People to People Student Ambassador Program
6/11/2006 People to People Student Ambassador Program Agrees to Modify Representations About How Students are Selected for International Travel
People to People Student Ambassador Program Agrees to Modify Representations About How Students are Selected for International Travel
Iowa mother whose child died at the age 7 weeks in 1993 received a letter last fall saying her son had been recommended for the honor of a 20-day trip to Europe (with a price tag of about $5,000.)
Des Moines. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller has raised concerns with the marketing company for People to People International regarding how the company portrays the selection of students for its Student Ambassador travel-abroad trips -- and the company has agreed to modify its representations.
The Consumer Protection Division looked into the matter when an Iowa mother received a letter last fall inviting her son to join other outstanding middle school students from Central Iowa who are eligible for People to People and a 20-day travel and study trip to Europe in 2006. The letter indicated her son who died in 1993 at seven weeks of age has been recommended for the honor by a teacher, former Student Ambassador or national academic listing.
We understand a student generally must pay about $5,000 to go on one of the trips abroad, Miller said. We conveyed our concern to People to People that parents who are induced to believe that their child was selected on merit are potentially misled, and may be improperly manipulated into making substantial expenditures they might otherwise decline to make.
The Attorney Generals Office learned that in-person presentations to families who receive the invitation letter also convey the message that students are specially selected as an honor, and People to People representatives describe the program similarly over the telephone.
People to People International and Ambassadors Group, Inc, which markets the travel programs, have agreed to modify the introductory letter and the in-person presentation that relate to the Student Ambassador travel program to address the Attorney Generals concerns that aspects are misleading. People to People also donated $20,000 to Blank Childrens Hospital and $5,000 to the Iowa SIDS Foundation charities supported by the family of the child who died in 1993.