The University of Georgia Foundation board of trustees on Feb. 22 approved a deal to sell off its campus in the cloud forests of Costa Rica but said the move will free up resources to offer students more study-abroad opportunities.
Unloading the campus in San Luis de Monteverde will allow the creation of a $4 million endowment for study-abroad scholarships covering a broader territory: Central America, South America and Africa, the university said in a news release. The deal is expected to close April 30.
The buyer of the 153-acre property to the Council on International Educational Exchange, a nonprofit that plans to continue operating the campus as one of 60 sites in its global network. The group plans to upgrade the labs on the campus to enhance its global STEM offerings. UGA offers a wide variety of coursework at the campus, from tropical ecology and biology to business and communications.
CIEE will continue operating current UGA programs there through the end of 2019, and the two sides are working on an arrangement that would continue to provide UGA students access to the campus and associated programs.
The UGA Foundation purchased the campus in 2002, and it served about 250 UGA students per year. About 1,000 students from other universities also made use of the facilities annually, according to the UGA Costa Rica website.
The grounds include student bungalows as well as an eco-lodge used by faculty and sometimes booked by visitors, but the developed area is a relatively small proportion of the property. About 60 percent of the land area is covered by protected forests, while about 30 percent is reserved for tropical agriculture. CIEE has been active in Monteverde since 1989, and the organization’s leaders said continue “responsibly” engaging with the local community.
Global Atlanta traveled to the campus in 2016 and has written about Atlanta-based THRIVE Farmers’ coffee plantations in the Monteverde region.
Learn more about the campus here.