# Problems with REU

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1. Apr 1, 2014

Hello,

I applied to REUs for the summer, and was happy when I got accepted to one. Now I feel like the school has ambushed me and lied to me. When I applied, I was told that if accepted, I might have to send in my transcripts, which seems true for any college. Now I am being told that I have to fill out and pay $35 for a complete application, and because they are a religious college, I have to apparently get "vouched for" by my religious leader or one of theirs, so that I don't... do something bad(?) when I get there. I feel like this is something that a college should not be allowed to do, especially since this is a government run program. I am attending this to learn, and to pay off loans. It seems wrong that I have to pay for an application and that I have to be interviewed by a religious leader for a government run program. I am getting no credits out of this, and now I feel uncomfortable going. What does anyone else think? Am I being silly? 2. Apr 1, 2014 ### ZapperZ Staff Emeritus Wow! That does sound rather odd and fishy. Can someone who knows how these REU's are administered respond to this? I'm also very interested to know of such a school can get away with doing something like this. In the mean time, do you have an academic advisor that you can talk to and ask him/her if this is acceptable? Zz. 3. Apr 1, 2014 ### oliviam212 I have talked to my adviser, and he thinks it seems fishy as well. The National Science Foundation has an email that I could and might send a message to, also. Last edited: Apr 1, 2014 4. Apr 1, 2014 ### ZapperZ Staff Emeritus Definitely contact NSF's REU program. http://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/reu_contacts.jsp Looks like there's contact info for the REU coordinator. That will be the first person I try, unless you have a specific contact person for the program that you applied to. Good luck, and please let us know how this turns out. Zz. 5. Apr 1, 2014 ### oliviam212 I am first going to email the school's REU coordinator. I have asked him/her many questions about the application, but walked around the idea that I was uncomfortable with it. I will definitely let everyone know what happens. 6. Apr 1, 2014 ### Choppy The$35 doesn't seem like much of an issue to me - unless you already paid to apply in the first place. Generally I think a processing fee can be expected for this kind of thing.

The religious thing on the other hand... I think it's okay to have some concerns over it. Some colleges are essentially privately run religious institutions that have a mandate to promote certain relgious views in addition to the standard education they provide. Exactly how strict they are can vary considerably, but it sounds like you've encountered one on the more extreme end of the spectrum.

From your point of view it seems like you really have a couple of options. On one hand, you could simply jump through the hoops to get their "stamp" and move on with your summer project. The personal consequences of this action are likely to be minimal other than perhaps a feeling that perhaps you should have said something.

On the other you could raise a flag in protest. The consequences of this could be that you don't get the summer position and need to find something else to do. You may of course have legal grounds for discrimination, but getting reimbursment will cost you time and effort and it may or may not work. Or they might simply check the "other" box on your application and it won't make a lick of difference to your summer.

If you have another option, it might be worth exploring that. And certainly if you do, let this institution know about your objections.

7. Apr 1, 2014

### ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus
You are forgetting that if the school received federal funding for this program, than it MUST abide by the federal mandate, and the issue of one's religious belief is a no-no, which it must had agreed to to participate.

If any entity received federal money, it cannot do whatever it pleases.

Zz.

8. Apr 1, 2014

### oliviam212

I forgot to mention the part in the application that basically says, "If you were once affiliated with this church, but are not anymore, you will probably not be accepted unless you become affiliated again." Nobody should have to say anything about their religion in regards to a federal funded REU. In fact, the REU application said that your religion does not matter.

9. Apr 1, 2014

### jesse73

It is BYU probably. There arent many religious schools with REU programs.

It does say all of this before you apply. Although I sympathize with your beliefs they are outlined on the site before you apply and it sounds like you had no intention of going there if required to follow them which means your acceptance is going to offset someone else who is okay with the stated conditions. You could of reported them without offsetting someone else.

10. Apr 2, 2014

Staff Emeritus
Why do you say that? This is what they say on their application page:

Yes, they do ask that REU students comply with the same dress and behavioral codes as their own students, and some people surely find this overly restrictive. But at least they are up front about it.

11. Apr 2, 2014

### Stengah

First, I would make sure that this is a program that is actually funded by the NSF. Many people use the word "REU" as an umbrella term for any summer research program, but really only NSF funded programs should be referred to in this way.

I'm nearly certain that NSF funded REU programs are not allowed to charge application fees.

I would politely ask the head REU person at this school why the interview is required and if you could be exempt because it makes you uncomfortable. Maybe it's something that they would like to happen, even though they know they can't actually make you do it, and it could be easy to get out of. You could also ask them about the application fee at this time. Funding for NSF REU programs is incredibly competitive, and they wouldn't want to lose it over something silly like this.

If they say you must do it, I would contact an NSF person as suggested earlier.

12. Apr 2, 2014

### jesse73

This was my point. They mention the honor code multiple places. I imagine even if it is not BYU the place would mention it up front if you looked carefully. If they are up front about it you may be entitled to complain to the NSF but it still seems weird to apply with the possibility of getting accepted and not attending the program for a reason that was disclosed by the institution beforehand. Someone else lost may miss out.

13. Apr 2, 2014

### oliviam212

I do not think that you know what I am talking about. I never mentioned an honor code. I would always respect a school's honor code, and the honor code at this school is very blatant. I am upset that I was never told about having to pay 35\$ for an application, and having to be interviewed to be... as I said before... "vouched for." I was accepted into other programs, and I would have accepted those ones had I known this was the case. This information was not disclosed prior to filling out the application by any means, but yes, the honor code was. I am sorry I don't know how to reply directly to a user. I am sort of new at physics forum. And yes, it is an NSF REU.

14. Apr 2, 2014

### ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus
You don't have to explain anymore.

Just contact the NSF REU coordinator. I think the link I gave you even has a phone number. Explain the situation. Make sure you keep all the mail/email you got from the school and be prepared to submit those.

Indicate also that you wish that you had accepted the other REU offers instead of this one now that this has happened.

Still, I'm dying to know which school this is, not just out of curiosity, but also to steer students away from it.

Zz.

15. Apr 2, 2014

### oliviam212

I got a response and I am told I will be reimbursed for the application. He/she said that it makes paying the stipend easier if we fill out the application. This makes sense to me. I am still very upset, though, about not being told about having to be vouched for and then... I left this part out earlier.... be INTERVIEWED by one the school's religion's leaders. I do not think that I will be attending this school. I do not appreciate that they were not completely up front, and I do not think that a government funded program should at all require me going to a church to be asked if I promise to not drink or have sex. That is silly. I respect the school's honor code, and I was told on the REU application that respecting it was enough. If any other REU students are out there, I hope that one of you can take my place.

16. Apr 2, 2014

### ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus
Did you get the response from the school, or NSF?

Zz.

17. Apr 2, 2014

### oliviam212

The school. I haven't contacted NSF and probably will not.

18. Apr 2, 2014

### jesse73

19. Apr 2, 2014

Staff Emeritus
and Baylor, and Notre Dame, and Xavier, and maybe more...

20. Apr 2, 2014

### jesse73

Unless Caltech and the UCs change.