Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the top ten questions our office receives from students and parents.
1. Who is eligible for study abroad or off-campus programs and how are students selected?
All Augustana sophomores, juniors and seniors with a 2.00 GPA (2.50 for exchange and internship programs) are eligible for any of Augustana's study abroad programs. Most of our programs have no language requirement and include courses which do not hold prerequisites.
All Augustana programs have target enrollments. When the number of applicants greatly exceeds the target enrollment for a program, a selection process is utilized. Most programs use a process which pools students into one of five possible cohorts based upon a combination of academic class and GPA at the time of application. A program roster is created by selecting students from the highest ranking pool, then the 2nd highest, etc. until all slots are reserved and a short waiting list is created. When an applicant is turned away from their initial program of choice, they are notified of other program options and may transfer their application to an open program.
2. How can we find out about upcoming programs?
There are several ways to get information about upcoming programs. The IOP website you are currently visiting has up-to-date information on upcoming programs year round. A typical cycle for program promotion can last 18-24 months. Each Spring there is a "Sneak Peek" event that highlights new programs that will be offered a year later. Then in the Fall Augustana holds its annual Study Away Fair, highlighting the programs which will be offered the next year and which students will apply for during the Winter Term. For example, in the Spring of 2016 there will be a Preview and then in the Fall of 2016 our Fair would announce all programs that depart in the summer of 2017 or the 2017-2018 academic year. Typically the Fall Study Away Fair is followed by individual program information meetings each October and November. Posters around campus and email messages to the whole campus from IOP or from Program Directors are also common.
3. How do students apply to a program?
Applications by Augustana students for all Augustana programs are done electronically at www.augustana.edu/plus. Application instructions are sent to students via campuswide emails and are available at any program's website once the application phase is announced. The application process is typically "live" from November through January for all programs beginning the following summer and throughout the year. This means that all 2017-2018 programs, including summer 2017 offerings, will have open enrollment from November 2016 through January 2017. In some cases programs will accept late applications beyond the January due date. If you are interested in a program beyond the January application deadline, you should speak with the Director of International & Off-Campus Programs to enquire whether the program is open for late applications. At present only summer programs accept students other than Augustana full-time students. Undergraduate students from other universities should contact the IOP Director for information on how to apply for an Augustana summer program.
4. What do programs cost?
As you might expect, this can vary greatly depending on the length of the program, its timing, the number of credits offered and other factors. During the academic year, our Term Abroad programs (Trimester length programs) are typically priced within $2,000-$3,000 above an equivalent cost to on-campus tuition, fees, room & board. There are some programs which are priced above this range, as some regions of the world or some programs simply have higher on-the-ground costs. Short-term or break programs, as well as Summer programs, have greater variation in cost due to the unique nature of their travel.
Some Term Abroad programs, typically winter programs, use only a portion of the term (5 of 10 weeks for example) and additional charges for room & board during the on-campus portion of the program may apply. The program websites for each program will indicate when this is the case. Also, with all study away programs during the academic year (all but summer) students should plan their academic coursework for the year to avoid course overloads. If students choose to pursue a study abroad experience that takes them into a credit overload, those will lead to additional overload fees owed to the college and billed during the student's final term of that academic year.
You can always find current pricing on any program's webpage and programs which take the place of an on-campus trimester also include a cost comparison so that families can compare the cost of a trimester at Augustana and a trimester away on an Augustana study away program.
5. Is financial aid available?
For any of our "term abroad" programs, those which replace a trimester on campus with one off-campus, the answer is a definitive yes. All financial aid which you would receive on campus is available to you on these programs. For short-term and summer programs, there is no standard Augustana financial aid available, however there are special financial aid programs designed for study abroad, including the Augie Choice program, IOP Passport Grants, and language immersion grants from the Freistat Center for Peace Studies. Freistat grants are available to students enrolled in our summer Spanish and French programs as well as any exchange programs where students take at least 6 credits in the host-country language.
6. How does Augie Choice work with study abroad programs?
Augie Choice grants any student in their junior year or beyond (60+ credits of completed credits) the opportunity to receivea one-time grant of $2,000 from Augustana towards a study abroad program, internship or research project. Each year there is also a variety of programs which are Augie Choice eligible for sophomores. These include any program which operates on a 3-year cycle as well as any program in which coursework during Spring Trimester is paired with a travel component in the early weeks of summer.
Eligible students may request Augie Choice funds for any approved study abroad program (including non-Augustana programs with permission of the IOP Director.) The Augie Choice funds are paid to students directly 30 days prior to departure for all programs. For most programs payments are often due earlier than this date and the Augie Choice funds act as a reimbursement for funds students have paid in advance. For others, Augie Choice is used to cover airfare or other out-of-pocket expenses associated with a study abroad program. Applications are available in the CEC offices (Sorensen Hall) or as part of your online study abroad application at www.augustana.edu/plus and must be completed no later than 60 days prior to the departure date of your program.
7. What if a student wants to go somewhere other than the Augustana programs available?
Each year there are students who opt to seek out a non-Augustana study abroad program. If you are interested in a location which is unavailable through Augustana programs or have a particular program which is of great interest to you, you should set up an appointment with the Director of International & Off-Campus Programs to discuss your interests. There are guidelines for outside programs which assist students with the often-murky business of transferring credits. Your first step should be a consultation with our office. Augie Choice funds are available for non-Augustana programs, however much of your standard financial aid may not be available.
8. What are the advantages of going on an Augustana program?
Participating in an Augustana program offers several benefits to our students. Traveling with Augustana often means eligibility for your regular Augustana financial aid package, as well as avoiding the need to seek approval for transfer credit. It also means traveling with Augustana faculty, taking Augustana courses and assurance of Augustana quality control. You know when you study on an Augustana program that the courses abroad are of the same high standard as those offered on campus and you will have support on the ground for any circumstances which arise. Augustana has been in the study abroad business for over 40 years and we are proud of the quality of all our programs.
9. How do programs relate to my studies at Augustana?
In nearly all cases, our programs have courses offered by Augustana faculty and courses that have been designed to match our curriculum and general education expectations. This means that Augustana programs offer you a diversity of coursework which helps you progress towards graduation. Whether this is a Learning Community program, various Gen Ed Learning Perspectives or courses for your major, our study abroad offerings provide courses that are as much a part of the Augustana experience as those you take on our campus in Rock Island.
10. Are program deposits refundable?
Your program deposit is fully refunded if you are not accepted into the program of your choice. If you are accepted into a program but choose to withdraw before the first payment due date, all but $30 is refunded back to you. Students who delay withdrawal until after the program payments come due are responsible for any unrecoverable or shared program costs and may receive only a partial refund of both the deposit and any program funds which have already come due by that date. A full refund policy is available to students along with the application instructions and is included as well with each student's acceptance notification.