Study Abroad Policies

Student Eligibility

 

  • Applicants for off-campus study should be in good academic standing at WSU.
  • Students may not participate in an off-campus study program while on academic or disciplinary probation, or who have an open student conduct case.
  • The student’s account in the Warrior Hub must be paid in full or receive special clearance as a part of the application process.
  • Semester or academic year study overseas should include study of native language where appropriate.
  • Students must be registered as full-time students.
  • In general, students should have sophomore, juniors, or senior standing to apply for semester study away. Students of any year at WSU may enroll in Travel Study courses. However, some courses may have pre-requisites or require a certain year standing due to the nature of that particular program.

Financial Aid

Financial aid, with the exception of student employment, applies towards WSU approved programs. Students taking a leave of absence and applying for a non-approved WSU program may retain their Federal Aid but are ineligible for WSU restricted and unrestricted scholarships or loans. Students may file an amended FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) application based on additional costs of an off-campus study program.


Application Process

  • A minimum overall GPA of 2.5 is required for participation in semester off-campus study. Some programs require an even higher standard.
  • Students must complete an application and receive approval for the study program from International Programs and Services. Extensions of stay, early returns, and change of programs must have the University's approval (contact International Programs in these cases).
  • Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but must be submitted by March 1 for fall semester, February 1 for summer semester, and October 1 for spring semester.
  • Students may only study away for a semester or academic year on WSU-approved off campus programs, which are updated annually and listed online. Requests to apply to a non-approved program may be directed to the Assistant Vice President of International Programs and Services, but will only be approved if the petitioner demonstrates a valid academic rationale for the request and it is supported by the student’s major advisor.

Program Fees and Billing

  • A non-refundable $60 application fee is required with the WSU application.
  • Specific programs may also require an application fee which is non-refundable.
  • Specific program deposits must be paid to the International Programs office at the time of acceptance into the program. This deposit is applied to the cost of the program.
  • Application fees and program deposits cannot be covered by financial aid awards; they must be paid directly to the University by the participant because these are due in advance of the usual disbursement of aid secured for the purpose of study abroad.
  • Students pay WSU tuition plus, in most cases other than institutional exchanges, 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. For information on costs of WSU-approved programs, the student should meet with staff in the International Programs office.
  • Financial aid, with the exception of student employment, applies towards WSU approved programs. Students taking a leave of absence and applying for a non-approved WSU program may retain their Federal Aid but are ineligible for WSU restricted and unrestricted scholarships or loans. Students may file an amended FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) application based on additional costs of an off-campus study program.

Credits and Grades

  • Credit earned by the student on approved programs will normally transfer as credit toward graduation, and may fulfill major/minor requirements subject to departmental approval. This approval should be sought by the student prior to departure using the form for this purpose available in International Programs or in the student’s StudioAbroad account.
  • Students normally complete the same number of courses on an off-campus program as they would on the home campus.
  • Students will not be able to apply their financial aid if they make their own arrangements to enroll in a program other than a WSU approved program, unless prior approval has been obtained through a petition process to the Assistant Vice President of International Programs and Services.
  • All study away programs coursework on approved WSU programs transfers back to WSU and is calculated in the transfer GPA.
  • 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 Study Abroad Coordinator prior to taking the course. In all other cases, students on semester or academic year programs must register only for letter grades and may not use the P/N option. Letter grades cannot be switched to pass/fail 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 appropriate for a University curriculum (e.g., no intermediate algebra or remedial classes).
  • Occasionally a WSU University student leaves WSU in order to enroll in another institution’s off-campus study program. Students should be aware that if they choose to enroll in a program in a country for which the U.S. State Department has issued a Travel Warning, WSU will not accept any transfer credit from the non-WSU off-campus study program. WSU students who have not attended the University for one semester or more (summer excluded) are classified as "returning" students. Returning student must complete the Intent to Return form, http://www.winona.edu/registrar/intenttoreturn.asp.
  • Students who leave WSU to enroll in a program that is not on the WSU approved program list, and is not offered through one of the other MnSCU institutions, may transfer credits subject to approval by the Registrar and the major department. WSU financial aid does NOT apply for students who leave WSU to participate in a non-WSU or non-MnSCU sponsored off-campus study program. WSU students who have not attended the University for one semester or more (summer excluded) are classified as "returning" students. Returning student must complete the Intent to Return form, http://www.winona.edu/registrar/intenttoreturn.asp.
  • Participation in any of the approved off-campus study programs is available to all qualified students who indicate in writing their agreement to comply with the policies and procedures of the University and the International Programs and Services office. This required document is accessible in the student’s account on StudioAbroad.

Cancellation Policies and Refunds

  • Cancellations of application for semester programs must be submitted in writing to the International Programs office.
  • WSU administration reserves the right to cancel a program at any time.
  • WSU students who withdraw from both the program and the University are subject to the above fees plus any unrecoverable payments that have already been expended on their behalf.
  • Should an unavoidable event such as epidemic, civil unrest, threat of terrorist activity, or other unforeseen occurrence result in the cancellation of an entire session of a WSU program before commencement of the program, all recoverable costs paid by WSU on behalf of the student prior to that time will be refunded. Students will always forfeit their application fees but any program deposits paid to WSU will be refunded. The University ensures a good faith effort to reimburse students in the event the University cancels a program, but cannot guarantee 100% reimbursement. This policy also applies to cancellation related to medical pandemics such as influenza.
  • Should an unavoidable event such as epidemic, civil unrest, threat of terrorist activity, or other unforeseen occurrence result in removal of students from the program site after the program has commenced, every effort will be made to ensure program continuity at a safe location. This policy also applies to circumstances that may arise because of pandemics such as influenza.
  • Should a State Department Travel Warning be issued for a country after students have been accepted into the program in that country and before they leave the U.S., and the University decides to cancel the program, all recoverable costs paid by WSU on behalf of the student prior to that time will be refunded. Students will always forfeit their application fees but any program deposits paid to WSU will be refunded. The University ensures a good faith effort to reimburse students in the event the University cancels a program, but cannot guarantee 100% reimbursement.
  • We strongly encourage students or their families to purchase travel cancellation insurance. Our office works very hard to recover expenses that have already been paid on behalf of the student, but we cannot guarantee our providers will reimburse us. We do not endorse any particular travel insurance coverage, but quote comparisons can be found at insuremytrip.com. Make sure to review closely what the cancellation insurance includes and what it does not include. Cancellation insurance must be purchased immediately after acceptance into the program for the insurance to be effective.

Program Fees

  • Travel Study students pay the actual costs for the individual program. The fees listed are estimates (based on minimum and maximum number of students for the program) and include round-trip transportation from Minneapolis (except where indicated), prorating of instructor(s) expenses, normally breakfast and one other meal per day, airport transfers, visas (where required for U.S. citizens), medical insurance for international programs, planned excursions, entrance fees and tickets for scheduled group events, and accommodations, primarily in double or triple rooms in hotels, pensions, university dorms, hostels, or family homes. Private bathrooms are rarely provided. Roommate assignments are of the same gender.
  • A non-refundable $30 application fee is required with the application. Once a student is selected into the program, s/he has one week to make a $500 deposit confirming participation. This deposit is applied to the program costs. Students are billed the full program cost via the Student Accounts office per usual.
  • Application fees and program deposits cannot be covered by financial aid awards; they must be paid directly to the University by the participant because these are due in advance of the usual disbursement of aid secured for the purpose of study abroad.
  • Financial aid, with the exception of student employment, applies towards WSU approved programs. Students taking a leave of absence and applying for a non-approved WSU program may retain their Federal Aid but are ineligible for WSU restricted and unrestricted scholarships or loans. Students may file an amended FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) application based on additional costs of an off-campus study program.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

  • WSU administration reserves the right to cancel a program at any time.
  • WSU students who withdraw from both the program and the University are subject to the above fees plus any unrecoverable payments that have already been expended on their behalf.
  • The estimated program cost range is based on minimum and maximum number of students who may be accepted into the program (the max/min numbers are determined by faculty instructors based on the program content, destination, and planned program activities). Program costs are the most accurate estimates possible. However, since these fees are based on the best information available at the time program information is posted each year, these costs are subject to change due to a variety of factors including currency exchange rates, fuel surcharges, added airline taxes, and final number of students enrolled in the program. Students will not have an option to cancel their participation in the program due to an adjustment in cost.
  • If a student is not accepted to the program, the $500 deposit will be credited to the student account.
  • Students who have been accepted into a Travel Study program but decide within one month or less of program departure not to participate will forfeit the $500 deposit and will be responsible for all unrecoverable payments made on their behalf. It is important that students understand that once they submit an application for a Travel Study program they are making financial commitments. We recommend that PRIOR to submitting the application students speak to the faculty member leading the program for which they are applying in order to be as knowledgeable as possible about the program itinerary and requirements. This policy also applies to cancellation due to medical issues.
  • If a program is cancelled by International Programs and Services due to under enrollment, students may apply the $500 deposit toward the cost of another Travel Study program which is still accepting applicants, or they may choose to have their $500 program deposit refunded.
  • Should an unavoidable event such as epidemic, civil unrest, threat of terrorist activity, or other unforeseen occurrence result in the cancellation of an entire session of a WSU program before commencement of the program, all recoverable costs paid by WSU on behalf of the student prior to that time will be refunded. Students will always forfeit their application fees but any program deposits paid to WSU will be refunded. The University ensures a good faith effort to reimburse students in the event the University cancels a program, but cannot guarantee 100% reimbursement. This policy also applies to cancellation related to medical pandemics such as influenza.
  • Should an unavoidable event such as epidemic, civil unrest, threat of terrorist activity, or other unforeseen occurrence result in removal of students from the program site after the program has commenced, every effort will be made to ensure program continuity at a safe location. This policy also applies to circumstances that may arise because of pandemics such as influenza.
  • Should a State Department Travel Warning be issued for a country after students have been accepted into the program in that country and before they leave the U.S., and the University decides to cancel the program, all recoverable costs paid by WSU on behalf of the student prior to that time will be refunded. Students will always forfeit their application fees but any program deposits paid to WSU will be refunded. The University ensures a good faith effort to reimburse students in the event the University cancels a program, but cannot guarantee 100% reimbursement.
  • We strongly encourage students or their families to purchase travel cancellation insurance. Our office works very hard to recover expenses that have already been paid on behalf of the student, but we cannot guarantee our providers will reimburse us. We do not endorse any particular travel insurance coverage, but quote comparisons can be found at www.insuremytrip.com. Make sure to review closely what the cancellation insurance includes and what it does not include. Cancellation insurance must be purchased immediately after acceptance into the program for the insurance to be effective.

Medical Preparation and Insurance

Students are required to maintain their U.S. based health insurance for the duration of their time abroad. In addition:
  • Some programs require inoculations, and the details regarding what regions require certain inoculations can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Many programs require students to have a physical examination no more than six months prior to their departure date. This is required for students' health and safety.
  • Students and accompanying faculty members on WSU-run Travel Study programs, and other semester and year-long students who choose to add this coverage, are covered under Winona State University’s insurance with HTH Worldwide. This insurance will serve as primary health insurance in the host country and will provide medical benefits for injury and sickness. Prescription drugs are covered at 100%.

Health Concerns and Medical Withdrawal

  • It is to a student's advantage to provide information about current or past medical problems of which the Instructor or program site administrator should be aware. In cases of illness of a student, the Program Supervisor will consult with local medical authorities regarding hospitalization and treatment. In emergency situations, the Program Supervisor will authorize surgery, but in non-emergency situations will only order surgery upon receipt of parental authority. If, in the judgment of local medical staff, serious illness warrants return to the student's home, the Program Supervisor will make the necessary arrangements for such return and advance funds for return travel if needed.
  • In the case of medical withdrawal, the student will receive a refund of recoverable charges. The student must submit a physician's statement to International Programs along with a request for the return of funds.
  • Students or their families may wish to purchase travel cancellation insurance. Our office works very hard to recover expenses that have already been paid on behalf of the student, but we cannot guarantee our providers will reimburse us. We do not endorse any particular travel insurance coverage, but quote comparisons can be found at insuremytrip.com. Make sure to determine exactly what the insurance you select includes and what it does not include. For more on travel insurance and the best policy for the trip go to Travel Insurance Review, Inc.

Risk Management

Any off-campus program may involve risk. It is the responsibility of students and providers to take whatever steps are necessary to minimize those risks. Every effort is made to protect the health and safety of students on off-campus studies programs but Winona State University, International Programs and Services, and members of the WSU faculty or administrative staff cannot guarantee a risk-free environment or accept responsibility for accidents or illnesses on a study abroad program. When an emergency arises, the International Programs staff follows an Emergency Management Plan that is quite comprehensive. Students can help avoid emergencies by observing the following guidelines:
  • Operation of Motor Vehicles. It is strongly recommended that students do not operate a motor vehicle in another country. Traffic laws and regulations differ from those in the U.S. In some countries, an international driver's license is required. If an accident occurs, you may find yourself responsible for all damages and costs. You must therefore assume responsibility for your own safety.
  • Independent Travel. Many students make arrangements to remain on site and/or travel rather than return directly to the U.S. at the end of a program. WSU responsibility for students on off-campus programs ends at the scheduled end of an international domestic or international program, or at the time the group flight departs to return to the U.S. Students assume full responsibility at that time.

State Department Travel Warnings

  • Students who have been granted approval to study off-campus for a semester will be allowed to study in a country under a U.S. Department of State travel warning only in rare exceptions (and additional application procedures apply). Should such a Public Announcement or Travel Warning advising individuals to defer travel to the region come into effect prior to the beginning of a program, students will need to work with International Programs to make alternate plans. In cases where such a Public Announcement or Travel Warning is issued while a program is in progress, a decision to cancel a student's approval to study off campus may be made based on the advice of the U.S. Department of State.
  • If a Travel Warning is issued for a country during the time a WSU student or faculty is in that country, the IP&S will work with the appropriate sources to determine the best course of action to reduce risk.
  • No Travel Study programs are offered in countries under a Travel Warning.

Student Responsibilities

When a student accepts a place on a WSU approved program, they agree to support the policies and procedures set down to help ensure the success of the program. Students have a responsibility to make off-campus learning the best possible personal and academic experience.

Students are expected to:

  • Observe University policies, including those related to drugs and alcohol. Violations may result in disciplinary action during off-campus study or upon your return to campus
  • Conduct themselves in a responsible and mature manner at all times. This includes being sensitive to cultural dress, norms and behavior in the sites visited.
  • Cooperate with schedules for travel, movement at airports, and other areas concerning travel logistics.
  • Attend all classes and other scheduled activities.
  • Be responsible for all information contained in International Programs materials, especially where fees and program details are concerned.
  • Return all required forms and materials by the deadlines.
  • Attend all orientation meetings and/or appointments.
  • Pay all fees and personal expenses incurred while studying abroad.
  • Arrange for and complete all academic work within the allotted time abroad.
  • Respect the reasonable wishes of their hosts when living in a private home.
  • Obey laws, police regulations, and practices of the host country. Diplomatic representatives and U.S. laws will be able to offer little or no help to a student arrested and/or convicted of drug-related or other crimes.

Program supervisors have the full authority to act on behalf of Winona State University faculty and administration in any matter concerning the academic program, travel procedures, or student personnel. Should it be decided that a student must be separated from the program because of violation of rules, disruptive behavior, or conduct which could bring the program disrepute, that decision will be final. Separation from the program will also result in loss of academic credit.

WSU Alcohol and Drug Policy, and Codes of Conduct

Students should be aware that visitors in countries abroad are often punished severely for violations of local rules and regulations. The U.S. government cannot intervene in these proceedings. It is important that all students exercise prudence in observing the laws of their host country.

WSU student codes of conduct apply equally abroad as in the U.S. Illegal alcohol consumption and/or the purchase, use, or sale of illegal drugs will result in the student being immediately expelled from the program and returned home at his/her own expense. One violation will be cause for removal from the program. Separation from the program will result in loss of academic credit.

WSU Student Conduct Code
WSU Alcohol and Drug Policy

Required Documents

  1. Passport. A valid U.S. passport is required for participation in all international programs. See Resources for information on applying for or renewing a passport. Note: International Programs will need a copy of the information page of all passports from students who wish to study internationally. The office uses the passport to register students, for security purposes, with in-country embassies.
  2. Visas. Some programs require visas. See the Resources page for U.S. State Department information on visas. International Programs is not an authority on visas, and students going on semester away are responsible for obtaining their own visas.

Orientation

Orientation for semester study away programs takes place each semester for students studying abroad. This orientation is mandatory and, if not completed, will result in a loss of WSU approval to study abroad.