R-7: INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL POLICY FOR PENN STATE UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

Preamble:

Penn State is committed to providing international experiences that will enhance our students' journey toward global citizenship. Helping our students to acquire critical global competencies through immersion experiences requires us to manage the risks that exist and weigh the potential benefits to the participants and their academic experience.

Undergraduate students who wish to study abroad on Penn State programs or who wish to pursue independent travel, activities or research with University funds may not travel to countries on the U.S. State Department Travel Warnings list.  However, students may petition for a waiver to this policy by using the process outlined below.  Likewise, faculty members leading a short-term program may petition for a waiver on behalf of all students on the program.  Petitions will be reviewed by a Standing Advisory Committee appointed by the Vice Provost for Global Programs.  The findings by this Committee as well as advice from other expert sources on the country being visited will inform the Vice Provost’s recommendation to the Executive Vice President and Provost who has the final authority to approve or reject such petitions. 

Guidelines:

  1. Undergraduate students may petition for a waiver to study for a semester or academic year on Education Abroad-affiliated programs in countries under active Department of State Travel Warnings. A list of Education Abroad-affiliated programs can be found at http://www.global.psu.edu/ea. A student's petition must show evidence of an excellent academic record, a solid rationale for studying in the program, and due diligence in understanding the risks involved with studying in a nation under travel warning status and efforts to minimize the risks. If the student's petition for a waiver is approved by the Standing Advisory Committee, the student would be eligible to apply for financial aid through Penn State's Office of Student Aid.

  2. Undergraduate students may petition for a waiver to pursue independent travel, activities or research with University funds in countries under active Department of State travel warnings. A student's petition must show evidence of an excellent academic record, a solid rationale for pursuing independent travel, activities or research, and due diligence in understanding the risks involved with traveling in a nation under travel warning status and efforts to minimize the risks.

  3. Faculty members may petition for a waiver to lead a short-term program involving undergraduate students to travel to countries under active Department of State Travel Warnings. The Standing Advisory Committee will evaluate petitions on a case-by-case basis with a written proposal outlining the detailed travel plan brought forward by the lead faculty member. The proposer should clearly give the compelling reasons for the travel, the awareness of the inherent risks associated with the trip and efforts to minimize these risks. Faculty members leading reoccurring programs must submit a new petition annually.

Procedures:

  1. Students petitioning for a waiver to study on an Education Abroad-affiliated program will complete the petition on-line as part of the program application process.

  2. Students petitioning to undertake independent travel, activities or research with the support of University funds will complete the petition at least six months in advance of the planned departure date.

  3. Faculty members leading a short-term program should submit the petition at least six months in advance of the planned departure date. The petition requires approval of the dean or chancellor or designee, in consultation with the appropriate unit head.

  4. A Standing Advisory Committee formed by the Vice Provost for Global Programs will review proposals from faculty members and students proposing educational programs including research or study that involves travel in countries under active Department of State Travel Warnings. The Committee is chaired by the University Office of Global Program's (UOGP) Executive Director of Education Abroad.

  5. The Committee will meet periodically to review faculty and student requests for international travel to sensitive areas. The Committee will make its recommendation to the Vice Provost for Global Programs, who will use it as the basis for making final recommendations to the Executive Vice President and Provost. If approved, the student may attend the program or use University funds for independent travel, activities or research or the faculty-led program may then proceed.

  6. Finally, students approved for travel to countries under a U.S. State Department Travel Warning must sign a waiver with the UOGP that Penn State will not be held liable for anything that may happen to them in connection with their travels to such countries. Faculty leaders will ensure that all student participants sign this waiver.
 
Approved: Executive Vice President and Provost Rodney Erickson (11-21-07)
Revised: Executive Vice President and Provost Rodney Erickson (7-03-08)
Revised: Executive Vice President and Provost Rodney Erickson (9-29-10)
Revised: ACUE (3-3-11)

Please refer questions concerning the above policy to: Executive Director of Education Abroad, 410 Boucke Building, University Park, PA 16802 Telephone: (814) 863-3667; Email: bjr22@psu.edu



The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. Please consult a Penn State academic adviser for more detailed information. Penn State is an affirmative action, equal opportunity university.