Education Abroad Policies

Before studying abroad it is important that you have a clear understanding of the policies put into place by the Education Abroad Office regarding withdrawal, academics abroad, and appeal processes.

Appeal Process

In some circumstances it may be necessary for students to appeal to Education Abroad regarding a decision about their education abroad program. By submitting an Appeal you are in no way guaranteed a particular decision, only the opportunity to plead your case. 

Admission Decision

A student's acceptance into a particular program depends on a variety of factors and Education Abroad reserves the right to make admission decisions regarding all approved programs. Since each program has its own set of academic and admission standards, students should investigate the requirements of their desired programs before applying. Students who would like to appeal their admission decision may do so through the Appeal Process. By submitting this appeal form you are in no way guaranteed acceptance into any program. If your appeal is denied, we recommend that you work to meet all requirements of the program and re-apply in a future semester.

Requirements for Appeal

Financial Fee or Withdrawal Penalty

Education Abroad makes every attempt at keeping the program and administrative costs to a minimum. However when you commit to participating in a program, Education Abroad begins to make financial commitments on your behalf. Regardless of the reason and effective date of withdrawal, it is the responsibility of students to immediately notify their Education Abroad Adviser in writing (email is preferred) and to understand the implications of their withdrawal actions. If you believe that your withdrawal was due to extenuating circumstances you may appeal the fees you will owe. 

Extenuating Circumstances are defined as:

  • Medical: Can be physical, mental, emotional, etc. and require documentation from an attending physician. 
  • Illness/Death in the Immediate Family: Family medical emergency (surgery, long-term illness diagnosed) which requires documentation from an attending physician. Death of an immediate family member - parents, guardians, siblings, children, spouses, registered domestic partners - requires appropriate documentation. Immediate family designation does not include grandparents.
  • Military Activation: Requires a copy of the military activation orders showing dates that conflict with the program dates.
  • Unanticipated Change in Financial Situation: Termination of main source of income, filing of bankruptcy, etc. are examples of changes in financial situation and require appropriate documentation. Financial emergency does not include not understanding the costs of the programs or not receiving financial aid or scholarships you might have been counting on. 
  • Other: A circumstance of "other" must be out of the student's control and requires supporting documentation of situation, process, and timeline. 

Requirements for Appeal

  • Complete the Student Appeal Form
  • Indicate in your explanation the extenuating circumstances 
  • Email supporting documentation

Dropping a Class While Abroad

Semester (Fall, Spring, and Academic Year) participants are required to enroll as full-time students according to their host institution's policies, as well as meet Penn State's minimum requirement for full-time status. Dropping below full-time status will jeopardize both financial aid and academic status. Summer participants are required to enroll in the number of credits as determined by the program enrollment.

Students must abide by drop/add deadlines as determined by their host institution/program. Penn State late drop and course withdrawal policies and timelines do not apply to the semester or summer abroad. If you believe that you need to drop a course due to extenuating circumstances you must appeal to Education Abroad before changing your schedule abroad.

Extenuating Circumstances do NOT Include:

  • Not needing the credits for the course
  • Not performing well in a course

Requirements for Appeal

  • Complete the Student Appeal Form
  • Indicate in your explanation the extenuating circumstances 
  • Email any supporting documentation