Frequently Asked Questions

Do students studying abroad still graduate on time?

Studying abroad will not hinder a student’s ability to graduate on time.  In fact, KU study abroad students graduate in four years at twice the rate of KU students who do not study abroad.

Where can students study abroad?

KU offers programs in approximately 70 countries throughout the world. Students can study in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia, or Europe.  Visit the Study Abroad in High Risk Locations  page if your student is interested in studying abroad in a location currently under a U.S. State Department Travel Advisory Level 3 or Level 4.

When can students study abroad?  Do they have to study abroad for a whole semester?

Study Abroad & Global Engagement offers semester, academic year, summer, winter break and spring break programs.  Students can participate in many programs as soon as the summer after  his or her freshman year. Programs are available for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Do students need to have a certain grade point average to study abroad?

Our study abroad programs do have GPA requirements.  The GPA requirement will vary depending on the program however most of our programs require a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or above.  GPA requirements are listed on the top of the program brochure page.  It is also possible to search for programs based on their GPA requirement – this is located in the Advanced Program Search.  If your student does not meet the minimum GPA, they can talk to their study abroad coordinator for more information on the GPA petition process.

Do you have to know a foreign language to study abroad?

No.  Programs with instructional offerings in English are plentiful and incorporate a wide variety of disciplines.  Study Abroad & Global Engagement also offers programs with courses that are taught in over 20 different languages and many semester and academic year programs allow qualified students with demonstrated language proficiency to choose from regular university course offerings at the overseas institution.

How much does study abroad cost?

Individual program costs vary, but studying abroad does not have to be prohibitively expensive. The University of Kansas Study Abroad & Global Engagement strives to keep costs down while maintaining high-quality programs that are available to as many students as possible. For instance, KU exchange agreements with universities in Costa Rica, the United Kingdom, Germany, Hong Kong, and with the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP) provide study abroad opportunities of great value at tuition, room and board costs close to those of staying on the Lawrence campus.  Program costs will be included on Program Brochure pages online. For a point of reference, the KU Financial Aid and Scholarships office provides guidelines for the average cost of studying at KU on the Lawrence campus based on an average undergraduate enrollment of 15 credit hours per semester. Visit the KU Financial Aid and Scholarships office for more information.

Will the credits students receive be KU credit or Transfer credit?

Through Study Abroad & Global Engagement, students remain enrolled at KU and receive resident KU credit. Grades earned while studying abroad are calculated into students KU GPA. KU students may earn credit toward their major, general education credit, or elective credit. Students work with an academic advisor in conjunction with a study abroad advisor to ensure continued progress toward a degree.

What if KU doesn’t offer a program that fits a student's needs?

Students who cannot meet their academic objectives through an existing KU study abroad program may, with academic approval, develop their own programs by working with Program Providers or other U.S. Institutions that offer study abroad programs. We call these Student Initiated Programs (SIPs).

What is a Student-Initiated Program (SIP)?

Student-Initiated Programs (SIPs) allow KU students to earn resident KU credit for study abroad programs sponsored by other accredited U.S. universities and colleges. The SIP category also applies to degree-seeking KU students who opt to enroll directly in foreign institutions accredited by the Ministry of Education of the host country for a summer, semester, or academic year.

What is FERPA?

FERPA stands for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). This legislation requires that we keep student information private, so our staff can only release student information when the student provides proper photo identification or can answer specific personally identifiable questions. Study Abroad & Global Engagement is only able to provide information to family members or other individuals if the student has filled out a release with Study Abroad & Global Engagement.

If we have FERPA Authorization to Release Student Information form on file through the Registrar’s office, Bursar’s office and/or Financial Aid, why won’t that apply to study abroad?

The FERPA release forms are for Account, Financial Aid and Academic record information.  Release of Study Abroad information is not included on that document. Because of this, Study Abroad & Global Engagement requires that students fill out our FERPA release which is part of students’ online application and acceptance materials.

How do students get credits approved?

Students who will be taking courses at foreign universities will need to get their courses and credits approved by KU prior to departure on the program.  Once students have looked at the courses offered at their foreign university, they will print off the Academic Plan and Approval Form and list the courses they are planning to take.  Then they will go to the Study Abroad Faculty/Departmental Advisor to discuss what the courses would count as here at KU.  If students have questions about this process, they should meet with their program coordinator in Study Abroad & Global Engagement.

Do all students need a visa to study abroad?

The visa requirements for countries differ.  If a student requires a visa for their study abroad program, Study Abroad & Global Engagement will give the student information about the visa requirements and what steps need to be taken to get their visa.

What should student do if they need to withdraw from their study abroad program?

If a student needs to withdraw from their study abroad program, they should contact Study Abroad & Global Engagement as soon as possible.  See the study abroad Withdrawal Policy for more information.

How much do students owe for their program fee?

Individual program costs vary based on a variety of factors, such as program structure, hours of credit, length of program, number of excursions or other group activities, and location.  The program fees for KU programs are listed on the Program Cost portion of the online program pages.  The program fee will be posted on students Enroll & Pay account after they commit to a program and after they turn in a signed Financial Contract to Study Abroad & Global Engagement.

Why do students have to pay tuition in addition to the study abroad program fee?

KU Study Abroad students are required to be enrolled at KU while they study abroad. For students that are on programs that involve KU courses taught abroad they will have KU tuition posted on their Enroll & Pay account after students enroll in study abroad courses. KU tuition is always calculated at instate resident rates and students will be billed at either the standard tuition rate or compact tuition rate depending on when they first attended KU. For programs where students will be enrolling directly into a foreign institution they will also be required to enroll at KU in placeholder enrollment.  This placeholder enrolled is called FRSP (Foreign Study Program) and generates a $40 enrollment fee on students Enroll & Pay account. These students may also see onsite/exchange tuition posted on their Enroll & Pay account depending on the type of study abroad program. To see what is included in the study abroad program fee or to see what kind of tuition the student will be paying, please review the Program Cost on the online program pages.

Can students use Financial Aid to study abroad?

Yes, federal financial aid is applicable to study abroad programs, and in most cases KU scholarships and grants apply to study abroad.  See Scholarship and Financial Aid for more information about using financial aid for study abroad.

How can I find the dates of programs?

Dates for programs are listed on the top of the program brochure page.  If the dates are listed as TBA or there are no dates listed, then either we have not received the information from the host institution or we have not set the dates.  Additional information about program dates, including travel dates and on-site orientations will be given to your student after acceptance.

Can students travel before, after or during the program?

Yes, students can chose to travel before or after their program.  If they plan to travel before or after the program, they  must discuss this with their program coordinator.  The program coordinator will inform the student if there are any visa requirements or other issues that they need to know about.  Students can normally travel during their program, however this will depend on which program they are on.  If they have questions about traveling during their program, they should ask their program coordinator.

What do students need to pack?

For information on what students should pack, please review the Packing Tips section of the KU Study Abroad Orientation Handbook (pdf).

How can I contact a student while they are abroad?

There are many ways for students and their families to keep in touch.  E-mail is frequently available through the host institution abroad or at internet cafes around town.  Students can also keep in touch via Skype or cell phones.  Many students choose to purchase a mobile phone while abroad, which allows for cheaper communication.  For more information about communication abroad, please review the Communications section of the KU Study Abroad Orientation Handbook.  The Useful Links section may also help in looking at different communication options.

How do students enroll for classes at KU while they are abroad?

While students are abroad, they will need to enroll in classes at KU through Enroll & Pay during their enrollment period.  The process they will go through will be exactly the same as it would be if they were on campus. If students run into any problems with enrolling online, they should contact Study Abroad & Global Engagement for assistance either by email or by phone 785-864-3742.

What is AIG Global Assistance Services and why does Study Abroad & Global Engagement require students to have it?

AIG Global Assistance Services is evacuation and repatriation insurance. It provides services that are not covered under most health insurance policies. More information can be found on the AIG Global Assistance Services web page.

Can I visit a student during their time abroad?

Yes, however the timing is important. If a student is going on a winter break or summer program, Study Abroad & Global Engagement would recommend that you travel with the student before or after the program. Spring break programs fill most of spring break and would not accommodate additional travel time. Due to the length of these programs, students will be busy most of the time. If a student is on a semester or year long program, Study Abroad & Global Engagement recommends you consider when the student will be in class and consider visiting during academic breaks.


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9th among public universities in the country for high quality, low cost study abroad programs — U.S. News & World Report
Longest-running exchange program in Western Hemisphere (begun in 1958) between KU and University of Costa Rica
18th in the nation among public universities for undergraduate participation in study abroad — Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange
28.1% of KU undergraduate students study abroad prior to graduation.
KU students who study abroad graduate in four years at twice the rate of students who do not study abroad
More than 160 study abroad programs in 75 countries, with instruction in all disciplines and 20+ languages
Students can study abroad for an academic year, semester, summer, spring break, or winter break
Programs include international study, internships, service, and research opportunities
Students participating in semester, academic year, and select summer programs fulfill Goal 4.2 of the KU Core curriculum
Students can fulfill major, minor, certificate, elective, and KU Core curriculum requirements abroad
Programs are available for students in every major at KU
Financial aid is applicable to study abroad programs, and most KU scholarships and grants can be applied to study abroad
Study Abroad & Global Engagement and many academic departments offer scholarships to qualified KU students
By studying abroad, students gain a global perspective on the world and strengthen their career opportunities
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times