Frequently Asked Questions

Questions answered below:

Check out the questions below. If we do not answer all your questions visit our contact us page and send us an email. Also check out our policies page.

1. How do I apply?

A: Great question, just click here!

2. How much does the trip cost?

A: For winter and spring week-long trips, you pay 200 dollars. Summer 10-day trips are $300. Weekend trips are $100. International trips cost vary per year. These payments only cover a portion of the trip. The rest is covered through student fundraisers. Every MAB trip does fundraising so we can keep the cost to students for each trip as low as possible. If a student raises more than $500, we’ll refund 50% of their payment to their MyZou account. All payments are done through Student Charge on a student’s MyZou account by signing a form.

3. How do I get a scholarship and how much is it?

A: On the application there will be a box you select that indicates you’d like to receive a scholarship. There will be a few other questions you’ll need to answer and you’ll need to give us permission to view basic FASFA information (by checking a box on the form). After all the applications are in, we will read through the scholarship requests and offer as much aid as we can. There is no set number because the amount of funds and number of people who request a scholarship vary every year. Generally it is between $25-100 depending on need and availability of funds.

4. If I drop after I pay, can I get a refund?

No. Unfortunately after the “Student Charge Authorization Form” is signed/submitted, we cannot give a refund for dropping out of the trip. The form specifically states this and we recommend not signing it until you are ready to “accept” your spot on the trip. There are a few reasons for the refund policy. First, each year we turn hundreds of students away because of the high number of applications we receive. By accepting the spot on the trip, a student has taken that space away from another student. Second, fundraising only covers part of the trip’s expenses. Depending on when someone drops there may not be time to replace them through our wait list (or we may not have anyone left on the wait list). We need that money to make the trip happen. Finally, and most importantly, we do not want to be in the business of deciding what is a “good” reason to drop and what is a “bad” reason. Therefore we apply the no refund rule equally to everyone who drops.

5. Where do we go?

A: All around the country, you won’t know exactly where you’re going until you apply and are selected for a site. Click here to see a map of past locations.

6. How is where I’m going decided?

A: When you apply to be a volunteer, you rank your top choices of what service focus you want to do on your alternative break. Then the site leaders go through the pool of applicants to decide who will work best on which trips. Then you are notified which trip you were selected for and where you’ll be going.

7. What is the Wait List and how does it work?

A: Each year we have more applicants than available spots on trips. However, there are always a number of student who have to drop out of trips for various reasons (health, family, etc). We keep a wait list of students so we can make sure our trips are full when they depart. If a student drops, we contact the next person on the wait list. We’ve been asked before if there is an order to the list. There is and isnt. We select students to try and create a balanced trip. For example, we don’t want a trip of 11 women and one man. We try to replace the dropped student with someone similar. So if a woman drops, we try to replace her with another woman. If a freshman drops, we try to replace them with another freshman. All students are notified about their application status at the same time. When the time comes, every student who was accepted, wait listed, or not selected will receive an email.

8. How is the trip funded?

A: MAB covers most of the expenses of the trip through fundraising and participant fees. Trip expenses range from transportation, food, housing, site fees, and more food. (Seriously, college students eat a lot of food.) We rely on participants fees, a small amount of University funding and a lot of fundraisers. The average domestic week long trip costs anywhere from $2500-$4000.

9. Are alcohol or drugs allowed?

A: No. This is a University sponsored event, so alcohol and drugs are prohibited at all times.

10. How safe are the trips?

A: The well-being of our students is a priority. To make the trips as safe as possible we take precautions both before the trips leave and during. First, we only rent vehicles from Enterprise, Avis, and our campus fleet. Second, any person who is going to drive must follow our driving policy, the site leaders are responsible for promoting adherence to the policy. Drivers are not allowed to drive longer than 2 hours so as to keep the drivers fresh. Also, driving between 12am and 6am is not permitted. Every driver has completed a driver’s training and signed a driver’s agreement. Per University regulations only 20-year-old drivers are permitted to drive larger vehicles. Driving safety is not our only concern. We require at least three people be together at all times, regardless of when or where they are. Site Leaders also have check-ins and should an emergency arise, they are instructed to notify us as soon as possible so we can advise them on what to do next. MAB policies are also in place to make the trips as safe as possible and it is each participant’s responsibility to adhere to MAB policies.   .

Site leaders and participants are advised to take precautions and be safe on these trips. If at any time they feel the work that an agency is asking them to do is too dangerous, they are advised not to perform the work until the appropriate safety measures are in place. If a student is not complying with our policies or our site leaders, we reserve the right to end their participation on the MAB trip. If a decision is made to remove a student from the trip we will not simply strand the participant. We will support the student with arranging transportation home at their own expense. In the past, we have also taken disciplinary measures when the students have returned with the Office of Student Conduct for violations of MAB policies. All expenses inured after being removed will be the responsibility of the participants.

The above highlights the efforts taken to mitigate health and safety issues for MABers.

11. Do you go anywhere outside of the US?

A: Yes. Over winter break we now send students on international trips. In January we send students and an advisor to the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.

12. Should I bring any money on my trip?

A: Yes. Your trip will not pay for any “souvenirs.” (you should probably get your parents something) Also, while the trip may supply some snacks, you may want to buy a soda or something when you stop for gas. Most trips raise enough money to cover every meal, however some trips may not provide food for the drive to and from the site. You should speak to your site leader about how much is appropriate and if all the meals will be covered.

13. What effect do these trips have?

A: Great question. Check out our “Alternative Break Effect” page for more information, but the short answer is a lot.

14. Does Mizzou Alternative Breaks utilize the Oxford Comma?

A: Absolutely. We are strong supporters of it, because without an Oxford Comma, people might be confused, perplexed, or disoriented.