Education Abroad Glossary


Section 3 Program Management
3.1 Sponsorship and Sponsor Relations
3.2 Student Mobility Programs
3.3 Program Oversight
3.4 Education Abroad Staff Roles
3.5 Participant Status
3.6 Fee Structures and Costs
3.7 Financial Aid
3.8 Student Accommodations
3.9 Health, Safety, Risk, Liability
3.10 Travel Authorization
3.11 Participant Demographics and Diversity
3.12 Sustainability and Social Responsibility


Section 3. Program Management

Education abroad offices have been described as “universities within universities” because they have many of the same administrative responsibilities as the institution as a whole, such as admissions, course registration, fee collection, financial aid, housing, health and safety, risk management, and program and learning outcome evaluation. Education abroad professionals use these terms on a daily basis.


3.1. Sponsorship and Sponsor Relations

Education abroad programs typically have distinct administrative and academic placements within the administrative structure of an institution of higher education. Programs also are often shared among partners. This section addresses terms used to define the various types of ownership and the partnerships that exist within education abroad.


Affiliated Program (or Cosponsored Program): A subtype of Approved Program with which an institution has established a special relationship. There is no standard significance for an “affiliated program.” Each institution determines together with the program the nature and scope of the relationship. Within this relationship, an affiliated program is generally awarded special considerations, which can include: the awarding of resident credit, the counting of grades toward the student’s GPA at the home institution, publicity in the college catalog and/or website, applicability of institutional financial aid, or permission for students to participate. Affiliation sometimes also can bring special benefits to students, such as scholarships, special discounts, priority for admission, additional advising support, or more orientation or on-site services.


Affiliation Agreement: Arrangement, usually in writing, between a study abroad provider or host institution and a home institution. The affiliation may take many forms. Examples range from a loose relationship giving the provider’s programs a higher profile on the home campus, to relationships outlining very specific responsibilities and privileges on both parts, to formal membership in a consortium. See Affiliated Program.


Approved Program: A program that an institution has in some way vetted and endorsed for its students. Some institutions maintain a list of approved programs that give all participants special services, in which case the term is virtually synonymous with Affiliated Program. Other institutions approve participation on a student-by-student basis. “Approved program” thus has a broader meaning than “affiliated program.” Benefits vary by institution but could cover such topics as resident credit, institutional financial aid, departure orientation, or highlighted information (for example, in an institutional catalog or website). Terms that have a similar meaning to this definition of approved programs include “recognized,” “preferred,” “highlighted,” “recommended,” “promoted,” and “supported” programs.


Consortium: A group of institutions and/or organizations that share one or more education abroad programs within a membership group in order to provide greater access, quality control, and/or cost efficiency in education abroad programs to students. Members of the consortium share fiduciary, liability, promotional, and/or oversight responsibility for the program(s).


For-Profit: An enterprise that benefits its owner(s) financially. It may be a public or private entity, individually owned, family-owned, or group-owned by partnership, a limited partnership, or a corporation.


Home School (or Home Institution): The educational institution in the U.S. where an education abroad student is a continuing student, usually working toward the completion of a degree.


Host School (or Host Institution): The institution that the education abroad student attends while abroad.


Institutionally Administered Program: A program for which the full scope of operation is the responsibility of a U.S. college or university. This includes managing the U.S. based operations of the program (such as advising, marketing, student selection), overseeing the on-site operation of the program (such as instruction, housing, student support, grade report production), and cultivating and maintaining all of the relationships involved in managing the program. In some cases, other partners may be involved in providing some of the services (for example, an independent provider might provide housing or instruction). The term Sponsored Program, though a synonym, is used differently by some institutions.


Memorandum of Agreement: A written agreement, usually legally binding, through which two or more signatory parties agree to work together toward specific agreed-upon goals.


Memorandum of Understanding: A written agreement signed by two parties that does not legally bind the parties to action. Rather, both parties simply agree to work together toward an agreed-upon goal.


Nonprofit (or Not-For-Profit): A legally constituted organization whose objective is to support or engage in activities of public or private interest without commercial or monetary profit. A nonprofit organization does not issue stock or dividends. Many but not all U.S. nonprofits are tax-exempt. There are legal restrictions on how revenues generated by nonprofit organizations may be used.


Outside Program (or External Program or Nonaffiliated Program): A program that is not recognized by a student’s home institution as belonging to any special category such as affiliated or institutionally administered. There is no connection to, or oversight by, the home institution, which may have implications for the applicability of financial aid, acceptance or type of credit, or the amount of support participating students receive from the home institution.


Partner: One of the parties involved in the processes of sending students abroad or receiving students abroad (when at least two parties are involved). For example, all of the following are potential partners: a home institution, a host institution, an independent provider, a consortium, and a travel or logistics provider.


Program Provider (or Independent Program Provider, or Third-Party Provider, or simply Provider): An institution or organization that offers education abroad program services to students from a variety of institutions. A program provider may be a college or university, a nonprofit organization, a for-profit business, or a consortium.


Program Sponsor: An institution or organization that is the primary administrator and manager of an education abroad program.


Sponsored Program: Meanings very from campus to campus. 1) The most common, and preferred, meaning is as a synonym for an Institutionally Administered Program, 2) Some institutions use it instead to mean an Approved Program or an Affiliated Program. 3) A narrower usage applies the term to only a subset of Institutionally Administered Programs such as those operated under the auspices of a department, division or unit (for example, faculty-led). 4) Still other institutions apply it to all programs that have some ongoing relationship to the institution, i.e., every category except an Outside Program.


U.S. School of Record: The accredited institution of higher education in the U.S. that issues an official transcript for academic work completed on a study abroad program. Depending on individual institutional policy the absence of a U.S. school of record may impede transfer of credit from abroad to a student’s home institution.


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3.2. Student Mobility Programs

The following programs or policies relate to international student mobility within Europe, Asia, and the Americas.


Bologna Declaration and Process: The 1999 agreement signed by ministers of education from 29 European nations at the University of Bologna to harmonize academic degree and quality standards throughout Europe. The process has continued with biannual meetings and agreements.


ECTS (European Credit Transfer System): System used to standardize higher-education grades and educational credits earned in the universities participating in the various Socrates programs (see below). One academic semester corresponds to 30 ECTS credits; a complex scale translates grades earned into one common measure.


Erasmus (abbreviation for European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students): A program of the Socrates II educational initiative of the European Commission that offers university students from mopre than 30 European countries the opportunity to study at other European institutions with which their institutions have established direct partnerships. Founded in 1987, it was incorporated into the broader Socrates educational program in 1995 and then into the new Socrates II program in 1999. University credits are transferred as universally recognized ECTS credits. Students, who are required to have completed their first year of study, pay home university fees and not those of the host institution; most students receive financial grants from the Erasmus program to offset part of their expenses. Sojourns range from three months to one year. Over 2,000 universities participate in the program.


Erasmus Mundus: A European Union program that aims to extend the benefits of the Erasmus program to inter-university relations between Europe and the rest of the world. The program supports European institutions that wish to establish academic relations with other universities outside of the European Union. It also supports students, scholars, researchers and staff who wish to engage in academic activities within those universities.


National Student Exchange (NSE): A multilateral exchange program, whose member institutions are mostly within the U.S. but also include several institutions in Canada and U.S. overseas territories and commonwealths (Guam, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands). Moreover, students from U.S. member institutions occasionally use NSE to gain access to a study abroad program offered by another U.S. member institution.


Socrates II: A broad educational initiative of the European Commission begun in 1999 and continuing the action of Socrates (1994–1999) and the original Erasmus initiative (1987–1994). Socrates II is intended to encourage lifelong education, language study, educational mobility, and the use of new educational technologies. The Erasmus program (see above) was one component of the Socrates program. The program followed Socrates I and ran from 2000 to 2006. It was replaced by the Lifelong Learning Program in 2007, which currently houses the Erasmus program among others As of 2011, the countries participating in the program are the 25 members of the European Union, the three members of the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway), the two candidate countries (Bulgaria and Romania), and Turkey. Citizens of these countries as well as legal permanent residents and political refugees may participate in the various activities of the Socrates program.


University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific (UMAP): A voluntary association of government and nongovernmental members from the higher education sector in the Pacific Rim countries, founded in 1993, with the purpose of increasing mobility of university students and staff. Universities in most countries of East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Oceania are eligible for membership, plus several North and South American countries bordering on the Pacific. Participating universities waive fees for incoming exchange participants.


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3.3. Program Oversight

Program evaluation and assessment can take many forms. The following terms are used in the context of program evaluation and oversight.


Advisory Committee (or Advisory Board): A group of individuals who provide guidance and advice for an education abroad entity, such as an education abroad office at a university or a nonprofit or for-profit independent program provider.


Assessment: The process of measuring effectiveness, usually through the articulation of goals, the development of associated measures and the identification of observable outcomes, used to inform whether the initial goals were achieved. In the context of education abroad, the following types of assessment are common: 1) assessment of a student’s academic work in a particular course ending in the determination of the student’s grade for the course; 2) assessment or evaluation of a particular program (see Program Review), and 3) assessment of the outcomes achieved by education abroad programs (assessment typically measures a program’s growth or progress along particular parameters). Although the terms assessment and evaluation have

often been used as synonyms, assessment measures progress by looking at defined variables while evaluation is an interpretation or judgment relating to quality.


Board of Directors (or Governing Board or Oversight Committee): A group of individuals who make decisions, set policy, and exercise fiduciary and legal oversight for an education abroad entity such as an independent program provider.


Evaluation: The process of critical examination involving interpretation and judgment related to effectiveness and quality.


Familiarization Tour (or Familiarization Visit): A structured visit to one or more education abroad program site(s) designed to introduce faculty and/or education abroad professionals to the operational, academic and co-curricular elements of the programs and to the cultural, social, and/or political contexts in which they operate.


Focus Group: A facilitated conversation between an objective researcher or moderator and a group of people who have been solicited to provide feedback on a particular topic or area that a researcher is studying. Focus groups give researchers qualitative feedback on the topics chosen for discussion. In a focus group, there is real-time interaction between group members and the researcher or moderator, which allows for clarification of ideas and the development of thoughts. However, since the information is not collected from a random sample of individuals, focus group data cannot be extrapolated to reflect the thoughts of the larger group being studied.


Program Review: The comprehensive evaluation of a program based on a critical examination of its component parts. Evaluators may be from inside the organization (internal review) or from outside of the organization (external review). A review (with of without an on-site component) may be of an individual program or a set of programs offered by an institution or program provider organization, of an education abroad office (campus-based or organizationally-based) that offers the programs, or both.


QUIP: The acronym for the Forum on Education Abroad’s Quality Improvement Program, which assesses the effectiveness of an education abroad organization, process or program through a self-study and peer review process based upon the Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad.


Site Review: An evaluation of an overseas program that is at least partially conducted on site. Site reviews may be comprehensive or may focus on one or several specific issues. They may be conducted by the program sponsor; by an outside individual, group, or organization; or by an affiliate or potential affiliate.


Site Visit: A trip by U.S.-based study abroad professionals or home campus faculty to an overseas program site where one has a relationship or might have a relationship in the future. Goals that drive site visits include meeting with colleagues and/or gathering information for program development, to evaluate the program, to learn more about the program, or for other needs.


Standards of Good Practice: Guidelines or requirements for various elements of education abroad programming. The Forum on Education Abroad is recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice as the Standards Development Organization for Education Abroad.


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3.4. Education Abroad Staff Roles

The following list refers to roles within education abroad offices in U.S. colleges and universities. Although titles and actual job descriptions vary across institutions and organizations, these terms represent the roles or functions common to most education abroad program administration. It is not uncommon for one person to serve in multiple roles. More detailed information and analysis on education abroad positions, job descriptions, workloads and salary information can be found in the Forum Pathways Survey.


Assistant Director or Associate Director: A professional who has typically already spent several years in a program manager or adviser position. In addition to advising and outreach, responsibilities may include more complex or sophisticated tasks such as conducting program evaluations, training faculty leading programs, developing new programs, overseeing crisis and emergency management, managing budgets, serving as the primary liaison between the university and partner foreign institutions, and the supervising employees. In offices that use both titles for different staff positions, the Associate Director generally has a higher level of responsibility.


Education Abroad Adviser (or Study Abroad Adviser): A professional adviser who specializes in education abroad. Such an adviser explains to students the general education abroad process, helps students understand the education abroad choices available to them, and often does outreach work to identify prospective education abroad participants. Advising addresses a wide variety of topics including the types of available programs, application procedures, scholarship and financial information, the credit-approval process, academic major/minor articulation, pre-departure preparation, program requirements, and re-entry.


Education Abroad Director (or Study Abroad Director): A professional who provides overall leadership for and management of a university or college education abroad office and serves as the face of the education abroad office on campus. A wide range of responsibilities and duties may include advising, program management, personnel supervision, strategic planning, program development, collaboration with faculty, outreach, crisis management, and financial/budget management.


Education Abroad Program Manager (or Study Abroad Program Manager): A professional who focuses on managing many or all aspects of one or more education abroad programs. Typical responsibilities include outreach and marketing; program management; financial management such as budget, billing, accounting, and enrollment management; risk and crisis management; and program evaluation.


Exchange(s) Coordinator: An individual who manages reciprocal, international exchange agreements. Responsibilities may include enrollment management, implementation of formal memoranda of understanding, coordination of exchange details with partner institutions throughout the world, facilitation of international student arrivals, and outgoing student advising and orientation.


Faculty Adviser (or Academic Adviser): A faculty or academic affairs staff member with whom students meet to discuss their academic programs and career or life goals. An adviser helps students plan a course of study and makes suggestions for program planning. Students also consult their advisers with questions regarding how credits earned abroad fit with their academic plan. Faculty advisers may also teach classes and conduct academic research.


Faculty Program Director (or Faculty Program Leader): A university faculty member appointed to lead an education abroad program. The individual’s on-campus roles may include program development, advising, recruitment, admission, orientation, and advocacy. Faculty program directors may be called on to assume a range of important overseas responsibilities in the areas of administration, logistics, finances, and academics.


Housing Coordinator: An individual, usually resident in the host country, who arranges on-site accommodation for education abroad students. The individual’s roles are multifaceted and usually include recruiting and training host families, securing apartment and dormitory placements, negotiating housing contracts, overseeing housing assignments, and dealing with residential problems as they arise.


Internship Coordinator: An individual, usually a resident in the host country, who assists education abroad students with locating internship placement opportunities. The coordinator usually determines whether the internships offer meaningful responsibilities, include appropriate supervision and direction, and encourage significant international and intercultural learning. In some cases, the coordinator may also teach a related internship seminar.


Outreach Liaison: An individual who develops and facilitates promotion and outreach activities for education abroad to targeted student populations (for example, students of color, fraternity organizations, underrepresented majors, etc.). Often returned education abroad students are employed in this role.


Peer Adviser: A paid or volunteer student, usually a recently returned education abroad alumna/us, who is trained to provide assistance to prospective students by answering questions about the education abroad application process, identifying programs that are appropriate to meet academic and personal needs, and finding resources and related information on studying abroad.


Peer Ambassador (or Program Ambassador): A student, usually a recently returned education abroad alumna/us, who volunteers to represent the program she or he attended by responding to inquiries from potential participants. Although this interaction typically takes place through electronic communication, it may also involve some telephone and face-to-face meetings or visits to classes.


Program Assistant: An individual who supports the various and diverse operations of the education abroad office. Responsibilities may include office reception and answering general inquiries, managing student appointments, programming, maintaining database records and student files, updating websites, tracking course approvals and student evaluations, maintaining the office email account and calendar, and supervising student workers in the office.


Program Director: 1) A Faculty Program Director or Resident Director. 2) In some education abroad offices, a Program Manager.


Program Manager: Staff member in an education abroad office who has lead responsibility for one or more programs within the portfolio offered by the institution or organization.


Resident Director (or Center Director or On-Site Director): An individual whose primary role is to manage an education abroad program on site. The director’s roles are multifaceted and usually include overseeing all areas of a center or program, including student life; budgetary and fiscal management; academic affairs; health, safety and risk management; institutional relationships; and personnel management. Historically, the title referred to an individual, often a university faculty member, who served as the director-in-residence for a one- to three-year term. Today, the individual is often a permanent employee of the education abroad program.


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3.5. Participant Status

Accurately identifying participant status is important as it denotes a participant’s stage within the education abroad process. These terms may be defined differently across institutions, and it is essential to seek clarification when working with external organizations to limit confusion and avoid a negative impact on participants and the services they receive.


Accepted: Status indicating an applicant has been admitted as a participant into an education abroad program. In some cases, full acceptance into the selected education abroad program may be contingent on receiving approval from the host institution and/or a program provider organization.


Alumna/Alumnus/Alumni/Alumnae: An alumna (feminine) or alumnus (masculine) is a graduate of a college, university or school. Alumni is the plural used for men and mixed groups and alumnae for women. Recently, the definition has expanded to include people who have exited from any kind of organization or process. An education abroad program alumnus/a is a student who has successfully completed the program.


Applicant: Prospective participant who has completed or is completing the necessary paperwork to be considered for admission into an education abroad program.


Approved: Status indicating that an applicant has been authorized by the home institution to study abroad in general or to apply for a particular program.


Cancelled: Status of a student whose program was suspended by the sponsor (for example, because of safety issues or insufficient enrollment).


Confirmed (or Committed): Status of an accepted student who has submitted post-acceptance materials (often including a nonrefundable confirmation deposit) to secure his/her spot in the program.


Participant: Status referring to one who is taking part or will take part in an education abroad program.


Provisional Acceptance (or Conditional Acceptance): Status indicating that acceptance into an education abroad program is conditional upon the successful completion of provisions outlined at the time of notification. These provisions may take the form of completion of course prerequisites, attainment of a minimum GPA required for participation in the selected program, or other tasks/assignments as deemed necessary by the education abroad office, by the faculty or institutional representative who reviews the applications, by the program provider, or by the host institution.


Rejected (or Denied): Status indicating that an application has been rejected for participation (denied acceptance) in the selected education abroad program. The reason is often shared with the applicant at the time of notification.


Returnee: An education abroad participant who has returned to the home institution after completion of her or his program. Although technically the term Alumnus or Alumna (plural Alumni or Alumnae) means a degree-holding graduate of an institution, in an education abroad context it has come sometimes to be used as a synonym for returnee (“education abroad alumnus,” “program alumna,” etc.).


Withdrawn: Status of a student who has applied for a program and subsequently notified the sponsor that she or he does not intend to participate. Withdrawal may occur at any time, from before formal acceptance to any point during the education abroad experience.


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3.6. Fee Structures and Costs

Education abroad professionals use the following terms in budgeting and fiscal management of education abroad offices and programs. The terms listed here should be considered a sample, not a comprehensive list.


Administrative Fee (or Overhead Fee): A fee paid to an education abroad office, university, or provider that contributes to the general Overhead Costs of an institution or organization. It may be either separate from or incorporated into the program fee.


Application Fee: A required fee (usually nonrefundable) submitted with an application to an education abroad program.


Books and Supplies: Actual or estimated costs that the student would need to pay for books and academic supplies (for example, art supplies or lab supplies) as a participant on an education abroad program. This item is part of the official student budget for an education abroad program; it may or may not be incorporated into the program fee.


Confirmation Deposit: Monetary deposit, usually nonrefundable, paid by a student to secure a place on a program to which she or he has been accepted. Usually applied to the total program fee.


Home School Tuition: Tuition charged by an education abroad student’s home institution, based on on-campus tuition. In some cases, this might be in addition to a program fee; in others, in lieu of the program fee (i.e., the home school keeps the tuition and pays for certain program expenses, such as the program fee, for the student). Payment policies can differ widely among institutions. For example, some schools will pay for room and board whereas others will not.


In-State (or Resident): Standing of a student who is given legal domicile status at a state institution that differentiates between residents of the state and nonresidents when calculating fees owed (usually tuition, but occasionally other fees also).


Other Costs (or Miscellaneous Costs): Estimated costs for items that are not included in another category of a student budget for education abroad. This category might include costs for Internet charges, laundry, local commuting, and reasonable recreational expenses.


Out-of-State (or Non-Resident): Standing of a student who does not have legal domicile status at a state institution that differentiates between residents of the state and nonresidents when calculating fees owed (usually tuition, but occasionally other fees also).


Overhead (or Indirect Cost): The general cost of maintaining offices and staff that provide services to students.


Program Budget: A budget that calculates the cost to an organization of operating a specific education abroad program.


Program Fee: A fee paid to an organization (a college, a university, or an independent program provider) to cover specified aspects of an education abroad program. Program Tuition, although sometimes used as a synonym, more accurately refers only to the component of a program fee applied to academic and administrative expenses and not to such items as housing or health and accident insurance.


Required Fees: Mandatory charges that students must pay as participants in an education abroad program and that are not incorporated into the program fee. These include but are not limited to application fees, registration fees, course fees, and laboratory fees. Some fees may apply to all students, and some may apply only to students in certain categories (for example, those who take a certain course). Required fees are included in the official student budget for an education abroad program.


Room and Board Cost: Actual or estimated lodging and food costs that the student would need to pay to participate on the program. This item is part of the official student budget for an education abroad program. It may be incorporated entirely, in part, or not at all into the program fee.


Student Account: The record of debit and credit amounts incurred by a student. Debits may include expenses involved with the education abroad experience such as tuition, lodging, entrance fees and transportation. Credits may include scholarships and other forms of financial aid.


Student Accounts Office (or Bursar): A unit responsible for the billing and collection of tuition, fees, and incidental charges to meet the cost of attendance. This unit provides account management service and often assists with inquiries regarding billing charges/disputes. Some offices also offer third party billing and payment plan coordination.


Transportation Costs: 1) The actual or estimated cost for a student to travel from his/her home to the program site in the host country and back. 2) The actual or estimated cost for a student at the study abroad site to travel between his/her accommodations and class via public transportation, also referred to as Local Transportation Costs. These costs are part of the official student budget for an education abroad program and may or may not be incorporated into the program fee.


Tuition: A fee charged by an academic institution that will issue a transcript for instruction and related administrative services (not including room and board, insurance, etc.). Tuition (and sometimes required student fees) may be included in the program fee for an education abroad program or may be a separate charge. Some program providers use the term to refer to instructional costs.


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3.7. Financial Aid

Financial aid is a highly developed area of expertise in U.S. higher education. This section presents terms common to financial aid for education abroad students.


Assistantship: An appointment in which students receive compensation in exchange for performing work which may be in the form of teaching and/or research. The compensation may come in the form of waivers of institutional tuition and fees and/or direct payment for services.


Award Year: A twelve-month period of time beginning on July 1 of one calendar year and ending on June 30 of the next calendar year during which financial aid is calculated and awarded, and each student’s annual financial aid limit is determined. For example, the 2010–2011 award year begins July 1, 2010 and ends June 30, 2011.


Campus-Based Aid: A category of federal financial aid that includes the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Work-Study (FWS), and Federal Perkins Loan programs and is distributed to students by the financial aid office at the educational institution. In contrast to entitlement aid, an institution’s pool of campus-based aid is limited, which creates a need for institutions to establish priorities for its distribution.


Consortial Agreement (or Consortium Agreement): A written agreement between entities that are eligible for (U.S.) Federal Student Aid (FSA). See Home Institution-Host Institution Agreement.


Contractual Agreement: A written agreement between an entity that is FSA-eligible and another entity that is FSA-ineligible. See Home Institution-Host Institution Agreement.


Cost of Attendance (or Student Budget): A budget showing the total direct and indirect cost for student participation in a particular study abroad program. It itemizes the total into tuition and/or other instructional costs, books and supplies, room and board, transportation to and from the site, daily living expenses, visa fees, and other required expenses. The budget indicates which items are included in the program fee and estimates the costs not included in the program fee. Vacation travel or other leisure extras are not included.


Eligible Institution: An accredited institution, or legally authorized foreign institution, of post-secondary education that the U.S. government has declared eligible to participate in Federal Student Aid Programs.


Entitlement Aid: Financial aid that is available to any applicant who meets certain qualifications, such as family income limits. At the federal level, Pell Grants and Stafford Loans are the most widely distributed type of entitlement aid.


Expected Family Contribution (or EFC): The amount, according to a U.S. federal government formula, that a family can afford to pay toward a student’s annual cost of attendance. Colleges and universities use the EFC to determine financial aid eligibility.


FAFSA (or Free Application for Federal Student Aid): An application that students (and often their parents) must complete before every school year in order to be considered for student financial aid.


Federal Student Aid: Financial aid emanating from programs administered by the U.S. government (Pell grants, campus-based aid, Stafford loans, and PLUS loans).


Fellowship: A type of scholarship; most commonly used in connection with graduate study or faculty activities.


Financial Aid: Financial assistance provided to a student to cover, in whole or in part, the costs of participating in an academic program. The funds may be in the form of grants, scholarships, loans, or work-study awards. Sources of financial aid include: federal and state governments; institutions of higher education; foundations; ethnic groups, clubs, and religious groups; banks; and private and public corporations.


Financial Aid Office: The primary office responsible for administering financial aid at an institution of higher education. Most such offices are responsible at least for federal and state grants and loans and for institutional scholarships and other aid; some also provide information and advising on outside scholarships.


Financial Need: The difference between the cost of attendance and what the institution has determined a student and/or family can reasonably contribute toward those educational costs. See Expected Family Contribution.


Gift Aid: Financial aid in the form of scholarships and/or grants that do not need to be repaid.


Grant (or Grant-in-Aid): Need-based financial aid that generally does not need to be repaid.


Home Institution-Host Institution Agreement: An agreement between two educational institutions (a home institution and a host institution) that may allow a student to use certain types of aid for which she or he is eligible at a home institution, when enrolled for a limited time at a second institution (for example, when the second institution is the sponsor of an education abroad program).


Institutional Aid: Financial aid funded by a college or university.


Loan: Financial aid that is borrowed and must be paid back according to specific, agreed upon terms that are documented in a promissory note. Federal loan programs include Stafford, PLUS, and Perkins Loans, as well as several others specific to health professions career tracks. Loans can be either need-based (interest free while student is enrolled, in most cases) or non-need-based.


Merit-Based Aid: Financial aid that is granted through a competitive process that may be partially, but usually not primarily, based on an applicant’s financial need.


Need-Based Aid: Financial aid that is granted because of an applicant’s assessed financial need. The aid may or may not cover the full cost of a student’s education.


Package (or Financial Aid Award): The total amount of financial aid (federal and non-federal) a student is offered by the institution. The financial aid administrator at a postsecondary institution combines various forms of aid into a “package” to help meet a student’s education costs. The amount of federal student aid in a package is affected by other sources of aid received, such as scholarships or state aid.


Pell Grant: A federal, need-based grant awarded to undergraduate students. Applicants for the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program must be receiving a Pell Grant in order to qualify for the scholarship.


PLUS Loan (or Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students): A loan provided to parents of an undergraduate student. This federal program allows parents to borrow up to the difference between education costs and other financial aid received by the student.


Portability of Aid: Ability to use financial aid awarded by one institution for an education abroad program sponsored by another institution. This is facilitated through a written agreement between the institutions.


Professional Judgment: The application of the expertise of financial aid administrators to make changes to the calculation of a family’s EFC on a case-by-case basis when extenuating circumstances exist in an individual student’s situation.


Satisfactory Academic Progress: The headway toward a degree or certificate from a student’s home institution, determined by that school’s standards, that a student must meet and maintain at certain points throughout his/her educational career in order to be eligible to receive federal student financial aid. Any institution wishing to establish or maintain eligibility to administer federal financial aid programs is required to meet applicable government requirements in this area.


Scholarship: A financial award to a student who applies for the funds through a competitive process. These awards generally do not need to be repaid. The evaluation of applicants for such awards can be based on a variety of criteria, such as academic or creative works the student is asked to produce, academic record, and/or financial need.


State Aid: Financial aid funded by a U.S. state government.


Stipend: A monthly or bi-monthly payment to a student. These funds are usually used to help with living expenses.


Student Aid Report (or SAR): A report that summarizes the information that a student has submitted on his/her Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and provides the student with an Expected Family Contribution (EFC).


Work-Study: Financial aid from the federal or state government that subsidizes the hourly wage for student workers so that the employer pays only a percentage. The student’s institution must approve employers according to established guidelines. Study abroad students usually cannot use work-study awards since overseas employers do not qualify, although students employed by their home university while abroad may be eligible for work-study awards. Work-study awards may occasionally be converted to loans for students not able to work for work-study-eligible employers while abroad.


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3.8. Student Accommodations

Accommodations offered to study abroad participants range from independent housing to living with a local family. An individual study abroad program may offer one or a combination of housing options.


Apartment (or Flat): A self-contained residential unit that occupies only part of a building. Apartments for education abroad participants are usually furnished, and students share cleaning and cooking responsibilities with their apartment mates. Apartment mates may be other study abroad students or may be host nationals.


Boardinghouse: A house (often a family home) in which students or others rent one or more rooms for an extended time, usually for the duration of the education abroad program. For the purposes of education abroad, boardinghouses are run by landlords. In contrast to a homestay, residents of a boardinghouse are received as lodgers and are seldom invited to participate in the landlord’s family life.


Homestay: Private housing hosted by a local family that often includes a private or shared bedroom, meals, and laundry. Homestay experiences usually provide the greatest immersion in the host language and culture, giving students firsthand experience with family life in the host culture and the opportunity to use the host language in an informal setting. In many cases, the host family welcomes the student as a member of the family and provides a support network.


Hostel (or Youth Hostel): A short-term accommodation facility for travelers, often combined with promotion of outdoor activities and cultural exchange. In a hostel, students generally rent a bed in barracks-style bedrooms and share a common bathroom, kitchen and lounge area The main benefits of a hostel for students are low cost, informality, and an environment where they can meet other travelers from all over the world. They are generally less formal and expensive than hotels.


Housing and Meals (or Room and Board): Student accommodations and food services. Students are provided with documentation of cost, room types, and meal plans available to them. The extent to which housing and meals are provided by a program varies. In some programs students may be responsible for securing their own housing and meals; in others the program may arrange for one or both.


Independent Housing: Housing arranged by a participant outside of the accommodation provided by the education abroad program. In some cases, students who opt for independent housing may be eligible for a housing allocation deduction from the program fee.


Landlord (or Landlady): The owner of a unit of accommodation that is rented or leased to an individual or business. In general, the landlord is responsible for repairs and maintenance, and the tenant is responsible for keeping the property clean and undamaged.


Pension: A family-operated guesthouse, mostly for short-term travelers. The term is commonly used in Europe and other countries throughout the world as a synonym for an inexpensive hotel where travelers share bathroom facilities. Lodging in pensions is frequently used during short-term education abroad experiences.


Residence Hall (or Dormitory or Dorm): A building used to house students. The building may range in size from just a few rooms to hundreds, and rooms may be single or multiple occupancy. Most often, residents of a group of rooms share bathrooms with shower, toilet, and sink facilities. There may also be shared kitchen facilities. In the United States, the term “dormitory” is going out of style with residential life professionals, who prefer the term “residence hall.” Major factors education abroad students consider when choosing to live in a residence hall include convenience to classrooms, cost, and the opportunity to live with local students.


Residential College: A housing facility that often physically resembles a residence hall and often combines elements of living and academic aspects of the university in one location. Residential colleges encourage participation in a variety of social clubs and may have an academic element (such as their own course offerings). They often have a central theme, such as an academic focus or common interest (for example, multiculturalism or internationalism). Members of a residential college may be expected to eat their meals together. Such facilities are rare in the U.S., but common in the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.


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3.9. Health, Safety, Risk, Liability

This area of education abroad administration and advising has drawn increasing attention in recent years as student destinations become more varied, political events become more unpredictable, and institutional officers become increasingly concerned with liability issues.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (or CDC): An agency in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that cooperates with state health departments, health authorities in other countries, and international health agencies to provide information, combat disease, and promote health. Education abroad professionals widely use its international travelers’ health information. 


Contingency Plan (or Emergency Plan or Crisis Management Plan): Pre-established guidelines and practical measures that instruct how to respond in the case of emergencies affecting education abroad programs and participating students. These plans cover areas such as health and safety, emergency communication, funding for emergencies, and the order and responsibility for decision–making regarding continuance, suspension, evacuation or cancellation of a program. Contingency plans are considered essential to a program sponsor’s health and safety policies.


Country-Specific Information (formerly known as Consular Information Sheet): One of three types of travel information issued by the U.S. State Department. Country-specific information is issued and periodically updated for every country in the world, and includes information on health and safety, crime, drug laws, basic visa requirements, standard of living, and the nature of the government and economy. For some countries or regions, Travel Alerts or Travel Warnings are also issued, indicating greater potential risk.


Emergency Evacuation: Removing people, such as education abroad participants and staff, from a source of imminent danger. Sources of danger might include natural catastrophes (for example, earthquakes), man-made environmental catastrophes (for example, nuclear plant meltdowns), epidemics, civil unrest, war, and terrorism. Companies that provide emergency evacuation services may do so on an insurance policy basis or as a fee-for-service. In extreme cases, governments may provide evacuation services for their own citizens.


FERPA (or Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act): U.S. federal government law that outlines privacy rules for student educational records. It specifies what information and under what conditions schools may release information from a student’s educational record. It also outlines the conditions under which parents have the right to access their children’s education records and what rights students have regarding their records. It affords parents the right to have access to their children’s education records, the right to seek to have the records amended, and the right to have some control over the disclosure of personally identifiable information from the records. When a student turns 18 years old, or enters a postsecondary institution at any age, the rights under FERPA transfer from the parents to the student, with some exceptions in practice, such as students claimed by either parent as a dependent for tax purposes.


General Counsel (or University Attorney): Individual or unit providing legal services and representation; litigation and risk management; contract drafting and review; and compliance oversight in all areas of an institution’s operation, instruction, research and administration. The primary goal of the Office of the General Counsel is to provide counsel to minimize legal risk and costs, reduce litigation exposure, and ensure compliance with law.


Health Abroad: Conditions affecting the physical and mental health of individual education abroad participants and the measures that an institution has in place to protect the health of participants. Such measures may include requiring health insurance, making recommendations for inoculations or drugs to control illnesses specific to the host country/region (where relevant), providing information about the individual’s role in staying physically and mentally healthy, and instituting on-site policies and provisions for health care in case of emergencies.


Health and Safety Abroad Policies: Policies or guidelines developed by a program’s sponsoring institution and/or a participating student’s home institution regarding travel abroad under institutional auspices, whether by students, faculty or staff. The aim of such policies is to define what degree of risk to the health and safety of the specific individual or group is acceptable, and what measures (such as contingency plans) should be in place to promote health and safety. An institutional policy may stipulate, for example, whether official travel is allowed (and by whom) to countries for which the U.S. State Department has issued a Travel Warning, or may address additional means of risk assessment.


HIPAA (or Health and Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996): A federal law that established a set of national standards for the protection of personal health information and gives patients an array of rights with respect to that information. The law does allow for the release of information if needed for patient care and other important purposes. The law contains two main provisions: 1) The Privacy Rule governs the protection of individuals’ health information while allowing the release of health information needed to provide health care. 2) The Security Rule establishes a national set of security standards for protecting certain health information that is held or transferred in electronic form.


In Loco Parentis: A doctrine positing that, in the case of residentially based higher education, a special relationship exists between the institution and the student that even exceeds that which landlords traditionally owe their tenants (in loco parentis means literally “in place of parents”), In this view, institutions have a duty to foresee, and help avoid, harm to their students. The doctrine fell out of favor in the 1960s but is making a small comeback. Courts now generally accept the idea that, at the very least, colleges and universities owe their students a safe environment.


International Health Insurance: An insurance policy that covers medical conditions when one is abroad If the student does have health insurance (either through their parents or home institution), the policy may or may not provide coverage in other countries, and it may or may not cover certain types of expenses, such as evacuation or repatriation. Special health insurance for students pursuing education abroad, as well as for non-students, is available from numerous companies. It may be purchased by individuals, or by an institution as a group policy in which individual students from that institution may enroll. Such policies are meant to provide coverage outside of the home country where a traveler’s regular health insurance may not be applicable and to provide coverage in the event that medical evacuation or repatriation of remains becomes necessary. Most policies specifically for health insurance abroad have a home-country exclusion, as well as many other exclusions (for example, for preexisting conditions).


IRB (or Institutional Review Board): A committee, common within many U.S. higher education institutions, dedicated to the approval, oversight and review of research conducted by students, faculty or staff who are in any way affiliated with the university. These boards are concerned primarily with the protection of human and animal research subjects and the assurance that all research is conducted in an ethical and legally compliant manner. Researchers commonly submit a proposal to IRB for approval before beginning their work.


Liability: The potential exposure of an entity to a lawsuit, in education abroad often over matters of health or safety, but extending beyond them to other issues having to do with legal concepts of duty and reasonable care.


Medical Evacuation: Moving a person or persons for medical purposes (for example, treatment of illness or accidental injury), usually to a location where more appropriate medical treatment is available. Health insurance may or may not cover international medical evacuation; special insurance policies are available for this purpose.


Repatriation of Remains: The return of the remains of a deceased individual to his/her home country. Insurance for repatriation covers all or part of the associated costs. Health insurance policies may or may not include this type of coverage; special policies for this purpose are available.


Risk Management: The process of identifying, assessing, and controlling risks that arise from operational factors in order to minimize their negative consequences.


Road Safety: The probability of accidental injury and death caused by collisions with moving vehicles; use of the term includes vehicles hitting pedestrians and collisions involving motorcycles, bicycles, and other non-motorized vehicles. This is one of the leading sources of injury and death of Americans abroad, according to the U.S. State Department’s website entry on this topic. At least one U.S. organization, the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT), is devoted solely to raising awareness of this issue.


Safety Abroad: Conditions that might impact the well-being of education abroad participants individually or as a group, the measures that an institution has in place to protect the safety of participants, and the behavior of the participants regarding these issues. A companion term, Security Abroad, is sometimes used to refer to region-specific conditions, or alternatively to threats from terrorism. Sources of potential threats to safety include accidents, crime, environmental catastrophes, social unrest, and violent social conflict, including war and terrorism.


Travel Advisory: Term generally used for what the U.S. State Department officially calls Travel Information, which provides assessments of the health and safety risks for U.S. citizens traveling to all other countries. The State Department issues three types of travel information: Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country-Specific Information. Several other countries (for example, Australia, Canada, France, Switzerland, and the UK) also provide travel advisories for their citizens who travel abroad.


Travel Alert (formerly known as Public Announcement): Official term used by the U.S. State Department for a bulletin outlining a temporary risk to U.S. citizens traveling abroad. It is typically used for information regarding potential threats due to terrorism, civil unrest (such as political demonstrations), or natural calamities such as hurricanes or earthquakes. Travel Alerts may be issued for a city, a country, a world region, or worldwide. See also Travel Warning and Consular Information Sheet.


Travel Warning: Official term used by the U.S. State Department for an announcement that warns U.S. citizens against travel to a specific country or region because of health, safety, or security conditions in that area. It is the strongest of the three types of travel information issued by the State Department. Note that Travel Warnings come in different degrees of severity, though these are not designated quantitatively, but by language that calls, for example, for all U.S. citizens to defer nonessential travel, or for the voluntary or mandatory evacuation of some or all U.S. staff members (and/or their families) of the U.S. Embassy and consulates situated in the country U.S. citizens may not be able to get support services from the U.S. if they do travel to a location that has a travel warning in effect.


World Health Organization (WHO): The United Nations (UN) agency responsible for coordinating public health efforts worldwide. It provides leadership on global health trends, monitors and combats disease outbreaks, conducts research, and provides information and advice on global health issues.


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3.10. Travel Authorization

International travel is subject to regulation by the governments of nations, which have the power to permit or deny crossing of their borders. Permission for entry is usually given for a specific purpose and limited duration.


Certificate of Eligibility: A document issued by a consulate stating that an applicant is eligible to be issued a visa.


Consulate: The office of a foreign government in a host country that provides information and visa services to non citizens and support services for their own nationals, including the issuance of passports. There may be one or more consulates in a host country and each one may be designated to serve only a specific regional jurisdiction. Visas are issued by the consulate and/or embassy of the country that is the traveler’s destination; consulates and embassies often provide informational services to citizens and residents of the country where they are located (e.g., information and advising on study in the country they represent), as well as services (including emergency assistance, issuance of passports, etc.) to citizens of the country they represent. The more limited services provided by Honorary Consulates usually do not include visa or passport processing.


Embassy: The seat of a country’s principal diplomatic representation in another country. Embassies are usually in the capital city of the host country. In the case of countries that are not officially recognized, diplomatic offices may exist under other names, such as coordinating council (Taiwan) or Mission to the UN; a country’s diplomatic interests may be represented by a special-interests section of another country’s embassy; or there may be no representation at all. 


Passport: Official document issued by the country of one’s citizenship, which serves as internationally recognized proof of that citizenship. In the case of U.S. citizens, U.S. passports are issued by the Passport Services branch of the U.S. State Department. Citizenship may be conferred by birth (i.e., determined by the citizenship of one’s birth parents or country of birth), or may be obtained through a process of naturalization. Some countries allow dual citizenship, if the individual is eligible for citizenship under the regulations of both countries. Passports are almost always required for international travel.


Residence Permit: Certification from the host country government that an individual is allowed to live in that country. This may be required In addition to, or instead of, a visa.


Residency Status: A category that determines a person’s rights and duties based on where they are living and what their legal obligations are in that location. Citizens traveling outside their home country may have various statuses abroad based on their visas and/or residence permits.


Tourist Card: A card issued by some countries for short-term entry in lieu of a visa. The maximum length of stay permitted on a tourist card varies from country to country.


Visa: A stamp or sticker placed in a passport that allows an individual to enter a country in which s/he does not have citizenship. All countries require official permission for entry by citizens of other countries. When this permission requires a formal application and is stamped into the traveler’s passport, it is known as a visa. If a visa is not required (an arrangement that may be called a “visa waiver program”), this is only possible by mutual agreement of the country of which the traveler is a citizen, with the country of the traveler’s destination. Visas are generally issued in advance of the proposed visit by the diplomatic representatives (for example, Embassy or Consulate) of the destination country, or less commonly by immigration authorities upon the traveler’s arrival in the host country. Different categories of visas may be issued for different purposes, chief of which include travel, study, business, or work. An individual must possess a valid passport before applying for a visa.


WHO Card: Colloquial name for the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis, which is available from the World Health Organization (WHO). It is a yellow card on which an individual can have physicians record immunizations received. When a certain immunization is required for entry into a country, the corresponding notation on this card serves as acceptable proof of immunization.


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3.11. Participant Demographics and Diversity

The education abroad field is committed to increasing the diversity of students who are sent abroad and the diversity of destinations to which students are sent. Here are some of the terms used when talking

about diversity.


Citizenship: A status that indicates membership in a nation state, or political community, and carries with it rights to political participation and obligations. (A person having such membership is a Citizen.) It is largely synonymous with Nationality, although it is possible to have a nationality without being a citizen (i.e., be legally subject to a state and entitled to its protection without having rights of political participation in it).


Disability: A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (as defined by the U.S. Department of Justice, the administrator of the Americans with Disabilities Act.


Diversity: The wide variety of heterogeneous personal, social, demographic, or geographic qualities that exists within a larger group. (This term can be used in reference to the student population that studies abroad; professionals in the field of education abroad; faculty at home and abroad; and characteristics of education abroad programs, including locations.)


Ethnicity: An aspect of an individual’s identity that is based on that individual’s heritage where the individual shares common physical, national, linguistic, and/or religious traits with others who are from the same heritage. (Ethnic Groups are composed of members sharing a common ethnicity.)


First-Generation College Student: A student whose parents never enrolled in post-secondary education (U.S. government’s definition) or whose parents did not obtain a college or university degree (definition used by some institutions).


Heritage Student: A student who studies abroad in a location that is linked in some way (for example, linguistically, culturally, historically) to his/her family or cultural background.


Nationality: 1) Membership of a person in a nation state (when used in a legal sense). A National of a country generally possess the right of abode in the country whose nationality he/she holds. Nationality is distinguished from citizenship, as a citizen has the right to participate in the political life of the state of which he/she is a citizen, such as by voting or standing for election. Although nationals need not have these rights, normally they do. 2) Membership in a group of people with a shared history and a shared sense of identity and political destiny (when used in a sociopolitical sense).


Race: A socially defined concept used to categorize people based on a combination of physical characteristics and genetic heritage.


Student of Color: A student whose skin tone is considered (by the student and/or by others) not to be white. In the U.S. the term has largely replaced the term Minority Student, in part because in some settings “minority” students actually constitute a majority. In some U.S. locations the term Multicultural Student is used instead.


Student with Disabilities: A student with mental or physical conditions that can make it more difficult to carry out selected activities without assistance.

Underrepresented Destinations (or Less Traditional Destinations or Nontraditional Destinations): Destinations that host only small numbers of U.S. study abroad students. This can be for a variety of reasons, such as lack of student interest, lack of home university support, safety or security issues, language barriers, or lack of host country infrastructure.


Underrepresented Disciplines: Areas of academic specialization that are less represented among students studying abroad than among the general U.S. student population or the home campus student population.


Underrepresented Groups: Categories of students who study abroad in fewer numbers than they represent in a larger population, such as the U.S., their home state, or their home institution. Under-representation may be based on ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, discipline of study, or any combination of these factors.


Whole-World Study: Participation by students in education abroad programs around the world and particularly in Underrepresented Destinations.


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3.12. Sustainability and Social Responsibility

In recent years the education abroad profession has focused greater attention on the impact of education abroad activities on the environment and on host communities. The following terms apply to this area.


Capacity Building: Activities intended to increase the ability of a community, organization or other entity to use resources effectively, host international students, or reach other goals.


Carbon Credit: The value associated with the output of greenhouse gases or carbon dioxide, approximately one credit being equivalent to one ton of carbon or carbon dioxide output. Governments or other institutions can attempt to calculate the number of carbon credits related to an activity and “purchase” the credits that offset the carbon output.


Carbon Footprint: The total amount of greenhouse gases emitted directly or indirectly through any human activity, typically expressed in equivalent tons of either carbon or carbon dioxide.


Carbon Offset: The decrease of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in one place in order to “offset” GHG emissions occurring elsewhere, where it is less feasible technically or economically to do so.


Climate Change: Changes in global climate patterns (such as temperature, precipitation, or wind) over extended periods of time as a result of either natural processes or human activity.


Ecological Footprint: The total amount of land, food, water, and other resources used by, or the total ecological impact of, a person’s or organization’s activities.


Environment-Friendly: Goods and services considered to inflict minimal or no harm on the environment.


Environmental Audit: A systematic and objective evaluation of how well a project, organization, individual, or service is performing in terms of environmental impact, including, but not necessarily limited to, compliance with any relevant standards or regulations.


Fair Trade: A method of production and exchange of commodities that promotes equitable standards for international labor and gives workers a sense of economic self-sufficiency through fair wages and good employment opportunities.


Global Warming: The observed increase in the average temperature of the earth’s atmosphere and oceans in recent decades, and its projected continuation attributed primarily to human activities.


Green: Acting in an environmentally responsible manner.


Living Wage: A wage high enough for the worker and family to survive and remain healthy and comfortable with all of their basic needs met.


Sustainability: Meeting present social, economic, and environmental needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.


Vendor Code of Conduct: Basic requirements that vendors must meet in order to do business with a particular organization (for example, compliance with labor standards, environmental laws, and non-discrimination).



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