For Students Studying Abroad on External or Exchange Programs
***The guidence below is for students planning to study abroad Spring 2021 and beyond and will be updated as necessary***
Education Abroad understands that students Conditionally Approved to study abroad on an external or exchange program likely have concerns about how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic might affect their plans to study abroad. University leadership continues to monitor the state of international programming for the spring 2021 semester and beyond. Due to the uncertainty of COVID-19, Temple University has not yet made a decision on spring study abroad, which is why students are currently Conditionally Approved and we are encouraging students to plan carefully over the coming months to enable academic continuity and financial stability until it becomes clear what is in store for external and exchange study abroad students.
Due to the unpredictability of the pandemic, Education Abroad has created this page to provide students with temporary guidance for planning with all outcomes in mind and to link them to COVID-specific withdrawal and refund policies developed by our external and exchange partners. Until students are notified that they are officially Approved to study abroad, or that they are not permitted to study abroad the guidance on this page will help students plan ahead and enable them to discuss any concerns with their external program or host institution or their Education Abroad program manager. Education Abroad encourages students and families to check their email and this page frequently.
Due to the unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, many external and exchange partners have temporarily modified their voluntary withdrawal and refund policies. Students should reference their program directly for more information on these policies.
Students should review all of the information on this page as they consider their plans to study abroad, keeping in mind that Temple may make the decision to suspend travel to host country even if their program is operating as planned and they want to continue with their plans to study abroad. Students need to plan for all possible scenarios, and make note of all important dates and deadlines outlined by the study abroad program, by Education Abroad and by Temple Main Campus; the information outlined below is designed to help students do so.
Any additional questions not answered by this page or the study abroad program, students can contact their Temple Education Abroad External or Exchange Program Manager.
Understanding Financial Obligations
External and Direct Enroll Programs
Students studying through an External Program, are not charged anything by Temple University. Students pay the external program provider or host institution for tuition - instead of Temple - for that term. Students may also pay the external program provider, their host institution or independent vendors for additional expenses like housing. Temple has no control over the financial policies or fees of external programs, foreign universities or independent vendors. Students need to check with their external program, host institution and/or independent vendors regarding their withdrawal and refund policies, including what happens if Temple suspends travel to a location, but the program is offered abroad as planned. Some external programs are offering temporary withdrawal and refund policies as a safeguard for students. Check with your external program or host-institution and discuss these policies directly before making a decision related to program participation. Students deciding to return to Main Campus, please keep in mind deadlines related to registration and/or securing housing in Philadelphia to ensure a feasible back-up plan.
When students study through an exchange partner university, they are charged Temple tuition and Main Campus registration and billing dates apply to their tuition charges. Students are not charged anything else by Temple University for that term. Instead, students will pay their host university or independent vendors for additional expenses like housing. Temple does not control their policies and students must check with their host university or independent vendors regarding their withdrawal and refund policies. Discuss these policies directly with the exchange program before making a decision related to program participation.
Additional Pre-Departure Out-of-Pocket Expenses to Consider
Airline Tickets and Border/Visa Entry Restrictions
We strongly encourage students to consider the unpredictability of the current situation in their decision to book a flight. Some airlines are currently offering relatively low cost tickets, but whether students purchase a flight now or wait until more information is available, we advise students to investigate “cancel for any reason” trip cancellation insurance options and carefully review the exclusions. We also recommend students consider purchasing fully refundable and flexible change flights in the event their program is suspended or their home institution prohibits travel to their host country before or during their semester abroad.
In the event their program is cancelled or suspended after the start date, a select number of external programs offer reimbursements for flight change fees.
National policies regarding visas and entry by foreigners can change rapidly and with little notice. Students must stay up-to-date on news regarding host country and any possible travel bans that would limit their ability to obtain a visa or enter a country. In addition, due to low demand, many airlines have reduced or suspended international routes. This may cause international flights to be more expensive than expected. Students may also experience unexpected flight cancellations that could impact their ability to arrive on time.
Housing: Operated Independent of your External or Exchange Program
Unfortunately, we have no control over refund policies of independent housing providers or students' external program or exchange university provided-housing. Students must discuss terms with their housing provider (or external/exchange program, if they organize housing) before signing an agreement, and in particular what their housing refund policies are in the event of a program cancellation or suspension of travel by Temple. See below for information on possible backup housing options.
Additional Miscellaneous Expenses (check with your program/host institution)
Students may be charged additional fees by their external program or host institution, or may be required to budget for additional out-of-pocket pre-departure expenditures, including but not limited to: visa/immigration expenses, housing, meal plans, transportation, host country international insurance, excursions, books, etc. Miscellaneous expenses will vary depending on your program, however, before students financially commit to any of these out-of-pocket pre-departure expenses, they should check with their program or vendor about withdrawal, refund and/or reimbursement policies.
PLEASE NOTE: Temple will not be responsible for any costs you may incur, including airfare and any cancellation or change fees, in the event your program is rescheduled, modified, or canceled by the provider/institution or by Temple.
Developing a Back-Up Plan and Understanding Risks
Registering for Classes on Main Campus
Education Abroad will register students for an external program placeholder course or an exchange program placeholder course, during priority registration and prior to the placeholder course registration, we encourage all students to register for classes offered by Main Campus. If withdrawal and refund policies are flexible for their external or exchange program, we also recommend students move forward with course registration through their program. In all situations, students must be aware of their program’s withdrawal and refund policies as well as Temple’s registration or add/drop dates and Temple’s billing dates and payment deadlines. Students should speak to their academic advisor about their back-up plan to return to Main Campus and the availability of required courses. Temple University leadership will make every effort to make a decision on suspending external and exchange study abroad programs prior to placeholder course registration, however, students will need to consider their program (and any other relevant vendor) withdrawal deadlines to determine if Temple’s estimated decision-making timeline for semester programs is in conflict with their ability to recover funds spent prior to a decision from university leadership. Please also keep in mind that Temple University reserves the right to suspend international travel to any country at any time, regardless of the financial loss such a decision presents to study abroad students.
Housing on Main Campus
If students plan to secure Temple-affiliated housing just in case they withdraw, their program is cancelled or travel to their host country is suspended, please visit the university Housing website for important dates and deadlines. Students interested in securing off-campus housing for the semester, should visit the Off Campus Services website for information on listings, lease lengths, and prices.
Understanding Deadlines and Decisions
Back-up plans should be developed with all possible scenarios in mind:
You withdraw from your program;
Your external or exchange program is cancelled by the program or host-institution;
Temple suspends international travel to your host country;
You abandon your back-up plan and proceed with your plan to study abroad.
Each scenario should also take into consideration the date by which you will become financially responsible to your external/exchange program, Temple University or independent vendors, and the ability for you to complete your intended academic requirements and secure housing during the study abroad semester.
If you decide to withdraw from your external or exchange program, in addition to notifying your external or exchange program directly, you must notify your Temple Program Manager via email as soon as possible to allow for important, time-sensitive changes to be made to your student record to facilitate your return to Main Campus (dropping your placeholder course, updating your cost of attendance with SFS, etc.).
Program and/or Temple International Travel Restrictions
If your program is canceled or travel is suspended after the semester has already begun on Main Campus, Temple will make every effort to assist you in enrolling in coursework through Temple for that term, but we unfortunately cannot make any guarantees. You risk losing out on a semester of academic credit if an alternate plan is not developed or is not feasible depending on the timing of your program’s cancellation or a restriction on travel announced by Temple.
Traveling abroad during a pandemic is inherently risky for your health and safety, but it may also pose risks to you financially and academically. This risk is heightened when Temple does not administer the academic programming abroad nor does Temple have control over your program’s withdrawal or refund policies. All of these factors, and the limitations they present to Temple and Education Abroad, should be considered in your decision-making process when deciding to participate in a external or exchange study abroad program.