Types of Agreements

Penn State uses three types of agreements for international collaborations- a Letter of Intent (LOI), a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), and a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).

Letter of Intent (LOI)

A Letter of Intent (LOI) is a non-binding statement that acknowledges intent to explore the possibility of collaboration. LOIs are appropriate when a new project is being initiated, upon first meeting new international partners, or in connection with a one-time project. The LOI can serve as a signal of good will or a signal of the willingness to discuss the opportunities to cooperate further.  At this stage, it would generally be premature to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). The LOI must be based on the pre-approved Penn State template because this template requires fewer signatures and approval steps and can usually be completed very quickly. Absolutely no changes to the template may be made.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is a general agreement that lists areas of possible joint activities, without creating financial obligations or committing resources.  
The purpose of an MOU is to acknowledge a formal, ongoing and strategic relationship between institutions that is intended to be long term, or to support a grant application.  

Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)

A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) is a specific agreement that involves financial arrangements, institutional obligations, or specifies the terms of academic programs.
MOAs are used to establish collaborative degree programs, reciprocal exchange programs, research projects where funds are committed, or joint research centers.