Purpose: These procedures define the requirements for implementation of Policy #4000.12 to provide academic and experiential education abroad opportunities for faculty, staff, and students/participants in order to expand their cultural and global competence.
Applicability: Faculty, Staff and Students/Participants
Part 1. Authority
This procedure is issued pursuant to the Minnesota State College and University Board Policy 3.41 (Education Abroad Programs Policy) and Procedure 3.41.1 (Education Abroad Programs Procedure).
Part 2. Definitions
Education Abroad – An international education option designed to gain global and cultural competence that may result in academic credit. This experience may include faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members.
Faculty Led Programs – A credit-based education abroad program, in which a South Central College (SCC) faculty member arranges travel, develops itinerary, organizes tours, and may lead service projects in addition to course instruction.
Third Party Provider– The College contracts a vendor that arranges travel, develops itinerary, organizes tours, and leads service projects. The vendor may be another college or university, a nonprofit organization, a for-profit business, or a consortium that offers education abroad services.
Cultural Exchange– A faculty or staff led cultural experience to/from an international partner institution with whom SCC has signed a reciprocal agreement (Memorandum of Understanding). Typically, students are integrated with host country students.
Student Exchange– Designed to be a reciprocal exchange of students from one institution to another, with a signed reciprocal agreement (Memorandum of Understanding) between the institutions. Typically, students are integrated with host country students.
Other International Experiences – A non-SCC sponsored, student-initiated international opportunity such as participation in a credit-bearing course that SCC may accept in transfer.
Part 3. Education Abroad Procedures
- Student/Participant Requirements
Participants of all Education Abroad programs must be over 18 years old, must be in good academic standing (if applicable), and must be enrolled in the course for credit-based Education Abroad programs.
- All participants must be at least 18 years of age before the Education Abroad experience begins.
- Students who are not in good academic standing or who are on disciplinary probation may not participate in Education Abroad programs unless approved through the appeal process.
- Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) students are ineligible for Education Abroad travel experiences.
- For Education Abroad experiences that may result in SCC academic credit, all selected participants must enroll in the identified course.
- Students who are not U.S. citizens may participate in Education Abroad programs with the prior approval of the college.
- Participants may be subject to a background check.
- Selection Criteria
- A minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0.
- Students/Participants must complete an application and receive approval. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Preferential treatment will be given to degree seeking students.
- Personal preparedness may be determined through an interview process.
- Program Fees and Billing
- A refundable application fee is required with all SCC Education Abroad applications. The application fee will be applied to trip expenses for successful applicants and refunded to those not selected to participate.
- Students/Participants pay SCC tuition and, in most cases, a program fee that may include host costs for tuition, room, and meal plan on site (when relevant). Except in rare cases, the program fee does not cover the cost of transportation (airfare) to the program site.
- Specific program deposits must be paid at the time of acceptance into the program. Deposits are applied to the cost of the program. Participants are billed the full program cost via their student account. The student/participant must pay all tuition, fees, and travel expenses before the stated deadline and prior to date of departure.
- Application fees and program deposits must be paid directly to SCC by the participant one week after the participant is selected into the program. These costs may be due in advance of the usual financial aid disbursement schedule.
- Financial aid applies towards SCC approved Education Abroad programs. Students may request a budget adjustment from SCC Financial Aid Office for additional costs of an off-campus SCC approved Education Abroad program.
- When available and appropriate, Foundation funds may be used to subsidize participant travel. The Education Abroad lead will inform participants of internal and/or external financial support that may be available.
- Cancellations and Refunds
- The Education Abroad application fee is non-refundable.
- Student/Participant initiated cancellations for Education Abroad programs must be submitted in writing to the program faculty or staff.
- SCC administration reserves the right to cancel a program at any time. Students/Participants may apply their deposit toward the cost of another Education Abroad program or course that is still accepting applicants; or they may choose to have their program deposit refunded.
- The estimated program cost range is based on minimum and maximum number of participants who may be accepted into the program. Program costs are the most accurate estimates possible, but they are subject to change. Participants will not have an option to cancel their participation in the program due to an adjustment in cost.
- Participants who have been accepted into an Education Abroad program and have paid the deposit are financially committed to the Education Abroad experience. Those who decide not to participate within 90 days of departure, will forfeit the deposit and will be responsible for all unrecoverable payments made on their behalf. This also applies to cancellation due to medical issues.
- SCC students who withdraw from the College are subject to all unrecoverable payments that have been expended on their behalf.
- Should an unavoidable event result in the cancellation of an Education Abroad program before commencement, recoverable costs paid by SCC on behalf of the Student/Participant, will be refunded. In the event the College cancels a program, 100% reimbursement cannot be guaranteed. Examples of unavoidable events include, but are not limited to, epidemic, civil unrest, threat of terrorist activity, medical pandemic, or other unforeseen occurrence.
- Should an unavoidable event result in removal of participants from the program site after program commencement, every effort will be made to ensure program continuity at a safe location. Refunds will not be issued.
- Should a State Department Travel Warning be issued for a country after participants have been accepted into the program in that country, and before they leave the U.S., and the College decides to cancel the program, all recoverable costs paid by SCC on behalf of the participant prior to that time will be refunded.
- We strongly encourage participants to purchase travel cancellation insurance as soon as they are accepted into the Education Abroad program.
- In the event of an Education Abroad course cancellation involving a third party provider, SCC will inform Students/Participants of the course cancellation and that SCC is no longer affiliated with the experience.
- Any student who receives financial aid funds then withdraws from an Education Abroad program will be subject to the Return to Title IV and the SCC refund policies.
Part 4. Program Approval and Pre-Departure Requirements
Subpart A. Proposal Approval
Before any Education Abroad promotional activities occur:
- The faculty or staff leader will secure and provide documented support from their department/division supervisor (e.g. letter/email of support).
- All leaders proposing an Education Abroad program will meet with the Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs minimally one year in advance to request approval.
- The Education Abroad proposal should include the following:
- Education Abroad program description;
- Common course outline for credit courses or learning outcomes for cultural exchange programs and assessment measures;
- Tentative itinerary outline including program length;
- Timeline (tentative travel dates, trip registration deadline, minimum numbers, orientation dates, deposit and payment dates, refund and cancellation dates, etc.);
- Comprehensive transportation plans (including abroad);
- Housing arrangements;
- Budget including estimated participant and college costs;
- Plan for communicating with campus personnel (program leader should secure an international phone plan for emergencies and share the number with participants, participant emergency contacts, and the Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs);
- A health, safety and security assessment for travel destinations;
- A list of recreational or service activities, if applicable;
- Information on coordinating institutions or anticipated vendors, if applicable;
- Names and identities of travel leaders and associated contingency plans if travel leader(s) cannot participate (ratio of faculty/staff to the number of participants should ensure appropriate guidance and safety);
- Cancellation policy and deadlines including information on participant-initiated, college-initiated, and third party initiated cancellations. Participant-initiated withdrawal must include implications for financial aid, as well as any applicable financial penalties and program costs;
- A sample promotional brochure or communication that includes notice of health and safety information available through the Office of Higher Education;
- An emergency plan, including a plan for communications with the appropriate parties (participants, participants emergency contacts, SCC contact, etc.), in situations where an in-progress program needs to be terminated;
- If using a third party provider, a copy of the college and instructor agreements.
- The leader must seek review and approval by the Internationalization Committee. Education Abroad experiences that may result in SCC academic credit must also be reviewed and approved by the Academic Affairs and Standards Council for curriculum approval.
- The Internationalization Committee chair shall consult with system office risk management and legal counsel as appropriate. Requests for travel to a country that is under a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning must additionally be approved by the chancellor or his/her designee.
- The leader must meet with the Vice President of Finance and Operations for budget approval, secure a method for participant payment, establish an education abroad program cost center, and determine if a cash advance and/or college credit card is appropriate for the specific location.
- College employees must obtain presidential authorization by completing the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities International Travel Form prior to any promotional activities.
- Each Internationalization Committee member must complete training on international travel (based on The Forum on Education Abroad Standards of Good Practice) prior to approving any Education Abroad program. The committee membership shall minimally include representatives from academic affairs, student affairs, and two faculty members.
Subpart B. Pre-Travel Training
- Health and Safety Training.
All leaders of Education Abroad programs must participate in and document their participation in a pre-travel health and safety-training program. Training will include the following Minnesota State and SCC policies, procedures, protocols and practices:
- SCC Education Abroad lead resource site;
- Pre-departure and onsite orientation outlines and packets;
- ADA compliance;
- Approval forms for Student/Participant International Travel;
- Board Policy 5.14 Contracts and Procurement Training;
- Emergency Response Plan Documentation;
- Health Insurance availability;
- Minnesota State Employee Acknowledgment of International Travel Risks and Responsibilities Form;
- Minnesota State Procedure 5.18.1 Alcohol Use and Controlled Substances on Campus Training;
- Minnesota State Procedure 1C.0.1 Employee Code of Conduct Training;
- Minnesota State Procedure 5.19.3 Travel Management Training;
- U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory Procedure;
- Performing and monitoring review (include frequency of review);
- Third party Providers;
- Presidential approval;
- Minnesota State 3.1 Student Rights and Responsibilities Training;
- Emergency Campus Contact Protocol;
- Federal and state health and safety reporting requirements (Minnesota Statutes 5.41, Clery Act 20 U.S.C. § 1092 (f);
- Student acknowledgement and agreement form;
- Risk Assessment for sites and activities:
- Health Issues (request disclosure of hospitalizations and deaths related to participation in Education Abroad programs)
- Log Review
Subpart C. Participant Documentation
After a participant has been accepted into an Education Abroad program, the following documentation must be collected and provided to the Vice President Student and Academic Affairs a minimum of eight (8) weeks prior to departure:
- Approved Minnesota State International Travel Form;
- A copy of a valid U.S. passport (copies of passport/passport card and driver’s license will be kept on file);
- A copy of a valid Visas (if applicable);
- Proof of required immunizations;
- Proof of HTH Study Abroad Health and Accident insurance (copy of card will be kept on file). All participants (including faculty and staff) must be enrolled in Education Abroad insurance for all dates of travel. Policy information, including insurance provider and policy number, must be provided. Insurance should include:
- Hospitalization abroad;
- Clinic/out-patient coverage abroad;
- Mental health coverage abroad;
- Emergency medical evacuation;
- Emergency evacuation of group in event of political or natural disaster;
- Repatriation of remains in the event of a death abroad.
- Emergency contact information (designated individual not traveling on the program) to be contacted in the event of an emergency);
- Disclosure of known medical conditions including active medical prescriptions information(can only ask for voluntary disclosure);
- Disclosure of any disabilities and/or request for accommodations; records related to requests for reasonable accommodations will be retained in accordance with campus procedures;
- Copy of registration for the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP);
- Liability/Assumption of Risk Waiver: All participants must sign a waiver of liability and assumption of risk document;
- Signed Code of Conduct Agreement: All participants must sign an Education Abroad code of conduct agreement that specifies terms and conditions of travel and expectations for each Education Abroad program, and consequences of non-compliance (including removal from program at participant’s expense and possible legal or disciplinary action);
- Location Specific Risks: Each participant must sign an assumption of risk statement indicating they received State Department Consulate Information, a Center for Disease Control (CDC) statement regarding disease risks, and any other site-specific information;
- All participants must complete the Minnesota State Student Release and Waiver agreement and the Health Information collection form;
- Photos/Testimonials Release: All participants must sign a Photo Release and Waiver of Liability, which may be used for Education Abroad marketing materials.
- Student acknowledgement and agreement form.
Subpart D: Pre-Travel Orientation
All leaders of Education Abroad programs will conduct a mandatory pre-departure orientation at least three weeks prior to travel, keeping a log of participants. Any student who does not attend orientation will lose SCC approval to study abroad. The orientation will address, at a minimum:
- Review of final itinerary;
- Applicable conduct policies and information on how participants may raise complaints including, but not limited to, sexual harassment or assault;
- Procedures on dealing with alcohol use, illegal drug use and other behavioral incidents;
- Information and associated guidance on health, safety, and security precautions including the need to bring adequate supplies of prescription medication;
- Expectations for immunizations as required by the CDC;
- Review of communications and emergency protocols;
- Appropriate cultural information about the travel destination and adjusting to the environment;
- Participant required forms completion;
- Resources for counseling or other services for student re-entry adjustments;
- In-travel emergency contact information;
- Secure signed student memorandum of understanding for consequences of alcohol use, illegal drug use, and other behavior incidents.
Subpart E: Pre-Departure Documentation
All leaders of approved Education Abroad programs will submit the following items to the Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs in an organized binder (minimally three weeks prior to travel):
- The SCC Education Abroad Program Information D2L Site (minimally includes dates of travel, lodging information, contact information for consulate offices/embassies/police offices/hospitals/health clinics/other local resources);
- Emergency response plan;
- Risk management plan;
- SCC Education Abroad daily itineraries;
- Participant pre-departure orientation outline, registrations, and signed student memorandum of understanding;
- On-site orientation outline and information;
- Approved International Travel Employee Release Form;
- Approved out-of-area travel request form including the names of all student participants;
- Copy of email to the nearest U.S. embassy to inform them of the Education Abroad program;
- Latest U. S. Department Travel Warnings and Center for Disease Control visa and vaccination for entry into and out of destination country;
- If using a third party provider, a copy of both the fully executed college agreement and instructor agreement.
Subpart F: Other
- Employees acting as a program lead for an Education Abroad program shall promptly inform the Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs of any changes to their travel itinerary or other plans, relevant changes to U.S. Department of State Travel Warnings or Advisories, and changes to individual or program contact information.
- Employees acting as a program lead for an Education Abroad program must not receive an unallowable benefit (see Minnesota State Procedure 1C.0.1 Employee Code of Conduct). All faculty and student codes of conduct apply equally abroad as they do in the U.S.
NOTE: All personal documentation, such as passports or health documentation will remain private and secure per college policies.
Part 5. In-Travel Requirements
Subpart A: In-travel Orientation
- Program leaders shall provide an on-site orientation within 24 hours of arrival and maintain documentation of participation.
- A review of the culture, laws, and unique risks of the location must be included.
- Transportation for education abroad participants must be public transportation or contracted drivers and vehicles. While abroad, employees may not drive motor vehicles in which students are passengers, without pre-approval of the Minnesota State Office of Risk Management. Participants are not permitted to drive motor vehicles (including, but not limited to, scooters, motorbikes, motorcycles, or cars) except in unusual circumstances and with the prior approval of the Minnesota State Office Risk Management.
- The program leader shall monitor warnings from the U.S. Department of State; the Center for Disease Control; the World Health Organization; news of natural disasters, wars or other types of political disturbances; or other indicators of potential health or safety threats. If warranted, the program leader will communicate with the Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs to modify travel plans as may be required to protect the health and safety of participants.
- Participants are subject to the laws of the host country and to the rules and regulations of the host institution. While abroad, participants must comply with all applicable policies, rules, regulations, and the SCC student code of conduct. Students/Participants engaging in misconduct will be subject to SCC disciplinary action. Participants dismissed from the program will not receive a refund.
- Participants must carry your passport and HTH Study Abroad Health and Accident Insurance card at all times while abroad.
- Alcohol use during scheduled program time will only be permitted with SCC presidential pre-approval, consistent with System Procedure 5.18.1, upon appropriate academic rationale presented by the program leader in advance of travel abroad.
Subpart B: Communications
- Program leaders must be in regular communication with the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. They must notify him/her of safe group arrival and provide other routine updates.
- In the event of an incident or emergency, the Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs must be notified as soon as possible (within 24 hours) after securing the safety of participants.
Subpart C: Program Assessment
- During the education abroad program, assessments will be conducted to analyze participant satisfaction and for quality program improvement.
Part 6. Post-Travel Requirements
- Upon return, the program, personnel, and financial resources should be assessed by the Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs so that subsequent programs are improved based on the assessment.
- Program leaders will provide a report, which includes incident information, health and safety information, student’s evaluation of the program, evaluation of travel vendors, if applicable, and other information requested by the college.
- All records related to education abroad programs that are organized, promoted, and approved by SCC must be retained in accordance with SCC records-retention schedule.
- Program leads are required to document any incidents (emergency, discipline, health, faculty interventions and submit the program’s daily log to the Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs upon return.
- If an emergency occurs, SCC will conduct an assessment including a review of incident logs and reports, and interviews with those affected. The assessment should determine what steps could be taken to improve future responsiveness.
- All approved business related expenses must be submitted to the Business Office per the SCC and Minnesota State 5.19.3 Travel Management Procedure.
Part 7. Emergency Procedures
In the event of an emergency, program leaders will, as described below, contact the Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs. All media communication must be coordinated through the SCC Office of Marketing and Communications at 507.389.7289.
- Arrest or Incarceration
In the event of an arrest or incarceration, the program leader will account for each participant; contact the local embassy of the participant’s origin; follow emotional trauma protocol for participants who exhibit signs of emotional stress or trauma; and contact the Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs. The Vice President will complete an incident report within 24 hours and notify the participant’s emergency contacts.
- Code of Conduct Violations
In the event that a student code of conduct violation is reported, the program leader must conduct a student code of conduct evaluation and follow the SCC code of conduct process. Program leaders must complete an incident report and implement necessary disciplinary action.
The program lead is responsible for immediately contacting and working with local officials (police, coroner, or embassy). The program lead will contact the Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs and inform other program participants of the situation. The continuance of the program activities is at the discretion of the program lead in consultation with the Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs. The Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs will notify the participant’s emergency contact and keep them updated on next steps; will notify the U.S. Embassy; will work with the program lead and college staff to assist in-country partners on repatriation of remains.
- Emergency Health
In all emergency health incidents, the program lead will monitor the condition of the participant, contact local health providers, ensure participant care, contact the Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs to help complete an SCC Incident Report within 24 hours of the incident by email or fax. The Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs will notify the participant’s emergency contact and keep them updated.
In the event of an evacuation, the program leader will account for all participants, complete any necessary incident reports, and contact the Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs. The Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs will notify the participant’s emergency contact and keep them updated. If necessary, SCC staff will contact the medical evacuation insurance providers.
In the case of severe illness requiring hospitalization, the program lead will assist the participant in registering at a previously identified hospital, arrange for translation, and document all interactions with physicians and hospital personnel.
- Inaccessible Program Lead/Participant
If the program leads are inaccessible during the Education Abroad program, participants are required to follow protocol as described in the pre-departure orientation, which should include contacting the Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs and reconvening at the resident location until further instructions are provided. In the case of an emergency, participants can also seek assistance at the U.S. Embassy.
If a participant is inaccessible to the program lead/group, the program lead must contact the Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs and or local emergency resources as described in the site specific Emergency Plan.
- Mental Health Concerns
In the event of a mental health emergency, the program lead will work with appropriate local counseling or mental health professionals as necessary. The program lead will contact the Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs immediately to communicate with the participant’s emergency contacts.
- Natural Disasters
In the event of a natural disaster, the program lead must account for all participants and contact the Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs as soon as possible. Once notified by the program lead, the Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs will notify participant emergency contacts and keep them updated, as well as contact the U.S. Embassy. The Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs will monitor the situation with the program lead and collaboratively determined if conditions are returned to normal and activities can resume or if the program should be cancelled.
Participants should gather at a predetermined site. If participants are unable to gather at the predetermined site, they should phone their program lead, if possible, and find shelter. Participants may also seek assistance at the U.S. Embassy.
Part 8. Academic Procedures
Subpart A: Credits and Grades
- Credit earned by the participant on approved student and cultural exchange and/or other Education Abroad experiences will normally transfer as credit, and may fulfill program requirements subject to departmental approval. This approval should be sought by the student prior to departure.
- Students may use financial aid for SCC preapproved credit-based Education Abroad programs.
- Education Abroad credits, on approved programs, may transfer back to SCC.
- Courses completed on semester or academic year programs may not be taken for pass/fail unless that is the only grading option available for the course. Any student taking a course for pass/fail must notify the Vice President Student and Academic Affairs prior to taking the course. In all other cases, students on semester or academic year programs must register for letter grades.
- Transfer credit is awarded only after receipt of an official transcript from the host institution.
- Courses must not be a repeat of previous coursework or more elementary than previous coursework, with rare exceptions and prior approval.
- Courses must be college-level (e.g., no remedial classes).
- Students who leave SCC to enroll in a non-Minnesota State sponsored Education Abroad program (i.e. program in a country for which the U.S. State Department has issued a Travel Warning) may transfer credits subject to Vice President Student and Academic Affairs and program department approval.
- SCC shall determine whether faculty led Education Abroad programs are credit or non-credit bearing. Credits awarded through Education Abroad programs that are not SCC sponsored may be evaluated for transfer credit pursuant to System Procedure 3.21.1.
Part 9. Third Party Provider Programs
- The requirements of this procedure apply to Education Abroad programs offered through a third party provider pursuant to a contract with SCC.
- All third party providers must use a contract signed by SCC’s Vice President Finance and Facilities. Contracts with providers should include clear standards and expectations for safety and responsibility, clear instruction for payment and options for refund, and include 24-hour contact information if the organization is providing in-country emergency services. Contracts should be reviewed by Minnesota State General Counsel and/or Office of Risk Management and in compliance with other college purchasing/contracting requirements.
- All third party providers must be pre-approved. Criteria for approval may include type or location of program, support services offered, curricular focus, health/safety oversight, or other factors. All third party providers (e.g. lodging and/or travel support) must be reviewed for reputation and quality. Third party provider programs must comply with the Minnesota State Code of Ethics.
- SCC will inform students that any information they receive about non-contracted third party providers does not constitute an endorsement, approval, or evidence that the college has vetted the third party provider. SCC shall also inform the students of the potential risks when engaging with third party providers.
Part 10. Compliance with Legislation
South Central College shall submit education abroad student data in compliance with Minn. Stat. § 5.41 Study Abroad Programs and the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security and Campus Crime Statistics Act, codified at 20 U.S.C. § 1092 (f).
Part 11. Procedure Review
This procedure will be reviewed and modified as appropriate through both the Internationalization Committee and the Academic Affairs and Standards Council process.
Related policies, procedures or plans
- Board Policy 1A.10 Emergency Management
- Board Policy 1B.1 Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination in Employment and Education
- Board Policy 1B.3 Sexual Violence Policy
- Board Policy 1B.4 Access and Accommodation for Individuals with Disabilities
- Board Policy 3.41 Education Abroad Programs
- Board Policy 5.12 Tuition and Fee Due Dates, Refunds, Withdrawals and Waivers
- Board Policy 5.18 Alcoholic Beverages or Controlled Substances on Campus
- System Procedure 1B.1.1 Report/Complaint of Discrimination/Harassment Investigation and Resolution
- System Procedure 1B.3.1 Response to Sexual Violence
- System Procedure 1C.0.1 Employee Code of Conduct
- System Procedure 3.21.1 Undergraduate Course Credit Transfer
- System Procedure 3.41.1 Education Abroad Programs
- System Procedure 4.0.1 Use of Volunteers Procedure
- System Procedure 5.11.1 Tuition and Fees
- System Procedure 5.14.2 Consultant, Professional or Technical Services, and Income Contracts
- System Procedure 5.14.5 Purchasing
- System Procedure 5.19.3 Travel Management
- U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) https://step.state.gov/step/
- Study Abroad Student Orientation Checklist
- Office of Higher Education https://www.ohe.state.mn.us/sPages/SAHS.cfm
- To view the following related statutes, go to the Revisor’s Web site (http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/). 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
Date & Subject of Revisions: April 20, 2018