Faculty-Led Study Abroad Guidelines

Education Abroad at Florida Atlantic University invites applications from FAU faculty and instructional staff for new or recurring Study Abroad Programs (SAP) for Academic Year 2017-2018 including intersessions, Spring Break 2018 and Summer 2018. Please use the most current SAP forms located at http://www.fau.edu/goabroad/Forms_for_Faculty.php


1.    SAP development is initiated by a member of the FAU faculty and instructional staff. Faculty are encouraged to work closely with Education Abroad as early as possible in the process, to take advantage of Education Abroad expertise and experience in SAP development and management. Complete guidelines and forms for program formation can be found at www.fau.edu/goabroad. (Please note the guidelines for program formation have been updated with some clarifications regarding the approval process and timeline, forms, and financial management practices.)  

2.    Faculty planning to develop a new SAP or to repeat a SAP should also notify his/her department chair and college dean of their plans, to get their input and advice. Department chair and college dean approval of the final SAP proposal is required by the stated deadline noted above.

3.    The proposing faculty member normally serves as the SAP leader and as the instructor of record in the course(s) under which the proposed program is to be offered. If two faculty members plan to teach on the program, one faculty should be designated as the lead faculty.  

4.    Faculty should follow the guidelines located at www.fau.edu/goabroad.  All current forms must be used; proposals submitted using old forms will be sent back for correction. Education Abroad will discuss the submitted proposal with the SAP faculty leader and review the proposal for its financial and technical feasibility. Special attention will be given to the targeted location and academic program, the budget and its effectiveness, recruitment strategies and likely interested student audiences, and the safety and emergency plan. The proposal may be sent back to the faculty member for revision if necessary, and then returned to the Education Abroad. Any significant changes must be reapproved by the chair and dean.  

5.    Education Abroad will facilitate final approval of all new or repeating SAPs by the Executive Director of the Center for Global Engagement and the University Provost.

6.   Education Abroad works closely with the faculty leader(s) to manage the SAP application process for all SAPs, maintaining all paperwork and regularly updating program leaders and the college dean’s office on SAP enrollments and other relevant information. Particular attention will be paid to the viability of programs, based on enrollments, as the academic year progresses. Education Abroad will work with faculty to promote the programs for student recruitment.  

7.    Education Abroad is now using a new on-line application process which will ease significantly the process students follow for applying. Paper applications have been discontinued and therefore no paper applications will be accepted from students. Education Abroad is happy to offer any SAP leader an informational tutorial on the on-line application system.  

8.    Education Abroad will establish with the program leaders, the sponsoring department(s), and the college dean’s office appropriate timelines for program cancellation deadlines, if enrollments prove insufficient. 

Please note that Education Abroad will offer faculty proposal development advice sessions over the course of the summer. All new faculty leaders are particularly invited to attend. Check the Education Abroad website for the dates and time of these practical “how to” sessions (http://www.fau.edu/goabroad). One on one sessions are available by appointment.  Faculty are also encouraged to explore working with agencies and custom program providers (names can be provided) to increase the percentage of payments that can be made by wire transfer prior to the start of the program. 

Education Abroad
Guidelines for FAU Faculty-Led Study Abroad Programs (SAPs)


1.1 Study Abroad Program (SAP) - A SAP consists of university-credit course(s) taught abroad for a period of time, led by an FAU faculty member. SAPs can range from one week to an entire semester, and can take place in intersessions during the academic year, spring break, and all summer sessions. Faculty may also arrange for a short international program of one week during a regular semester (fall, spring, summer) when the SAP is linked to an ongoing course taught the rest of the time at an FAU campus. SAPs may have classes or Internet sessions before and/or after the period spent abroad.

1.2 SAP Participants - SAPs are designed primarily for FAU degree seeking students. Programs may be aimed at undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduate students generally must have an overall GPA of 2.5 at the time of application. Students with a GPA of 2.0 or higher and in good standing but less than 2.5 at the time of application may petition the program leader for an exception; contact Education Abroad for more information. Graduate students must have a 3.0 GPA.  All SAP participants must register at FAU for the course(s) taken abroad, and must pay applicable resident or nonresident tuition to FAU for the classes taken. Non-FAU students, non-degree students, or adult learners are subject to admission by the SAP leader and Education Abroad, on a space available basis, and if admitted must register for the course and pay FAU tuition, all SAP program fees and the $30 FAU non-degree student fee. 

1.3 Course(s) - The course(s) offered during the Study Abroad Program, SAP, are proposed by FAU faculty members and instructional staff, and approved by the faculty member’s Department and College. The syllabi of the course(s) should integrate the overseas travel with structured academic activities designed to enhance student learning. Sample Syllabus can be seen at http://www.fau.edu/ctl/SyllabusANDCourseDesign.php

Wherever possible, the faculty should build into the course academic service learning, research or other enriching educational opportunities and academic collaborative experiences that require reflective thinking and/or writing. Faculty planning a SAP should remember that a one-credit course requires 15 instructional contact hours of class work or appropriate substitution of field activities, writing assignments and research papers. Education Abroad will assist students to register for their SAP courses.

1.4 Grading - The faculty member decides on the course(s) grades for students who are enrolled. In many SAPs, participants are required to submit written work such as a project paper. “Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Criteria for Accreditation” relating to credit-hours establishes that students must have at least one calendar week of reflection and analysis for each contact-hour of credit. In other words, final assignments cannot be due in less than three weeks for a three-credit course.

1.5 Program Leader - The faculty member leading the students on the SAP for the course(s) overseas is the Program Leader. If two faculty are teaching on a single program, one shall be designated the lead faculty.  The number of faculty traveling from FAU should be limited to keep costs down, and should be justified in the SAP proposal.

1.6 Program Location - The faculty member proposing the SAP selects the location(s) in consultation with Education Abroad and personal and institutional contacts at the proposed site(s). FAU currently does not approve student travel for study abroad to a country where there is a U.S. State Department travel warning (http://travel.state.gov/); policies on international travel for study abroad and how to petition for an exception to this policy under certain conditions may be found on the Education Abroad website.  Any such petition will extend the SAP approval process.

1.7 Student Evaluations – An electronic study abroad program evaluation survey will be sent directly to the students at the completion of the term and after grades are posted.


2.1 SAP Proposal Process - A SAP Proposal should be prepared and submitted to the Education Abroad as early as possible, but no later than the stated deadline for the forthcoming academic year and subsequent summer sessions. Education Abroad provides a proposal form in fillable PDF format which must be completed. Items needed in the proposal include the syllabus, budget with details and price quotes (can be estimated but must be able to be finalized before approval), itinerary and travel plans, description of on-site instructional and housing sites, orientation plans, and a safety and emergency plan.  Repeat SAPs must reapply with all updated forms, timelines and pricing.  All current forms must be used as we update them each year; proposals using old forms will be returned and not processed until the correct forms are used. Faculty must also provide personal contact information, copies of their passport and photo pages, and must complete and sign waiver of liability and the family and friends disclosure forms. Proposals must be signed by the lead faculty member, and approved and signed by the department chair, and college dean. Once approved by Education Abroad, Education Abroad will then process the SAP proposals and secure FAU campus approval from the Provost’s Office in a timely manner so recruitment can proceed.

2.2 Recruitment and Advertising – Education Abroad will work closely with the SAP faculty leader to develop advertising for the program, once approved, Education Abroad provides a flyer template that will be used for marketing purposes. All advertising should include a statement that fees, dates, courses and number of credits to be offered are subject to change. However, it is Education Abroad policy that once a program fee is advertised, we do not increase the price. It should also note that tuition is paid to the FAU Cashier at regular resident and non-resident rates based on university deadlines. Faculty leaders are responsible for actively recruiting students to their program; Education Abroad will assist the faculty in recruitment activities throughout the fall and spring semesters.

2.3 Minimum enrollments – As of 2012 the Provost Office has established minimum enrollment targets for all SAPS. The target for undergraduate programs is 12 students, and the target for graduate programs is 8 students. Once approved after having achieved the minimum enrollment target, any program that then sees any enrollment losses prior to the start of the program must be re-approved by the sponsoring college Dean. Programs approved to run with less than 12 students may need to adjust (i.e. lower) their faculty costs accordingly.

2.4 Safety and Emergency Plan - The Program Leader will submit to the Education Abroad a detailed safety and emergency plan in case of emergencies and information on hotels and sites where he/she can be reached. This plan should anticipate how to proceed in case of a travel, medical, or personal emergency abroad.   An Education Abroad template for this plan is on the Education Abroad website under faculty forms.  Education Abroad emergency phone protocol will be included in the plan. Copies of the Safety and Emergency Plan will be provided to all SAP participants. If an incident occurs while abroad, Education Abroad requires the Program Leader to complete and submit an Incident Report Form (available on-line) within 48 hours.

2.5 Disruptive Behavior - Students are required to follow the direction of the Program Leader while on the SAP. Sometimes students engage in behavior that may prevent other students from achieving their educational goals on the SAP. This might involve noisy behavior late at night in the place of lodging or problems related to alcohol abuse. The Program Leader should consider how such a problem would be handled in a class on the home campus in attempting to prevent a recurrence. The Program Leader can call Education Abroad staff for assistance, and can always contact Education Abroad Assistant Director Tania Tucker at 561-297-3227 or via email at trtucker@fau.edu. The Assumption of Risk Agreement form and Disciplinary Form provides for students to be sent home from the SAP in cases of extreme disruption.

2.6 Overseas Contacts - It is not required that a SAP go to a location where FAU has an overseas contact, such as an institution with which FAU has an Agreement of Cooperation. However, in these locations logistical arrangements can often be made much more easily. Education Abroad can advise on this aspect of program design. Education Abroad can also provide advice on logistical services that some private provider companies offer, to ease the organizational burden for faculty planning to lead a program.


3.1 Education Abroad Auxiliary Account – Education Abroad typically handles the financial management of any SAP. Students will be instructed on how to pay FAU and Education Abroad for the relevant program fees for the program they have chosen.  Education Abroad payments for the application fee, program fee and CISI insurance must be paid on line with a credit card through Marketplace.  No checks or cash will be accepted.  In addition, students will always pay tuition to the FAU Cashier directly. Faculty are assisted in aspects of program fiscal affairs, following procedures established by Education Abroad and the FAU Controller’s Office.

3.2 Other Arrangements - Departments or Colleges sponsoring short study tours (i.e. 7-14 days) may opt instead to deposit such payments in their own accounts and manage program finances directly. Colleges using their own accounts are responsible for all associated financial transactions and accounting following FAU Controller’s policies. All SAPs managed directly by a department or college must still be approved and processed in the same manner as other SAPs, and all students must complete the online Education Abroad application packet and pay to Education Abroad the applicable Education Abroad administrative and insurance fees. (Any SAP that may be developed late, after the stated Fall application and approval process, risks not being approved. If a late program proposal is approved by the Provost, Education Abroad reserves the right to decline fiscal management responsibilities. In such cases the sponsoring Department or College must manage the budget and fiscal aspects of the SAP.)

3.3 Budget and Program Costs - The SAP Budget Sheet should be completed and attached to the SAP Proposal. Faculty are encouraged to meet with Education Abroad staff as early as possible to do a draft working budget, to project the financial feasibility of the planned program. In projecting the number of travelers, the Program Leader should be conservative but also project the needed student capacity that will allow the department and college to support the faculty leader’s teaching time. The Education Abroad budget template will guide the faculty on the items and costs likely to be needed over the course of the program.

In some cases, some or all of the expenses from the Education Abroad Auxiliary account may be paid to a travel agency, airline, or SAP provider. Education Abroad will advise the faculty on the range of required and optional processes to be used for paying bills overseas, and can give advice on the travel agencies and /or custom program providers which may be able to assist faculty in program design and logistical services.     

Each program must be fiscally solvent and cover all costs of their program; Education Abroad has no common fund to cover deficits or losses.  Any surplus remaining at the end of the SAP must be returned to the Education Abroad Auxiliary account (when being used).  All surplus funds remain in Education Abroad for future programming needs for repeat SAPs and SAP development activities; surplus fund use is allocated by the Education Abroad director in consultation with relevant faculty and deans.

3.4 Student Payment Due Dates – Education Abroad and the program leader will establish financial payment deadlines for each SAP, based on time of departure and the conditions and terms of contracts with vendors overseas. Once a student has completed an application form, and submitted payment for the Education Abroad application fee, we will set (i) a confirmation of participation deposit due date and (ii) final program fee due date. If a student does not submit the confirmation deposit, the spot for the program will be released to another student. Once sufficient confirmation deposits have been received to allow the program to run, the program will be approved for implementation and the students notified. At that point, the student is responsible for the full program fees regardless of whether they complete the program. Students who do not pay the program fee on time will be placed on Accounts Receivable. A complete statement of student financial responsibilities and, in limited cases, any applicable refunds can be obtained from Education Abroad.

3.5 Faculty Pay - Faculty teaching salaries for the courses offered in a SAP are typically paid by the department and college offering the course for credit. The department and the college have agreed to cover the costs of the faculty teaching when they submit the SAP proposal for review and approval, subject to adequate enrollments to allow the SAP to proceed.   (In some cases, assistant faculty who teach on a SAP may receive small teaching stipends or costs in lieu of stipends that are built into the SAP program fee.)  The number of added faculty beyond the faculty leader may need to be limited or reduced if the final student numbers are lower than expected.  

3.6 Faculty Travel Expenses - These expenses (e.g. airfare, lodging, reasonable food) are normally covered by spreading the cost over the program participants. Education Abroad has established common guidelines for the allowable costs of some items in order to keep program costs to students as low as possible and maintain the fiscal integrity of our programs.  Family members accompanying a faculty leader are personal costs and may not be included in the costs of the program.

3.7 Financial Aid - Students may use financial aid to defray SAP costs. Students going overseas during the summer term must complete a separate Financial Aid Application form from that covering the regular academic year. The application deadline for summer financial aid is usually around February 1. The application must be submitted online through their MyFAU account. Students should complete and submit the application early because summer funding, other than student loans, is limited and quickly exhausted. Once a student has filed the application and is “in the system”, he or she should bring a copy of the application Education Abroad. Education Abroad staff will prepare a memo to the Student Financial Aid Office certifying the cost of the SAP that has been selected by the student. Financial aid is usually not disbursed until about three weeks after a term has begun. This may create cash flow problems for a SAP participant. Students should plan ahead and not rely on financial aid for fronting costs, but rather as a way of reimbursing study abroad expenses already paid by the student at the published payment deadlines.

3.8 Vendors and Invoices – Under the rules of the FAU Controller’s Office, Education Abroad cannot begin to pay invoices or process Spend Authorizations (SAs) and other program costs without sufficient student payments in the specific SAP account. To the extent possible invoices for services rendered abroad will be paid directly to the vendor prior to the start of the program. Sometimes a contract may need to be signed by FAU Purchasing Office and the overseas vendor, in such cases Education Abroad can assist in arranging the contract and getting it signed at FAU.

3.9 Receipts – N.B.; NEW CONTROLLER RULES APPLY FOR CASH ADVANCES.  READ CAREFULLY.  A cash advance may be provided to the Program Leader to cover personal and student expenses while on the SAP. An expense diary is required to keep track of expenses. A summary of travel expenses itemized by type and supported by receipts with dates must be presented to the Education Abroad to account for the cash advance. Daily international exchange rates must be used (www.oanda.com ) to help tally the costs of the program. Any surplus money must be returned with the reconciliation. The SAP reconciliation must be turned into the Education Abroad within 2 days (48 hours) days of returning to the U.S. since the cash advance must be cleared with the Controller’s Office within 10 business days of the end of travel. After 30 days cash advances from FAU are considered taxable. Faculty who have any questions about a program purchase or expense while abroad should consult Education Abroad from abroad. Education Abroad will include in program reconciliations only those receipts and costs that were planned, approved and deemed appropriate for the SAP. Personal and non-program activity costs will not be included in program reconciliations.


4.1 Pre-departure Documents - - The online study abroad application form found on fluidreview (which includes the signed release and assumption of risk agreement form, and disciplinary form) allows users to complete paperwork online and to upload various required documents:

-Upload passport sized picture
-Upload unofficial transcript
-Upload a copy of the picture page of passport

Students wishing to audit a course should submit also at this time evidence of permission to do so from the Program Leader.

4.2 Pre-departure Orientation - A pre-departure orientation must be held, even if all travelers cannot attend. During the orientation, the Program Leader along with an Education Abroad staff member (if scheduled during normal working hours and based on availability) will discuss the course syllabus, itinerary, grading procedures, personal safety, local culture, students’ rights and responsibilities, emergency contacts, meeting points, visas, appropriate dress, and behavior during the travel and overseas activities.

• Students should be informed about the State Department Travel site (http://travel.state.gov/ ). This contains relevant “headlines” and information about the countries to be visited on the SAP. The site provides details of any travel warnings and a Consular Information Sheet which has information on visa requirements, safety and crime, health facilities, appropriate clothing and the location of the U.S. Embassy.

• Students should be informed about the Center for Disease Control site ( http://www.cdc.gov/ ). The Spotlights on the site contain articles of interest. Below this link there is a further link labeled Travelers. Students should be told to follow this link if they have any questions. There is also a link called Traveler’s Health. Students should click on this link and enter the region of the world where they are traveling.

• Students should be reminded to review the Schedule of Benefits and Description of Coverage provided by Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI). This insurance is required by Education Abroad and provides evacuation and repatriation insurance and an emergency worldwide toll free number.

• Students should be informed of procedures for making telephone calls when overseas. They can be informed about available cell phone services in country or other mechanisms (e.g. Skype) that enable them to stay in touch with the program leader and with family members while abroad.

• Students and Faculty may call Education Abroad (561-297-1208) during normal business hours or the FAU Police (561-297-3500) in case of an emergency while traveling.

• International students should be informed that they need to contact International Services to obtain appropriate travel documents if visas are needed for any of the proposed overseas locations. The International Services' telephone number is 1-561-297-3049.

• The Program Leader should carry a cellular phone on the trip, and this number as well as any other local emergency contact number, should also be provided at the Pre-departure Orientation. In some cases, there will be an Assistant Program Leader whom the students can contact if they cannot reach the Program Leader while on the trip. The Program Leader is responsible for the SAP group and should be on call for the students at all times. The program leader should supply Education Abroad with their overseas cell number within 24 hours of arrival.

• Students also need to know the cancellation and refund policy for the SAP. All policies are outlined in detail in the Education Abroad application form which students must read, acknowledge, and sign. Typically, students will be refunded most unexpended monies if the SAP is cancelled. There is also a date close to the point of departure beyond which students may not drop out from the SAP and obtain a full or partial refund. This date is set by the Program Leader and Education Abroad. Often, funds must be expended prior to departure to guarantee lodging or airfares.

4.3 Spend Authorization (SA) – Education Abroad will prepare the FAU Spend Authorization Request, SA, for the program leader and other FAU teaching staff prior to travel. The SA certifies that the Program Leaders are on official university business for insurance and legal purposes. The Program Leader will be able to obtain a travel advance of the money encumbered by the SA equal to 100% for student expenses. The travel advance will be direct deposited into the program leader’s bank account no more than 10 days prior to the start of the program. (Program leaders of short study tours managed by their college will work on SAs with their college financial offices.)

4.4 Travel Arrangements – The Program Leader is responsible for making appropriate arrangements for his/her travel and the group excursions. Staff at Education Abroad will provide assistance. Program leaders should note that it is not required that FAU’s campus travel agency make the travel arrangements for their personal travel, but they should be consulted on the planned travel itinerary for a quote. Many SAPs use more specialized student travel agencies. Travel agencies that specialize in student overseas travel are www.studentuniverse.com and www.statravel.com.


Note: You will need Adobe Reader to view, print and save the Study Abroad Proposal Forms.  Up to date forms can be found at this URL: http://www.fau.edu/goabroad/Forms_for_Faculty.php





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