Policies & Guidelines
The Study Abroad & Away Office is a unit within the Division of Academic Affairs at Towson University. Study Abroad/Away is a monitored activity, involving mandatory meetings and procedures managed through the Study Abroad & Away Office. Students who study abroad/away are assessed a fee.
Eligibility for Study Abroad/Away
Students must be in good academic standing at the time of application and immediately prior to the study abroad/away term.
Students on academic suspension or probation at the time of application or immediately prior to the study abroad/away term are not eligible to study abroad/away.
Students on disciplinary probation and/or who have a significant history of disciplinary problems may not be eligible to participate in study abroad/away.
Students must be at least 18 years old to study abroad/away. Exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis.
TU students must be enrolled in a degree seeking program at Towson University (full or part-time). TU faculty-led programs are open to non-TU students and members of the community. Students who wish to study abroad/away on a TU faculty-led program after graduation will be enrolled as a non-degree seeking student.
TU students must have completed a minimum of 30 credit hours (including transfer credits) prior to departure in order to participate in a fall, spring, or year-long study abroad/away program or exchange unless otherwise stated.
Incoming transfer students must complete at least one semester (fall or spring, full or part-time) at Towson University prior to studying abroad/away.
Students must meet specific requirements and deadlines to be eligible to study abroad/away.
Students who wish to study abroad/away on a TU program or exchange (non-faculty-led) who do not meet the stated criteria for that program or exchange must submit a petition to the Study Abroad & Away Office asking permission to do so. The petition will be reviewed by the Petitions Subcommittee of the Faculty Committee on Study Abroad/Away (FCOSA) for final approval. Please contact the Study Abroad & Away Office for instructions.
You are bound to the TU Student Code of Student Accountability while participating in study abroad/away. If we are informed of any breaches to the Code of Student Accountability, there may be ramifications when you return to campus.
Travel Advisories and Restrictions
- Click here to view the full TU Policy on Travel Advisories for International Travel and Travel to a U.S. Territory
- Towson University students may not study abroad in, or travel through, countries (or areas within a country) or regions with an overall U.S. Department of State (DOS) Travel Advisory Level 3 (Reconsider Travel) or Level 4 (Do Not Travel) and/or a Warning Level 3 (Avoid Non-Essential Travel) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travel Health Notice.
- Appeals to study abroad in a country (or areas within a country) or region given a Level 3 DOS Travel Advisory will be considered on a case-by-case basis and subject to a ‘Risk Assessment Review’ conducted by the International Travel Advisory Committee. A final determination will be made by the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs.
- Towson University does not administer programs or exchanges in countries with an overall DOS Travel Advisory Level 4 (Do Not Travel) and does not typically administer programs or exchanges in countries with an overall DOS Travel Advisory Level 3 (Reconsider Travel).
- A risk assessment of any faculty-led programs in destinations with Department of State level 3 or 4 travel advisories will be conducted by the Study Abroad & Away Office in consultation with the Provost’s Office in February for summer programs and in September for Minimester and Spring Break programs. The assessment will include completion of the Department of State Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC)’s Risk Matrix in addition to a review of other relevant sources of information including but not limited to the Department of State, Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, the provider partner, on-site representatives and organizations (as applicable), and input from the faculty leader.
- All study abroad students will be required to complete an International Travel Waiver acknowledging the associated risks of traveling to and within the host country(ies) or regions at the time of application.
- Should a DOS Travel Advisory Level or CDC Travel Health Notice Level change for a country/region in which TU students are studying, notifications will be sent to students making them aware of the Department of State and/or CDC recommendations. If the DOS Travel Advisory increases to a Level 3 or 4 and/or the CDC Level increases to a 3, assistance in facilitating the student’s return home and/or other arrangements may be provided to the extent possible if deemed necessary.
- Should a DOS Travel Advisory increase to a Level 3 or 4 and/or a CDC Level increase to a Level 3 for a country/region in which TU administers its own program, or should the university deem it necessary for other reasons, appropriate actions may be taken including but not limited to adjusting the program schedule, relocating the program, ending the program early, or suspending or canceling the program. Once a program has begun, we have procedures in place which allow us to respond to specific types of emergencies but we will not cancel or close any study abroad program unless there is a clear and present danger to our students at a particular site, and we have assurances that evacuating the site would be safer than staying. Should an evacuation be deemed necessary, we would do so in coordination with the host institution, program, or provider, the relevant U.S. Embassy, and the U.S. State Department.
- All study abroad/away students are encouraged to purchase trip protection/cancellation insurance in case of program itinerary changes or cancellation to cover associated costs such as flights, personal expenses, program fees, etc. As program cancellation and pandemics are often not covered in standard plans, we recommend that all students purchase trip protection insurance that includes 'Cancel for Any Reason' (CFAR) benefits. See the section on insurance below for more information.
- TU Faculty Led: Billed by TU for cost of the program and the TU Study Abroad/Away Fee. Tuition remission/waivers cannot be applied.
- TU Exchange: Billed by TU for tuition and fees, the TU Study Abroad/Away Fee, and health insurance. Housing is paid directly to the host institution. Students will either purchase their own food to cook in shared kitchens or be billed by the host institution for a meal plan. Tuition remission/waivers can be applied.
- TU Program: Billed by TU for the cost of the program and the TU Study Abroad/Away Fee. Bill may also include housing and meals — refer to program website. If the program does not include meals, students are responsible for their own meals or purchasing their own food to cook in shared kitchens. If the program fee does not include housing, you will be billed by the overseas institution for housing. Tuition remission/waivers cannot be applied.
- TU Global Internship Program: Billed by TU for Global Internships Fee ($250) and the TU Study Abroad/Away Fee. Billed by Global Experiences for program fee. Please coordinate with the program regarding payment due dates. Tuition remission/waivers cannot be applied.
- Approved Non-TU Program: Billed by TU for the TU Study Abroad/Away Fee. Billed by the organization or university sponsoring the program for other expenses (inclusions vary). Please coordinate with the program regarding payment due dates. Tuition remission/waivers cannot be applied.
Study Abroad/Away Fees
All students will be charged a Study Abroad/Away Fee.* The fee will show up on the student's account for the term in which they participate once they have been enrolled in the study abroad/away placeholder or course. The TU Study Abroad/Away Fee is:
- Fall/Spring Semester - $360
- Summer/Minimester/Spring Break - $190
*Fees are subject to change
Tuition Payment Plan (Tiger Installment Plan)
If you normally use the Tiger Installment Plan (TIP) to pay for tuition, you may be able to continue to use it for study abroad/away. If your bill will be coming from TU, simply contact the Student & University Billing Office to arrange for a new amount for the plan. If you will be receiving a bill from a study abroad/away program, contact the program and the Student & University Billing Office at 410-704-2100 to make arrangements. Some study abroad/away programs may not accept tuition payment plans.
Most federally and TU funded aid programs and most scholarships can be used to pay for study abroad/away, whether you are participating in a TU program/exchange or an approved non-TU program. However, many state funded and some TU aid programs have restrictions and many can only be used for the fall or spring semesters. IMPORTANT: Tuition remission/waivers can only be applied to TU exchanges. They cannot be applied to TU programs (including faculty-led programs or approved non-TU programs). This applies to all tuition waiver/remission programs including waivers for University System of Maryland employees and their dependents and waivers for Foster Care, Unaccompanied Homeless Youth, and Maryland National Guard students. Aid (grants or scholarships) from the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) can only be used if you enroll in a fall or spring study abroad program or exchange for which you will be billed directly by TU or other school within Maryland. Eligible programs include exchanges, TU faculty-led programs, and "TU in" programs, or programs billed by other colleges in Maryland. Programs are not eligible for MHEC aid if you are billed by providers, overseas institutions, or out-of-state institutions. MHEC’s aid programs include Conroy, Delegate, Senatorial, 2+2 Transfer, and V.A.I.C scholarships; and Educational Assistance, Guaranteed Access, and Workforce Shortage Student Assistance Grants. For more information, see www.towson.edu/admissions/financialaid/apply/abroad.html. When you have selected your study abroad/away program, ask your Study Abroad Adviser for a Study Abroad/Away Budget outlining estimated and known costs. Costs can include program tuition, housing, food, the TU TU Study Abroad/Away Fee, passport and visa fees, application fee, flight, books, local transportation, insurance, etc. Submit the budget to the TU Financial Aid Office in order for your aid package to be reviewed. Your award may be increased (in the form of loans) which you may choose to accept or decline in whole or in part. It is also a good idea to schedule an appointment with a TU Financial Aid Adviser to discuss your borrowing options for your study abroad/away term.
Note: Pre-existing grants and scholarships cannot be increased based on study abroad/away costs and you must ensure you meet the minimum course load requirements (total units per term) for each of your financial aid awards.
Aid awards and/or scholarships will be credited to your TU bill with the remainder (if any) issued to you in the form of a rebate by the TU Student & University Billing Office.
If you are participating in a non-TU program, you can contact your study abroad/away provider (e.g. AIFS, ISA, CEA, TEAN) to make arrangements for deferred payment if possible. You may be asked to fill out a Payment Deferral Form. You are responsible for paying the difference, if any, by the program’s payment due date. Your financial aid monies will not directly transfer from TU to the study abroad/away program. You will be issued a rebate from the TU Student & University Billing Office and must pay the provider using these funds.
Most TU and private scholarships can be used for study abroad/away but you should double check with the TU Scholarship Office or the scholarship administrator to make sure it can be applied to their program. Students can also apply for study abroad scholarships. Application deadlines for the TU Study Abroad Scholarships are as follows: March 15 for Summer, Fall and Academic Year and October 15 for Minimester and Spring.
Rebates become available two weeks prior to the start of Towson University’s semester and will be disbursed via DOC (Disbursement Online Center) which transmits the funds electronically to the bank account of your choice. Note: At this time only students can sign up for DOC, therefore rebates from Parent Plus loans will be issued as a check and mailed to the borrowing parent directly to the permanent address on file.
Power of Attorney
The purpose of appointing a POA is to designate a person to perform certain acts on your behalf while you are away. These include:
- To receive checks made payable to you for educational expenses
- To endorse and to deposit those checks
- To draw and sign those checks to pay for your educational expenses
- To sign other documents related to financial aid and your educational expenses
To designate a POA, complete and have notarized a Limited Power of Attorney Form. You should ask if your bank has its own POA form that they want you to use for transactions with them.
Please assure that the person you designate is a parent or other such individual whom you trust to act responsibly and honestly on your behalf. The signed and notarized form should be left with the person whom you have designated – NOT the Study Abroad & Away Office. Note: Notary publics are listed in the Yellow Pages and are found at most banks, credit unions, post offices etc.
Registration and Enrollment
Students will be registered for study abroad/away at TU by the Study Abroad & Away Office prior to the beginning of the corresponding TU term. Exceptions for students needing to be registered after this point, can only be made by the Registrar’s Office and may or may not be permitted depending on the individual case.
In most cases, students will be registered using a placeholder code. The number of credits associated with this code may not correspond to the actual number of credits that students take while studying abroad/away.
Upon completion of the study abroad/away program and receipt of an official transcript, the actual number of credits earned while abroad/away will be posted to the TU record.
Students must maintain full-time status while studying abroad/away for a semester or academic year (equivalent of at least 12 U.S. credits each spring or fall semester).
If a student does not maintain full-time status and receives financial aid to support their term abroad/away, they may be required to repay some or all of their aid award.
Students who will be graduating within one year of their study abroad/away experience, must email an official verification of enrollment abroad (course titles and equivalent U.S. credit hours) to graduation AT_TOWSON in the TU Registrar’s Office once their schedule is finalized.
Students may study abroad/away during the final 30 credits of their undergraduate degree. However, each academic department requires a minimum number of major credits to be completed in residence at TU; exceptions may be made at the discretion of the department chair.
Students will be subject to the academic rules of their host institution or program. Students must stick to their withdrawal, add, and drop deadlines – TU deadlines do not apply in these cases.
Course, Credits, and Grades
Credits earned on TU programs, TU exchanges, and approved programs will transfer back to your TU transcript and count towards your degree.
IMPORTANT: Students may NOT take MNGT 481, any upper level Accounting courses (except ACCT 341), or any Finance courses (except FIN 331, FIN 350, and FIN 436) through study abroad/away.
Before departure students must complete a Study Abroad Course Form or the NSE Course Transfer Petition Form. Any courses they plan to take abroad/away that do not appear in the TU Standard Course Equation Database must be equated by the appropriate TU departments. Exceptions: students participating on a TU faculty-led program, the TU Global Internships Program, independent study abroad, or independent internships abroad.
- Courses taken at TU may not be repeated abroad/away and transferred back to Towson in accordance with TU policy regarding transfer credit. Exceptions: Students participating in a TU faculty-led program, the TU Global Internships Program, independent study abroad, or independent internships abroad. These programs/activities consist of TU courses taught abroad and are graded by TU faculty. They do not require equation to Towson courses, will not be considered transfer credit, and thus may be repeated abroad/away.
If a course taken abroad/away is repeated at TU, the study abroad/away credit will be excluded automatically, regardless of the grade earned at TU. The grade for the repeat course will be posted to the TU record and calculated into the TU GPA.
Students who must repeat a language course abroad/away (as result of a language placement test) that was previously taken at TU will earn unspecific lower level elective credit.
Letter grades for all courses taken abroad through Towson University Study Abroad/Away administered programs (including exchanges) and approved programs will be posted to the TU record using the Transfer Grading Basis but will not be calculated into the Towson GPA. (Exceptions: Grades will be calculated into the TU GPA for TU faculty-led programs, the TU Global Internships Program, independent study abroad, and independent internships abroad, and the National Student Exchange).
Students may not audit study abroad/away courses.
The Pass Grading option (Pass/D/Fail) is not available for students participating in TU faculty-led programs, TU programs, TU exchanges, or non-TU programs unless indicated on the host institution transcript (if applicable).
Grading systems vary greatly from country to country. For transcripts received directly from foreign institutions, the TU Study Abroad & Away Office utilizes grading scales published by World Education Services (WES).
Credit systems vary throughout the world and it is very important that you understand how the credit system at your host institution relates to the credit system at Towson University. Students should discuss this with their Study Abroad/Away Advisor prior to departure. It is your responsibility to ensure you are enrolled full-time (minimum 12 units per semester for spring or fall).
For courses abroad/away that are equivalent to less than a three credit course at TU, students should contact the appropriate academic department with questions concerning fulfilling major requirements.
It is your responsibility to ensure your study abroad/away transcript is sent to the TU Study Abroad & Away Office. An Incomplete grade will be posted to your TU record after the study abroad term. Upon receipt of the study abroad/away transcript, the Incomplete grade will be removed and the actual grades earned will be posted. If a transcript is not received the Incomplete grade will automatically change to an "F" after 180 days.
The maximum units policy for courses taught on campus in the Minimester (4 credits) and summer (total of 13 units, 7 units per session) does not apply to study abroad/away.
Examples of Credit Conversion Scales
European Credit Transfer System (ECTS)
Many universities throughout Europe use the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). 2 ECTS credits are equivalent to 1 TU credit. Students studying abroad at universities that utilize the ECTS should take 30 ECTS credits per semester.
United Kingdom (except Scotland)
At most British universities, students take 60 UK credits per semester. 10 UK credits are equivalent to 3 TU credits, 15 UK credits are equivalent to 4 TU credits, and 20 UK credits are equivalent to 5 TU credits. Students studying abroad during the fall or spring at universities that utilize UK credits must take at least the equivalent of 12 TU credits.
At most Scottish universities, students take 60 SCOTCAT credits per semester. 10 SCOTCAT are equivalent to 3 TU credits, 15 SCOTCAT credits are equivalent to 4 TU credits, and 20 SCOTCAT credits are equivalent to 5 TU credits. Students studying abroad in Scotland during the fall and spring must take at least the equivalent of 12 TU credits.
Australia and New Zealand
Credit transfer scales for Australia and New Zealand vary from university to university. Students are normally required to enroll in 3-4 courses per semester. Please check with your Study Abroad Advisor or program provider for more information.
Students who wish to study abroad/away on a program not sponsored by, affiliated with, or pre-approved by Towson University must submit a petition to the Study Abroad & Away Office to seek approval. The petition will be reviewed by the Petitions Subcommittee of the Faculty Committee on Study Abroad/Away (FCOSA) for approval. Please contact the TU Study Abroad & Away Office for more information. NOTE: Retroactive petitions will not be considered.
Withdrawal and Refunds
Requests to withdraw from a study abroad/away program or exchange are to be made in writing (email notification is acceptable) to the TU Study Abroad & Away Office as soon as the decision is made.
The withdrawal notification date may affect the student's enrollment status at TU.
Any request to withdraw must come directly from the student and include the student's name, student ID#, program sponsor name, program title, program location, and date.
For non-TU programs, students must also notify the program provider or sponsor of the decision to withdraw following the guidelines set forth by the specific program.
Students should notify their Academic Advisor of their withdrawal and ask for assistance with registration for classes at TU if necessary. Students should be aware that course availability may be limited dependent on the timing of their withdrawal and subsequent registration.
Financial aid recipients must notify the Financial Aid Office of their withdrawal. Students may be required to repay some or all of their aid award depending on the date of withdrawal.
Students who must withdraw from a study abroad/away program due to emergency or illness should contact the TU Study Abroad & Away Office for assistance and instructions as soon as possible.
Students who are dismissed from their study abroad/away program will receive no academic credit for their courses abroad/away and are subject to judicial sanction upon return to TU depending upon the circumstances of the dismissal.
Students participating in TU faculty-led programs become responsible for the full program fee upon admission to the program by the TU Study Abroad & Away Office. Should the student wish to withdraw from the program for any reason after admission, only recoverable expenses may be refunded. Non-recoverable expenses may include but are not limited to costs paid to a study abroad/away provider, travel agency, or other third party by TU on the students behalf; housing; transportation; non-refundable deposits; activity fees; honorariums; guest lecture fees. Towson University withdrawal/drop/add deadlines do not apply. The student must submit his/her intention to withdraw in writing to the TU Study Abroad & Away Office.
Students who withdraw from a study abroad/away program or exchange are not eligible to receive a refund of their non-refundable program deposit (if applicable).
Students who withdraw prior to departure may be responsible for program costs already incurred on their behalf by the University or the program sponsor.
Students who withdraw after their study abroad/away program is underway may be eligible for a partial refund depending upon the program policies or may be responsible for the full program fee.
Students who are dismissed from their study abroad/away program are not eligible for refund and are subject to additional expenses depending upon the circumstances of the dismissal.
Eligibility for possible refunds varies by program and will not be calculated according to the TU billing calendar. Please contact the Study Abroad & Away Office to discuss particular circumstances.
Overseas Health Insurance Requirement
Towson University requires all study abroad/away participants to have health and accident
insurance while studying abroad/away which provides, at a minimum, coverage for emergency
medical care and treatment, hospitalization, and physician charges in the country
where the host institution or program is located, as well as insurance for medical
evacuation, repatriation and medical reunion.
Study Abroad participants only: Most U.S. health insurance plans have limitations for treatment outside the U.S. and very few have medical evacuation repatriation or family reunion benefits so we strongly recommend you purchase supplemental coverage for the duration of your time abroad. You should also maintain your U.S. insurance to ensure continuous coverage for any pre-existing conditions.
Towson University Study Abroad Programs
Students participating in a TU study abroad program or exchange will be automatically enrolled in the Towson University Study Abroad Insurance Plan for the duration of their program abroad. Students will receive an individual ID card prior to departure.
Non-TU Study Abroad Programs
Most TU affiliate and approved study abroad programs include health insurance and assistance plans in their program fee. We recommend that you review the insurance benefits packaged with your study abroad program (if any) and decide if the coverage provided is adequate. If you want or need to purchase your own plan or supplemental coverage, the following insurance providers offer overseas health insurance policies:
Trip Protection/Cancellation Insurance
In addition to required health insurance, all study abroad/away students are also strongly encouraged to purchase travel insurance which covers your financial investment (costs such as flights, personal expenses, program fees, etc.) in case of itinerary changes or cancellation. As program cancellation and pandemics are often not covered in standard plans, we recommend that all students purchase trip protection insurance that includes 'Cancel for Any Reason' (CFAR) benefits.
The following insurance providers offer trip protection policies that can include CFAR
benefits (at the time of posting):
Insuremytrip - Academic Explorer Program
C&F Travel Insured International
Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI)
Housing at TU
Students who live in TU housing may request to be released from their housing contract for the term they will be studying abroad/away.
Submit a written cancellation request to housing AT_TOWSON or in person to the Housing and Residence Life Office (West Village Commons, Suite #309).
Ask your Study Abroad Adviser to submit a Housing Release Request Form confirming your study abroad/away participation to the Housing and Residence Life Office.
If you will be studying abroad/away in the fall and will not be returning to TU housing in the spring, your $350 housing deposit will be refunded. If you are studying abroad/away in the fall and have notified the Housing and Residence Life Office that you will be returning to TU housing in the spring, your $350 deposit will be credited to your spring housing charges.
It is the student’s responsibility to notify the Housing and Residence Life Office if they intend to return to TU housing once they have completed their program abroad/away. NOTE: Students are only eligible to return to housing if they have accumulated 89 or fewer credit hours as of the end of the previous fall semester. Students who have accumulated 90 or more credit hours are not eligible to return to university housing and should look into off-campus housing.
If you are studying abroad/away in the spring and have notified the Housing and Residence Life Office that you will be returning to TU housing in the fall you will receive instructions on applying for housing via email in early December. NOTE: All correspondence will be sent to your TU email address.
Study abroad/away students looking for off-campus housing for the semester they return or outgoing study abroad/away students with rooms available to lease are encouraged to take advantage of the TU Off-Campus Housing Service.
Assessment of our programs and security conditions around the world is one of the primary functions of the TU Study Abroad & Away Office, as well as of our partner institutions and affiliate providers. Our office receives reports twice daily from the Overseas Security Advisory Council and continuously monitors travel alerts and advisories, and recommendations issued by the U.S. Department of State, World Health Organization, and Centers for Disease Control.
We keep a careful watch on the world situation and confer constantly with our colleagues both here and abroad sharing information with our students and their designated emergency contacts as needed. We also work very closely with our international health and security insurance provider for TU programs and exchanges - RCM&D - and their emergency assistance provider AXA.