USA Today ran an article today bemoaning the fact that there is no federal oversight of study abroad programs, and that there is no national agency charged with keeping records of study abroad statistics.
Additionally, some families have been campaigning for a "federal standard of liability" which could be used to sue colleges which allegedly do not run study abroad programs with proper oversight.
Honestly, the desire of some for the federal government to oversee every aspect of our lives is mind-boggling. Not to mention that the threat of litigation makes anything less available and more expensive.
As the parent of a student who just returned from a semester abroad, I have to ask: Whatever happened to personal responsibility? Perhaps studying abroad in places such as Ghana, Jamaica, and Tanzania isn't a wise idea?
And perhaps a 16-year-old high schooler with Type 1 diabetes should have waited to study or travel abroad when he was older and better able to advocate for his medical needs?
Studying abroad, like life, is never risk free. But instead of expecting the government to step in to monitor programs and make lawsuits easier to file, parents and students can research programs and countries, weigh the relative risks, and then take responsibility for making the best choices possible.