Study abroad is considered to be an important part of Vassar’s liberal arts curriculum, and the College offers a long list of successful programs for students to take part in. However, the pandemic has diminished the need for overseas-specific IDs, leaving many without a passport. In response to this, the Office of International Programs (OIP) has decided to bring back its passport-ordering event on campus for all students, faculty and administration for a third year, which was last held when students were unable to leave campus during the 2020-21 academic year. The event will be held in concurrence with the annual Study Abroad Fair on the second floor of Main on Friday, Sept. 16.
Anyone in the Vassar community can come to Room 240 in the College Center for the Passport Day event, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The Study Abroad Fair will be at the same time in the Villard Room. Students, faculty and administration will have the opportunity to work through the passport application process with representatives from the Dutchess County Clerk’s Office. Passport Day also allows those in the Vassar community to get passport photos if needed for a travel visa, according to the OIP website.
“With thanks to our partner, the Dutchess County Clerk’s Office, offering this event on campus enhances access for the Vassar community members to retrieve a passport, and this supports the overall objectives of the Office of International Programs,” said Assistant Dean for Global Partnerships and International Programs Kerry Stamp. She added, “By facilitating meaningful student and faculty engagement in learning opportunities outside the United States, the OIP contributes to Vassar’s mission of nurturing intellectual curiosity, creativity, respectful discourse, and engaged citizenship from a global perspective.”
The Study Abroad Fair gives students the opportunity to engage with representatives from over 20 different frequently-used study-abroad program providers through information sessions and panel discussions for students to ask questions. “All persons who need to apply for a new passport are welcome to participate (please note that the Clerk’s Office is unable to process renewals on campus),” Stamp wrote in an email correspondence.
Credit cards are not an acceptable form of payment at this event, and all passport fees paid to the U.S. State Department must be paid through checks or money orders, according to Stamp. The same applies to fees paid to the Dutchess County Clerk Office, but they will also take cash. The payment details are as follows:
For those 16 and older (Under 18 must have a parent present):
The price of a passport is $165 with $130 payable to the U.S. State Department, and a separate payment of $35 payable to the Dutchess County Clerk.
For those younger than 16 (Both parents must be present):
The price of a passport is $135 with $100 payable to the U.S. State Department, and a separate payment of $35 payable to the Dutchess County Clerk.
A passport photo is available for an extra $10 fee payable to the Dutchess County Clerk. In the event you need your passport expedited, please add $78.32 to the check or money order payable to the U.S. State Department for the expedite fee. A more comprehensive list of U.S. passport fees can be found on the State Department website.
With support from the Institute for International Education, OIP has received a grant allowing for the distribution of funds for 25 first-year students to receive their first passports at no cost. Stamp stated, “We understand that passport fees may pose a serious barrier for students seeking to gain international learning experiences and are excited to announce this new opportunity. This grant is intended to promote access to and equity in study abroad and encourage students to integrate an international experience into their college education.”
While clerks will have applications available for all, The Office of International Programs recommends completing and printing the form in advance to save time. The passport application form can be found on the State Department website. Anyone planning on participating in the Passport Day event should also prepare to bring documents that can serve as evidence of U.S. citizenship. More information on what documents will prove your U.S. citizenship can also be found on the State Department website.