graduation will entail. However, the fashion school faculty and staff are aware of the student concerns regarding finances and are working towards possible solutions so that this requirement will be manageable for students who don’t have the resources.

To learn more about the Kent State University Fashion School and the study away programs, click the link to visit the Fashion School website.

Student Sean Stewart in Athens, Greece, visiting the Acropolis. Stewart shared that his study abroad experience was life changing, though he did mention that the semester abroad added a significant amount to his student loan debt.