3.14 International Study Programs


This policy establishes basic standards of quality assurance, financial management, risk management, and personal safety for all UNI programs and activities involving student, faculty, and staff travel and residence abroad.  Issues of academic content are governed by University policies and processes dealing with curriculum.

Policy Statement

The University of Northern Iowa encourages student, faculty, and staff participation in University and Regent sponsored international activities.  The Study Abroad Center (SAC) is the campus unit responsible for oversight of all international study programs involving students, faculty, and/or staff traveling abroad, whether for credit or not for credit and regardless of program duration.  SAC helps ensure that student, faculty, and staff transportation, housing and other logistical arrangements for study abroad activities meet personal safety standards, international travel regulations and are accurately reported and accounted for according to University policies governing financial transactions.  The SAC works with faculty directors and other units involved in program delivery to develop a program budget which supports and maintains the financial viability of the international study program.  In the case of degree programs offered abroad, SAC coordinates program services with the Office of Continuing and Distance Education.

To minimize risk to students, faculty, staff, and other participants in international programs and activities, all University departments and program faculty and staff will work through and with the SAC to meet the goal of offering consistent, high quality, and safe international study and program opportunities.  The SAC will review all program arrangements and is responsible for overseeing compliance with University quality, financial, safety and risk management standards. Upon recommendation of the SAC director, the Executive Vice President and Provost or her/his designee has final authority to determine whether an international study program will be adopted, continued, revised or discontinued.


This policy is implemented through procedures detailed in the SAC Handbook for deans, department heads and faculty members.  Procedures will be reviewed and updated at least annually and notice of changes will be provided to Handbook users when complete.  At a minimum:

  1. Any faculty member or University department interested in proposing a new international study program, whether for credit or not for credit and regardless of program duration, must follow established curricular processes and SAC procedures for submitting a program proposal for review.
  2. The Study Abroad Center will maintain a central database of all study abroad programs and international travel by faculty, staff, and students.  All programs and departments must cooperate with the SAC in providing the required program information in a timely manner.  The database will include all information necessary to comply with the health, safety, reporting, and emergency protocols of the University.
  3. Each student applicant to a study abroad program must complete the Study Abroad Center's online application to be considered as a participant in the program.  Student applicants will be accepted as program participants once they have provided all required documentation and fee payments as described in the SAC online checklist or participant handbook.  Failure to provide the appropriate documentation by the deadline established by SAC may result in a participant being dropped from the program.
  4. All participants are responsible for payment of appropriate tuition, study abroad fees, travel expenses, and international health and travel insurance (as specified by SAC).  All tuition and fees must be charged on the student's U-Bill.  Co-curricular programs are exempt from the Study Abroad fees.  Questions regarding policy application(s) to special programs not clearly study abroad or co-curricular shall be resolved by the Executive Vice President and Provost or her/his designee.  All cash handling procedures will conform to University policies and requirements.
  5. All units at UNI sponsoring student or faculty travel abroad shall ensure that appropriate pre-departure orientation and post-program debriefing are provided.  Pre-departure orientation shall include disclosure of known risks to health and personal safety, academic practices at the host location, and known cultural and legal norms that vary from customs in the United States. Post-program debriefing shall include information regarding reverse culture shock and re-entry into American society.
  6. All university departments/programs must collect standard program evaluations and student learning assessments.
  7. Program faculty directors and/or sponsoring departments may request the discontinuance of a program at any time.  Departments and colleges shall ensure that all student obligations are being met before forwarding a recommendation that a program be discontinued.

Office of International Programs, approved December 10, 2010
President's Cabinet, approved March 19, 2012