System Procedure 3.41.1 Education Abroad Programs

System Procedures
Chapter 3 - Educational Policies

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for Board Policy 3.41

Part 1. Purpose
To establish consistent practices among colleges and universities of Minnesota State that offer education abroad programs to their students, or that sponsor, arrange, or approve for-credit education abroad programs offered through third-party providers.

Part 2. Definition

Education Abroad Program
A course or program sponsored or offered by a college, university, or third-party provider in which participants travel outside the United States in connection with an educational experience. Such activities include, but are not limited to, classroom study, educational tours, research, intern- or externships, and service learning. Also known as a study abroad program.
Third-party provider
An organization that facilitates or administers education abroad programs either independently or through contractual agreements with a college or university.

Part 3. Student Participation

Subpart A. Student eligibility
Colleges and universities that offer education abroad programs shall develop participation requirements and selection criteria for students participating in education abroad programs.
  1. Students who are not U.S. citizens may participate in education abroad programs with the prior approval of their college or university.
  2. Students who do not meet requirements for academic good standing or are on disciplinary probation may not participate in education abroad programs unless approved through an appeal process.
  3. Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) students and students under the age of 18 must be provided information about which, if any, education abroad programs are available to them, as well as information about procedures for application.
Subpart B. Credit or non-credit
Colleges and universities that offer education abroad programs shall determine whether faculty-led education abroad programs are credit or non-credit bearing. Credits awarded through education abroad programs offered by colleges, universities, or third-party providers that are not the student’s home college or university may be evaluated for transfer credit pursuant to System Procedure 3.21.1.

Part 4. Cancellations
Colleges and universities that offer education abroad programs shall articulate and publish clear cancellation policies and deadlines which cover student-initiated college, university, or third-party cancellations. Students who choose to withdraw from a program must be advised that their decision may have implications for their financial aid or financial aid eligibility as well as any applicable financial penalties and program costs.

Part 5. College and University Procedures
College and university procedures must contain or be in compliance with subparts A - D in this section regarding faculty-led education abroad programs.

Subpart A. Program planning
  1. Education abroad programs organized or promoted by a college or university must be within the scope of the mission and integrated into the curricula of the college or university.
  2. Proposed education abroad programs must be reviewed and approved through the appropriate campus process before any promotional activities occur. Such review must include, but not be limited to, a safety and security assessment, course content, academic credits, and enrollment criteria such as whether participants may audit a course that includes an education abroad component.
  3. Colleges and universities shall establish a plan for communications with the appropriate parties in situations where an in-progress program needs to be terminated for the health or safety needs of participants.
  4. College or university employees, students, volunteers, and other participants shall obtain written authorization from the college or university president prior to the proposed travel.

Subpart B. Pre-travel

  1. Faculty-led education abroad programs must include:
    1. a detailed daily travel itinerary;
    2. comprehensive transportation plans;
    3. housing arrangements;
    4. health and safety information for travel destinations;
    5. a list of recreational or service activities, if applicable;
    6. information on coordinating institutions or anticipated vendors, if applicable;
    7. names and identities of travel leaders and associated contingency plans if travel leader(s) cannot participate;
    8. a sample promotional brochure or communication that includes notice of health and safety information available through the Office of Higher Education; and
    9. an emergency plan.
  2. Employees who approve international travel for education abroad programs shall consult with system office Risk Management and Legal Counsel as appropriate.
  3. While abroad, employees may not drive motor vehicles in which students are passengers without the pre-travel approval of system office Risk Management.
  4. Travel to a country that is assigned a Level 3 or Level 4 U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory requires prior approval by the chancellor or designee.
  5. Education abroad program leaders shall be knowledgeable about and comply with all applicable college, university, and board policies and system procedures in organizing and conducting education abroad programs and with federal and state reporting requirements.
  6. Colleges and universities shall provide annual health and safety training to education abroad program leaders and document their participation.
  7. All participants shall provide documentation proving they have health insurance that includes adequate coverage for emergency evacuation and repatriation. Program leaders shall provide information to participants regarding available insurance options, including insurance coverage made available through system office Risk Management or the college or university Study Abroad Office, as applicable.
  8. Participants are required to complete a program application, a liability waiver and release, and a medical information form, consistent with applicable board policies, system procedures, and operational instructions. Colleges and universities may require additional forms as appropriate.
  9. Colleges and universities shall establish appropriate processes for participants to request reasonable accommodations, and for communicating appropriate information to program leaders. Records related to requests for reasonable accommodations must be retained in accordance with the applicable campus procedures.
  10. Colleges and universities shall direct participants to information (such as that provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and State Department) on current health issues and immunizations required or recommended by U.S. or foreign health authorities.
  11. Colleges and universities shall comply with health and safety reporting requirements of Minn. Stat. § 5.41 and the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security and Campus Crime Statistics Act, codified at 20 U.S.C. § 1092 (f).
  12. All participants are required to enroll in the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) and comply with any applicable safety directives while traveling.
  13. Colleges and universities shall provide and maintain documentation of participation in a pre-departure orientation that addresses, at a minimum:
    1. applicable conduct policies and information on how participants may raise complaints including, but not limited to, sexual harassment or assault,
    2. procedures on dealing with alcohol use, illegal drug use, and other behavioral incidents,
    3. information and associated guidance on health, safety, and security precautions,
    4. expectations for immunizations as required by the CDC,
    5. review of communications and emergency protocols,
    6. appropriate cultural information about the travel destination and adjusting to the environment, and
    7. completion of all required forms.
  14. Colleges and universities shall establish an ongoing campus contact protocol for program leaders abroad in the event of emergency situations that may require evacuation or other situations such as illness, student conduct concerns, or other significant matters that require campus administration intervention or direction.
  15. Employees acting as program leaders for an education abroad program shall promptly inform their college or university contact of any changes to their travel itinerary or other plans, any changes to U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories for travel destinations that may require re-approval, and any change in individual or program contact information.
  16. Campus officials have the right to suspend a program at any time.

Subpart C. In-travel

  1. Faculty program leaders shall provide an on-site orientation within 24 hours of arrival and maintain documentation of student participation.
  2. Transportation for education abroad participants must be public transportation or contracted drivers and vehicles. Employees may not drive motor vehicles in which students are passengers while abroad without approval of system office Risk Management.
  3. Students are not permitted to drive motor vehicles (including, but not limited to: scooters, motorbikes, motorcycles, or cars) while participating in an education abroad program except in unusual circumstances and with the approval of system office Risk Management.
  4. The college or university shall monitor U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories, warnings from the CDC or World Health Organization (WHO) and Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), news of natural disasters, wars or other types of political disturbances or other indicators of potential health or safety threats. The education abroad travel leader will coordinate with the college or university or the chancellor to modify travel plans or take other appropriate action as may be required to protect the health and safety of participants.
  5. Alcohol use during scheduled program time may be permitted with chancellor or college or university president approval, consistent with System Procedure 5.18.1, upon appropriate academic rationale presented by the program leader.
  6. Students studying abroad are subject to the laws of the host country and to the rules and regulations of the host institution. While abroad, students must comply with all applicable policies, rules, regulations, and their home college or university student code of conduct. Students engaging in misconduct will be subject to their home college or university disciplinary action. Students dismissed from a program due to violation of the code of conduct will not receive a refund.

Subpart D. Post-travel

  1. Colleges and universities shall establish procedures that require a program report after return which includes the collection of incident information for applicable state and federal law reporting, health and safety information, evaluation of travel vendors, if applicable, and other information requested by the college or university.
  2. Faculty-led programs must be reviewed regularly, following standard institutional program review procedures.
  3. All records related to education abroad programs organized, promoted, or approved by colleges and universities must be retained in accordance with applicable records retention schedules.

Part 6. Third-Party Provider Programs

Subpart A. Approved program list
Colleges and universities shall maintain a list of approved programs for students and be able to provide an explanation of the criteria used in adding or deleting a program from the approved list. Such criteria may include type or location of program, support services offered, curricular focus, health/safety oversight provided, or other factors.

Subpart B. Code of ethics
Inclusion of third-party provider programs on the list of approved programs must comply with the Minnesota State Code of Ethics.

Related Documents:

To view any of the following related statutes, go to the Revisor's Office website. You can conduct a search from this site by typing in the statute number.

  • Minn. Stat. § 5.41 Study Abroad Programs
  • Minn. Stat. § 43A.38 Code of Ethics for Employees in the Executive Branch

System Procedure History:

Date of Adoption: 12/06/17
Date of Implementation: 12/06/17
Date of Last Review: 06/07/23

Date and Subject of Amendments:

06/07/23 – Full review, added “Level 4” to Part 5, Subp. B, 4 and made several technical changes.

07/31/18 – Procedure was amended to reflect changes made by the U.S. Department of State to replace their former system of Travel Warnings and Alerts with Travel Advisories.

No additional HISTORY.