Industry information on student safety
The Forum on Education Abroad (“The Forum”) is a study abroad membership organization that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission as the standard setting body for the their industry. As such, their first priority is to their institutional members.
The Forum promotes nine “Standards of Good Practice.” Standard 8, “Health, Safety, Security, and Risk Management,” and The Forum’s “Code of Ethics” have particular relevance to student safety. When evaluating study abroad programs, these two documents can serve as useful guides to students and parents.
In 2014, with the promise of confidentiality, Forum member schools were asked to voluntarily share their safety data, with the goal to create a Critical Incident Database (CID). Unfortunately, the response rate of member schools was low.
And so, in order to get at new information about student safety on study abroad, the Forum proceeded with another strategy, using insurance claims data, CID data, and data from one study about on-campus student safety.
In March of this year, The Forum released their report, “Insurance Claims Data and Mortality Rate for Students Studying Abroad.”
While PSA applauds The Forum’s efforts toward data collection, we believe there are serious methodological issues with both the CID and the insurance claims report. We hope that these two projects represent The Forum’s start toward industry transparency, rather than an endpoint.