Original Issuance Date: unknown 

Last Revision Date: June 8, 2021 

1. Policy Purpose 

This policy addresses the funding for study abroad and study away programs and normalizes these practices across the UW System. 

2. Responsible UW System Officer 

Senior Associate Vice President for Finance 

3. Scope and Institutional Responsibilities 

This policy aligns with SYS 405, Travel and Expense- General Travel & Expense Policy, which covers policies, procedures, and rate maximums for travel related to students and study abroad and/or study away. 

Exceptions to any aspect of this policy may be made only by the Chancellor or a designee. Designation of an individual as the Chancellor’s designee should be in writing and maintained in the proper office. Documentation justifying exceptions shall be maintained at the institution. 

4. Background 

Study abroad and study away programs have historically been funded through a variety of mechanisms. There is a need to standardize the financial policy and procedures for study abroad and study away programs in the UW System. 

5. Definitions 

Study abroad programs: All educational programs that take place outside the geographical boundaries of the United States. This includes both credit and noncredit programs. 

Study away programs: Study away is an opportunity for students to study at locations separate from their home campus in order to gain valuable experiences in different areas of the United States and the U.S. territories.  Study away programs can also include volunteering or work (including internships), classroom study, research, and service learning. 

 6. Policy Statement 

A. General Policy Provisions

In order to increase student access to UW study abroad and study away programs and minimize the cost of student participation, study abroad and study away programs will be financed on a cost recovery basis. Students studying abroad or studying away will be exempt from paying the Board of Regents’ approved academic fees. Instead they will be assessed a fee which will recover the actual, reasonable, and necessary costs of the program which are not covered by GPO. Such fees will be deposited to Fund 128. 

Costs which are appropriately funded from the institution’s GPO budget may continue to be funded from the GPO budget. This determination will be made on an annual basis at the institutional level. 

One-for-one exchange students will continue to pay regular Board of Regents’ approved academic fees on behalf of the incoming exchange visitors who carry UW courses. 

Each institution will estimate its annual funding requirement in the Annual Operating Budget. This will allow for the transfer of unneeded program revenue budget authority among the institutions so that requests to the state for increased expenditure authority would be made only when total System income exceeds budget estimates. 

Students enrolled in credit study abroad programs shall be reported for CDR purposes but will not be counted toward the institution’s enrollment management target. 

B. Procedures

  1. The financing for all study abroad and study away programs must be handled through Fund 128. Fees shall be deposited in Fund 128 within seven (7) days of receipt. 
  2. Every student participating in a study abroad or study away program shall be assessed a comprehensive fee that recovers costs associated with the program, as listed in Section V below (“Calculation of Comprehensive Study Abroad or Study Away Program Fee”). 
  3. For credit programs, an institution may develop the fee in a manner that differentiates between Wisconsin resident and nonresident status, reflecting the level of GPO-supported and in-kind services provided to the program. That differential shall be no greater than the difference between resident and nonresident fees at the institution.  
  4. The minimum fee charged, exclusive of student personal costs, for any participant in a credit program shall be no less than the resident fee rate at that institution. 
  5. For noncredit programs, the fee shall be the same for all participants, regardless of residency. 
  6. In consortial programs between two or more UW institutions, the fee structure shall be the same. 
  7. All funds, including interest income, generated by study abroad or study away programs will be retained by the institution to be used exclusively for study abroad or study away programming activities and their development. 
  8. Any cash balances remaining at the end of the fiscal year will be carried forward to the next fiscal year by the individual institutions, to be used for study abroad or study away programming. A reasonable reserve may be maintained by each institution to offset negative balances and to cover contingencies and emergencies of study abroad or study away programs. 
  9. Institutions shall establish refund policies, subject to review by UW System Administration. Students shall be notified of refund policies, and other conditions related to program participation, prior to acceptance. 
  10. Students enrolled in credit study abroad or study away programs shall be reported for CDR purposes but will not be counted toward the institution’s enrollment management target. 

C. Calculation of the Comprehensive Study Abroad or Study Away Program Fee

  1. At a minimum, the comprehensive fee shall include, but not be limited to, the following, as applicable to the operating costs of each study abroad program: 
    1. Tuition and costs charged by foreign or domestics host institutions; 
    2. Salaries and fringe benefit costs, and local taxes where applicable, for direct instruction (instructors, co-instructors, assistants, etc., or the cost of purchased services if appropriate); 
    3. Salaries and fringe benefits for program resident directors and faculty, including replacement costs, to the extent that such funds are not provided by university departments to support the program; 
    4. Appropriate expenses of program personnel, including instructors and resident directors, but not their accompanying family members; 
    5. Instructional program-related supplies and expenses (guest lectures, honoraria, equipment/facilities rental, program assessment and other direct administrative expenses);
    6. Fees for mandatory health, accident, medical evacuation and repatriation insurance; 
    7. Student personal costs (if not handled directly by the student); examples include carfare, housing, food, international travel, local travel, excursions, and other personal expenses. 
  2.  The degree to which other costs associated with the administration of study abroad or study away programs are included in the comprehensive fee is determined by institutional budget policy. If GPO funding is provided or if extramural funds are garnered to cover a part or all of these other costs, they would not be included in the comprehensive fee. Any or all of the above costs may also be met by the use of gift and grant funds raised for the program, in which case the comprehensive fee would be reduced accordingly. 

7. Related Documents 

SYS 405, Travel and Expense- General Travel & Expense Policy, 

8. Policy History 

Revision 2: June 8, 2021 

Revision 1: September 24, 2015 

9. Scheduled Review  

June 2026