Frequently Asked Questions

General

What exactly is study abroad? Do I get credit for it?

Study abroad is an opportunity to take courses in another country and earn credit toward your degree program at Utah State. Students who go on faculty-led programs will be directly enrolled in USU courses, while credits for students studying on any other type of program will come back as transfer credits.

Do I have to speak another language to study abroad?

No! There are many program options where courses are taught in English. Though, if you would like to learn a new language from scratch, or build upon existing language skills, there are also many programs available.

Will study abroad affect my ability to seek resident status?

The Utah residency policy, R512, allows students to be absent from the state for certain programs required by the institution (see Section 5.3). In order for an absence to be waived, you must be receiving academic credit and the program must be required for graduation. Please complete the Absence From Utah For the Purpose of Required Institutional Programs form and email it to residency@usu.edu for verification. Providing this form does not guarantee an absence will be waived. Final approval must come from the Residency Office.

I’m 17. Can I study abroad?

If you are under 18, please notify your study abroad advisor. You will need to meet the program criteria and your guardian must sign a waiver allowing your participation in study abroad. 

I’m a new transfer student. When can I study abroad?

We recommend that transfer students spend at least one full-time semester at USU before studying abroad. This ensures that you integrate into the university community and have learned from your experience on campus before going abroad. If you do not meet this guideline, please discuss your situation with your study abroad advisor.

I want to participate in a study abroad program that is not listed on your website. Can I do the program and get credit through study abroad?

If you’d like to participate in a program that is not approved by study abroad, first discuss the program and your motivations for participation in the particular program with your study abroad advisor. There may be similar program options that are already approved, and your advisor will work with you to find an approved option that works for you.

If you do not find an appropriate approved program, and you have specific academic reasons for wanting to participate in an unapproved program, apply for the Independent Program Petition in our program search. You will be asked as part of the application for a statement outlining the reasons why your program will meet your academic needs and how other USU-approved programs do not meet your educational goals.

Study abroad staff will evaluate your application according to the program’s relevance to your educational goals as well as whether the program fills a unique need as compared to other USU-approved programs. Study abroad staff will also consider the support services, housing, facilities, cultural immersion and security conditions of the program.

What if I want to bring my spouse, or other dependents, with me on study abroad?

If you are a student who is married and your spouse would like to join you while you participate on a study abroad program, this is possible!

For Semester or Academic Year Programs

Exchange programs: It depends on the program, but many exchange partners will accommodate spouses. In these cases, spouses can accompany students or if the spouse is a USU student, the spouse can also apply to participate as a student on the exchange program.

A few elements to consider when a spouse is accompanying a student on a program abroad, but not participating as a student:

  • Insurance for the spouse (available for purchase through USU Risk Management).
  • Visa for the spouse, if needed.
  • Married student housing, if desired; USU Study Abroad can assist in finding married student housing information for exchange programs.
  • How will a spouse occupy his/her time while the student is in classes or studying (is employment or an internship possible on the visa type s/he is able to obtain)?
  • Come up with a list of any other considerations particular to your situation

Direct: Accommodating spouses is at the discretion of the program provider.

For Summer or Short-Term Programs

Faculty-led: Spouses can participate on faculty-led programs as paying participants. A spouse may not accompany a student without also being a student on the program. If a spouse is not already a USU student, but wishes to apply for a faculty-led program, the spouse would need to apply to USU as a non-degree seeking student, as well as apply to the study abroad program.

If you are interested in bringing dependents with you, whether a spouse, children, etc., contact USU Study Abroad to discuss options, as some locations/programs will be more accommodating for dependents than others.

I'm a freshman. Can I study abroad?

Yes! We generally recommend that freshman spend at least two semesters at USU before studying abroad, but all short-term spring break and summer programs are open to freshmen, and freshmen may be considered for longer programs as well. If you will spend less than two semesters at USU before going abroad (with the exception of spring break programs), speak with your study abroad advisor and explain why it would be beneficial for you to go abroad now rather than later in your academic career. This will be taken into consideration for your application.

Academic

My GPA is lower than the recommended minimum GPA for the program I want to do. Can I still apply?

Yes, we encourage you to apply! While each program has a recommended minimum GPA for student participants to ensure successful academic participation, we recognize that individual circumstances may mean that students do not meet the eligibility guidelines for study abroad. In these cases, please discuss your situation with your study abroad advisor. If appropriate, your study abroad advisor will ask you to provide an explanation explaining your situation.

How can I get my transcript from my study abroad?

If you did a USU faculty-led program, you will receive USU credit on your USU transcript automatically. If you did an exchange or direct program, please notify your institution to send your transcript directly to Office of Global Engagement, Study Abroad. Once Study Abroad receives your transcript, Study Abroad will notify you.

You will have access to your transcript through the Document Center in your application, and you may pick up the official copy of your transcript from Study Abroad. It is helpful to keep the official copy in the signed and sealed envelope in case you are applying for a graduate program or job in which you need to submit an official transcript from your study abroad experience.

If you need additional copies of your transcript, Study Abroad can provide a copy of your transcript with an official letter in a signed and sealed envelope. The cost for this service is $5 per transcript copy if you pick it up and $10 if it is shipped to you. See the Returning Students webpage for more information about how to order your transcript.

Can I audit a study abroad course?

Yes, in many cases this is possible. Auditing students still pay USU tuition per university policy. If you’d like to audit a faculty-led program course, discuss with the faculty leader, and if you’d like to audit an exchange or direct program course, discuss with your study abroad advisor. USU policy does not allow auditors to register prior to the first day of classes, so auditing students must register, pay tuition, then change their registration to audit beginning the first day of the class and before 20% of the class has completed.

Financial

I want to go on two study abroad programs in one year. Do I have to pay an application fee for each program?

The USU Study Abroad application fee is $150.00. The application fee is nonrefundable and must be paid in full before your application will be reviewed.

One application fee may cover two consecutive semesters of non-faculty-led programs (i.e. fall semester in one place, and spring semester in another place) or two faculty-led programs in the same semester. If you pay the application fee and do not participate, the application fee may be applied to a future program. Application fees cannot be transferred to another applicant.

If you paid an application fee in the last year, please email studyabroad@usu.edu to let us know you'd like to apply your previous payment to your new application.

It’s really expensive, right?

Not at Utah State! Many of our programs (exchange and faculty-led) are based on USU tuition and fees. Students who normally qualify for financial aid, including grants, scholarships and loans, may also apply these awards to their study abroad program fees and tuition. Check out our Explore Funding page for more information. There are also many scholarships specific to study abroad that students can apply for, check out our Scholarships page – Utah State has had students win Gilman scholarships, Fund for Education Abroad scholarships and CIEE scholarships.

Why do you charge an application fee?

The study abroad application fee goes toward our office’s administrative functions. Responsible management of study abroad has costs for the university beyond the direct payment of the program's bill. USU incurs costs for the following:

  • Developing programs with faculty, partner institutions and direct program providers. 
  • Evaluating study abroad programs and providers.  
  • Informing students and the university community about our programs and services. 
  • Advising individual students on program choice and academics. 
  • Maintaining an application management system. 
  • Reviewing applications, working in collaboration with individual programs and the university community. 
  • Coordinating with the Registrar's Office, Academic Advising, Disability Resource Center, CAPS and other campus parties to facilitate student programming. 
  • Helping students with scholarship applications and essays.   
  • Providing pre-departure orientations and essential emergency information prior to student study abroad. 
  • Administering business services to coordinate program funding.  
  • Supporting students throughout study abroad should issues come up. 
  • Guiding students through re-entry and career development after study abroad. 
  • Facilitating course articulation and transfer of credit.

My program website says it costs less than USU tuition, so why am I being charged USU tuition?

Studying abroad at USU is comparable to on-campus study. Students earn USU credit, articulated back to their USU record upon return home, and have access to university services while abroad. Paying tuition also allows students to apply financial aid, scholarships, grants, loans and the dependent half tuition benefit (if eligible) to study abroad programs. USU is then able to issue tax form 1098-T to students for the tuition amount paid.

Can I take an online course at USU during my study abroad, or additional courses before/after my study abroad in the same semester?

We don’t recommend that you take additional courses during your study abroad semester – give yourself enough time to explore, meet people, process the experience and do well in your existing study abroad courses!

However, if you choose to do this, be aware that you may be charged differently than you would be taking the same amount of credits during a non-study abroad semester.

Study abroad tuition is separate from other USU tuition since your study abroad tuition directly supports your program costs. For example, tuition paid for an exchange is used for an incoming exchange student; tuition paid for a faculty-led program is used for instructional costs; and tuition paid for a direct program is used for your program costs. Therefore, if you take a non-study abroad class during the same semester as your study abroad, it will be separate from your study abroad tuition and not counted toward the plateau tuition.

I can’t make my study abroad payment on time. Is there any penalty?

If the deposit, program fee and insurance, and/or tuition (tuition late fees are in effect for summer faculty-led programs only) are not paid by the deadlines, Study Abroad will assess a late fee of $25 the next business day after the due date and each week thereafter for 4 weeks. Study Abroad will withdraw your application one week after the 4th late fee has been charged if payment has still not been made. Late fees can accrue separately for the deposit, program fee and insurance, and/or tuition. Late fees will not be removed from your account after withdrawal and must be paid; deposits will not be returned, and program fees are refundable according to the Withdrawal Refund Policy. Tuition payments are also subject to university policy.

Can I do a payment plan for tuition?

Yes! Students may utilize the same tuition payment plan that the greater university offers. Information on the payment plan can be found at the Bursar's Office

I need to withdraw from my program. Are the fees I’ve paid refundable?

If you withdraw your application, the application fee is nonrefundable, but may be applied to a future program. Application fees cannot be transferred to another applicant. The deposit is nonrefundable and program fees are refundable according to the Withdrawal Refund Policy below. Tuition is refundable according to university semester policy, with the exception of tuition for summer faculty-led programs which is nonrefundable.

If you have a compelling reason (medical, illness/death in immediate family, academic, military, unanticipated financial situation or other) to withdraw from the program and provide supporting documentation, Study Abroad will consider an appeal sent via email to studyabroad@usu.edu. See the Refund Appeal form for details on how to appeal.

If the appeal is accepted, the amount of the refund will be at the sole discretion of Study Abroad. Refund appeals will be considered up to 90 days after the date of withdrawal.

Withdrawal Refund Policy for Study Abroad Programs

  • Application Fee ($150) is nonrefundable, but can be applied to another program 
  • Program Fee Deposit ($500) is nonrefundable 
  • Program Fee Balance: 
    • Full refund if withdrawal is greater than 90 days before program start date
    • Partial refund based on recoverable costs 30 to 89 days before program start date
    • No refund if withdrawal is less than 30 days before program start date

Exceptions to this policy may be granted for circumstances beyond the students' control, including but not limited to:

  • Program cancellation
  • Medical emergency
  • Family emergency

See the Refund Appeal form for details on how to appeal. Direct program providers may have policies which take precedence over this policy.

My program was cancelled by Study Abroad. Will I receive a refund?

Occasionally, a program must be cancelled for reasons beyond our control. The reasons can be wide-ranging, such as health and safety concerns, personnel issues or other factors.  

If a program must be cancelled, we will make every effort to refund all recoverable costs to students. Program providers are often paid well in advance of student travel, and it may be impossible to recover those costs.

Can I use financial aid, grants, or scholarships toward my study abroad program?

Students who qualify for financial aid, including grants, scholarships and loans, may also apply these awards to their study abroad program fees and tuition. Check out our Explore Funding page for more information, and discuss any questions you have about financial aid with your study abroad advisor and your financial aid counselor.

When are payments due for programs?

Payment for programs is broken up into three parts: deposit, program fee and insurance, and tuition.

Upon acceptance by USU Study Abroad, a $500 program deposit will be posted to your student account and is due two weeks after the date of acceptance. Deposits are due regardless of your financial aid status.

If there is a program fee or insurance fee for your program, due dates vary but generally follow the table below. All students pay USU tuition by the semester tuition deadline.

Once you start an application, the “Payments Process” section outlines payments in more detail. Feel free to be in touch at studyabroad@usu.edu if you have any questions or would like help in exploring funding.

Fee Deadlines

  • Fall or Academic Year: June 1*
  • Spring, Spring Break, or Calendar Year: December 1*
  • Summer: March 15*

Info
Please Note

*Faculty-led and direct program fee deadlines may vary; please check the program brochure and your Banner account.

If you are using financial aid, the "Financial Aid Sources -- Completed by Student" questionnaire must be completed two weeks before the program fee payment deadline.