Learning Abroad Center

Nonaffiliate Program Information for Colleges and Departments

Process and Eligibility for Fall 2023 Programs and Beyond

The policy and process for obtaining placeholder registration for a non-affiliated program offered Fall 2023 or later has changed and is much more limited in terms of eligibility compared to 2022-23 programs.  For information about the process and eligibility for Fall 2023 programs and beyond visit the Non-affiliated Programs for UofM Students page.


Process and Eligibility for 2022-23 Programs

University of Minnesota colleges or departments can choose to support students who elect to participate in a nonaffiliated study abroad program that has not been vetted or approved by the Learning Abroad Center. The UofM college/department will need to meet the pre-travel and program planning requirements for ‘supporting’ as defined by the University of Minnesota Student Travel and Education Abroad: Health and Safety travel policy, including designating a 24/7 emergency contact from the college or department.

For students who obtain approval from their college/department and receive support to participate in a nonaffiliated program, the Learning Abroad Center will register them for placeholder credits, allowing them to maintain UofM student status and access financial aid through the UofM.


The nonaffiliated program process is available for undergraduate students participating in a credit-bearing study abroad program not affiliated with the University of Minnesota that meets one of the following criteria:

  • offered during a required term (fall or spring semester) regardless of student’s intention to use financial aid
  • offered between terms (winter break) or during a non-required term (summer) AND student plans to use financial aid

The nonaffiliated program process cannot be used for the following:

  • Programs/institutions where there is an existing UofM partnership through an affiliate or a direct relationship
  • Programs whose dates conflict with the academic calendar for a required term on campus (fall and spring semester)
  • Directed study/directed research through a UofM college/department
  • Non-credit programs
  • Programs that UofM students are not allowed to participate in per the UofM Office of General Counsel (contact the Learning Abroad Center to determine if your program is included in this category)

Students participating in a nonaffiliated program who are not eligible for this process or who are unable to obtain college/department support may need to request a leave of absence from their college or leave the University and reapply for admission upon return. Note that either option may have a negative impact on financial aid eligibility and the student’s timeline for repaying financial aid.

Checklist for Students

Steps 1-7 should be completed before students apply to a nonaffiliated study abroad program.

  1. If your college has identified a contact for nonaffiliated program petitions, you must meet with that person before beginning later steps:
    • Carlson School of Management — Kirsten Canterbury
    • College of Biological Sciences — Dunia Tesfaye
    • College of Design — Maria Mantey
    • College of Education & Human Development — Marina Aleixo
    • College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences — CFANS will not support or approve student participation in nonaffiliated programs. 
    • College of Liberal Arts — Tim Dohmen
    • College of Science and Engineering — Adam Pagel
  2. Complete a First Step Session and schedule a Program Selection Advising meeting with an adviser in the Learning Abroad Center to learn about existing, approved program options.
  3. Confirm that the UofM Office of Admissions will post credits from the study abroad program/institution as transfer credits. In the web form select 'Credit Transfer' for the subject.  In your question be sure to reference 'Nonaffiliated Study Abroad Program' and include the following:
    • a link to the program/institution
    • information about the institution providing you with a transcript (also called the School of Record)
    • a list of the courses you plan to take abroad along with syllabus, if available
    • dates of your program
  4. Meet with you academic advisor(s) to determine if/how courses can be used to fulfill degree requirements.
  5. Schedule a study abroad financial aid preview meeting with the Office of Student Finance (if you plan to use financial aid). Students planning to use financial aid should work with the Office of Student Finance.
  6. Obtain approval from your college/department and identify 24/7 emergency contact from the college or department. Students must get a letter/email of support from their department chair, director of undergraduate studies, or other faculty/staff identified by the department who are approved to provide department support. The letter must indicate that you are in good academic standing, explain the academic fit and/or need of the activity, and certify the academic value of the program. The letter does not need to make any statement regarding the safety of the specific program or location. The program/course information and letter of support from your department should be submitted by a faculty or staff member from the supporting unit (not by the student) to the dean, associate dean, or assistant dean who will complete a Dean's Endorsement Form.
  7. Obtain approval from the UofM International Travel Risk Assessment and Advisory Committee (ITRAAC), if required. Visit the GPS Alliance website to determine if your location requires ITRAAC approval.
  8. Register travel through GPS Alliance. At this stage you will be asked to provide your 24/7 emergency contact. This must be a University of Minnesota faculty/staff member from your college or department, not a Learning Abroad Center staff member. By completing the Travel Registry, students will also obtain required CISI international insurance coverage, which is billed to their UofM student account.
  9. Confirm that the program transcript is received by the Office of Admission and placeholder credits are removed and replaced with actual courses and grades.

Placeholder Credit

After a student has completed the steps listed in the Checklist of Students section, UofM faculty or staff from the supporting department can submit a request for the Learning Abroad Center to register the student for placeholder credits for the term they are studying abroad.

Signing Forms

Forms and documents required for the student’s participation in a nonaffiliated program must be signed by faculty/staff from the supporting college/department, even those requesting a signature from the student’s study abroad office. The Learning Abroad Center is unable to sign forms for nonaffiliated programs.

Listed below are examples of forms frequently requested by study abroad program providers, which students may obtain directly from the offices listed:

Verification of Student Status Form

If you receive a form from your nonaffiliated program requiring verification of your current status as a University of Minnesota student, One Stop Student Services in the Bruininks Hall (map) can assist you.

Financial Forms

May be available from the Office of Student Finance or One Stop.

Disciplinary Clearance Form

If your form is specifically related to disciplinary clearance, go to the Office for Community Standards in Appleby Hall (map) to have the form completed.