Floating university moored
June 14, 2008 9:07 PM   Subscribe

The Scholar Ship, an international floating university stewarded by top universities in Morocco, the United Kingdom, China, Australia, Mexico, USA, and Ghana, have temporarily suspended all voyages due to lack of funds - mainly caused by the withdrawal of main sponsor and initiator Royal Caribbean International. The program ran two voyages in 2007 and 2008 before shutdown. Alumni and prospective students on Facebook and Ning are busily sourcing options to revive the organization, while Semester at Sea is offering spaces to students who were accepted for the now-cancelled voyages.

This is reminiscent of 2000, when global education non-profit Up with People were also forced to shut down due to lack of funds. Efforts from UWP alumni and supporters allowed for its reform as the WorldSmart Leadership Program in 2003, before returning to its original performance-based roots in 2006.

Will the alumni of The Scholar Ship be as successful in bringing back their beloved experiences? How does this reflect on the finances of international education programs in general, when the pullout of a major backer can spell life or death for the organization?
posted by divabat (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How does this reflect on the finances of international education programs in general

It reflects on young education programs as much as anything else. Until a school has developed a large base of alumni that can be called upon in times of need, they'll be in danger of funding problems. I'm not sure how complete this list of closed colleges is, but there are a LOT more schools that closed than I was aware of.

A lot of small liberal arts schools in the Northeast have had a lot of funding problems recently too. It's not unique to floaty schools.
posted by Leon-arto at 10:03 PM on June 14, 2008

This all sounds like a very elaborate premise for a bad pun.
posted by signalnine at 10:11 PM on June 14, 2008

School on a boat? Where did I do wrong?
posted by roygbv at 10:38 PM on June 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Someone in my family went on one of those trips, and was crushed that the program ended. A lot of people had their falls all planned around a huge trip, and now they're out of a trip and/or job. It's really a shame too, because it sounded like an incredible program.
posted by you're a kitty! at 11:47 PM on June 14, 2008

Oh that wikipedia link is precious!
posted by nvly at 12:25 AM on June 15, 2008

Leon-arto: I'm not sure about the American unis on your list, but most of the international ones started and ended from 1600-1900. Hardly any of them were "new".
posted by divabat at 1:43 AM on June 15, 2008

So long, Norwalk; hello, Mumps.

global education non-profit Up with People

That's what that was?
posted by Sys Rq at 6:38 AM on June 15, 2008

Sys Rq: That's what they sum themselves up as currently, which is pretty much the best they can do considering they do lots of things. I was in the last WorldSmart crew (before they went back to the UWP name) and it basically went from hard-core performance with the odd community service (UWP 1.0), to tons of leadership and service but nearly disowning the performance angle (the two WS crews before us), to a better balance of both (UWP 2.0).

I should disclose here that I applied for a spot on The Scholar Ship and got accepted last year, and had deferred to travel after I finish uni this year. I found out about their closure from Wikipedia and their Facebook groups, though.
posted by divabat at 6:57 AM on June 15, 2008

Either this mob or a similar one approached me for funding advice some time back. I seem to recall that the cost of keeping the program going was absolutely massive, even with the fees, so although it's a lovely idea, it's not all that sustainable. Unfortunately this is common to all not-for-profits, not just higher education; funding sources need to be diversified, and you can't put all your eggs in one basket, or you run the risk of having something like this happen.
posted by andraste at 2:01 PM on June 15, 2008

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