About the Learning Abroad Center (LAC) at the University of Minnesota (UofM)
View information about the Learning Abroad Center including location, mission, and academic oversight committees. See also the LAC Staff List.
LAC Program Portfolio
The LAC currently has more than 180 programs in 50 different countries. A wide variety of models, types, locations, and unique features are represented in this portfolio. The LAC runs its own programs, including several programs for a non UofM audience. In addition, the LAC offers affiliate programs, exchanges, instructor-led programs (programs led by UofM faculty or staff), and the UofM has many colleges and departments running their own programs as well.
Affiliate programs are administered by other institutions and organizations and approved by the UofM. Students receive support and services from the LAC and credits are posted as resident credit. Affiliate programs provide high quality academic programs and student services and fit with the curriculum of UofM colleges and departments. Affiliate programs strengthen the LAC's program portfolio by providing a breadth of academic, geographic, and program model options.
Promoted and Non-promoted Affiliate Programs
When the LAC signs an agreement with an affiliate, it usually entitles UofM students to participate in any program through the affiliate. Though a UofM student may participate in any program through the affiliate, only a subset of the affiliate’s programs are promoted options. Promoted programs are featured on the UofM website, Major Advising Pages, and LAC staff are most familiar with these programs. In order to be promoted, programs must be reviewed by the Program Development Committee. It’s the LAC’s standard practice to promote new programs or tracks only after they have been in operation for at least one year.
There are occasional circumstances where UofM students are not able to participate in certain programs through an affiliate. This could be due to program issues, including credit transfer, number of credits, student services, or health and safety issues. Affiliates will be notified directly in writing of affiliate programs that are not available to UofM students. Affiliates should not accept UofM students on these particular programs.
Program Development Committee
The LAC strives to offer UofM students a comprehensive portfolio of high quality, academically rigorous, and geographically diverse learning abroad programs while avoiding duplication. The program development committee is charged with managing and reviewing this portfolio of programs on an ongoing basis.
The committee is made up of Learning Abroad Center program directors, assistant directors, associate directors, and the assistant dean. The committee usually meets on a monthly basis to discuss new programs and program changes. Affiliate programs must be approved by the program development committee in order to be promoted. Promotion decisions are based on complementing the current program portfolio, student need and interest, curricular fit for UofM students, student services support, health and safety, and cost.
All promotion to UofM students, faculty, and staff must be approved by the LAC. This includes faculty and department visits, putting up posters, handing out flyers, etc.
Affiliates must contact the LAC to request a campus visit. Allow at least 8-10 weeks of lead time. The LAC will consider each campus visit request in terms of timing, staff availability, and applicability and may not be able to arrange more than one campus visit per semester per affiliate. The LAC does not allow campus visits for programs that are not promoted. Contact your LAC contact for updated information regarding promoted programs or check the LAC programs website. Campus visits are at the discretion of the LAC and may include some of the following:
- a meeting with the LAC program team
- a presentation to the advising and programming team
- meetings with returned and interested students
- meetings with departments or units (depending on availability, interest, and discretion of the LAC)
The LAC is unable to organize classroom visits or informational sessions for affiliate programs.
LAC staff must be included in all aspects of a campus visit to provide LAC context and comprehensive advising regarding process, finances, credit transfer, and more.
Affiliate Returned Student Employment Policy
Affiliates that wish to engage returned students to promote their programs at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities must work directly with the Learning Abroad Center to do so. Returned students must participate in a Learning Abroad Center Global Leaders Internship or formal student employment and go through the proper training to do outreach on the Twin Cities campus. Students may not be paid by the affiliate for participation in the internship. For more information, contact Antonia Lortis.
MN Fair Week (September and February)
Due to the number of events taking place at the UofM and other institutions in MN, info sessions and meetings with students, advisers, and faculty are not available over the course of MN Fair Week unless there are extenuating circumstances. Affiliates are able to meet only with LAC staff.
Your LAC Program Team
The affiliate program portfolio is overseen by the Assistant Director for Programming, who reports to the Associate Director for Programming.
Each affiliate is assigned a team of three LAC staff members: an Assistant or Program Director, an Associate Program Director, and an Enrollment Specialist. Program teams are collaborative and usually meet as a team every few weeks to discuss enrollment, program management, and to troubleshoot situations.
Enrollment Specialists (ES) take a lead role in providing student support services and guidance through the learning abroad application process and provide administrative support to learning abroad programs.
Associate Program Directors (APD) take a lead role in advising, implementing, promoting, and managing education abroad programs. APDs usually review students’ applications and make nomination decisions.
Assistant Directors or Program Directors (AD/PD) supervise the work of the program team and provide overall management and organization for a selected portfolio of programs. They take the lead on complex advising situations, health and safety issues, and agreements, contracts and budgets.
Working with University of Minnesota students
UofM students complete an application through the LAC as well as through their affiliate. The LAC reviews student records and communicates a nomination decision to both the student and the affiliate. LAC charges a non-refundable $50 application fee for affiliate programs.
UofM students are required to confirm their place on their program with both the LAC and the affiliate. Upon confirmation, the LAC charges students a $400 non-refundable program deposit. UofM students do not pay a confirmation deposit directly to their affiliate. If a student cancels after confirmation, the LAC charges students for both the affiliate deposit as well as the LAC deposit, plus additional non-recoverable costs, as applicable. The LAC is unable to collect a deposit for students who did not confirm directly with the LAC, even if they confirmed with the affiliate. The LAC only considers students confirmed when they have confirmed their participation directly with the LAC.
In addition to a confirmation deposit, UofM students are responsible for the Release & Waiver, Academic Planning Form, and online Health & Safety orientation. Participation in the online orientation is tracked and students must pass a quiz demonstrating their understanding of the material.
The LAC does not collect health forms for students on affiliate programs. It is the affiliate’s responsibility to collect health forms and follow-up with students appropriately.
Access Abroad is a collaborative effort between the LAC and the Disability Resource Center to provide information and guidance on accessibility overseas. Students should fill out the Accommodation Request Form with their UofM disability adviser. The LAC will review the form and pass on to the affiliate to determine if accommodations are available.
UofM students receive resident credit for affiliate programs. They receive an A-F letter grade and it is not possible for students to take study abroad courses pass/fail. View academic policies for further information.
UofM students pay a program fee that is based on the affiliate costs, the LAC advising/placement/academic/administrative cost, international health insurance, less any scholarships or fee reductions provided by the affiliate. Based on these additional services and benefits, the overall program cost may be higher than the affiliate's published program fee. The Affiliate Program Fees chart outlines detailed information for students to calculate their exact program fee.
Advising/Placement/Academic/Administrative Cost (APAAC)
The APAAC covers application processing, advising services, orientation, course registration, grade transfer and posting for resident credit, program billing, and financial aid assistance. Affiliate students must review the Affiliate Program Fees chart to determine their appropriate APAAC.
Some affiliates offer special scholarship money specifically for UofM students. Usually the LAC administers and awards this scholarship money. Contact the LAC if you are interested in offering a special scholarship for UofM students. UofM students also have access to scholarships through the LAC, some UofM colleges and departments, and through the scholarship search. The LAC encourages students to investigate scholarships through their affiliate as well.
If you award a scholarship directly to a UofM student, be sure to notify your LAC program team as we must report all scholarships to the UofM Office of Student Finance.
Many affiliates offer special fee reductions for UofM students. Fee reductions are always passed on in their entirety directly to students. The Affiliate Program Fees chart outlines the fee reductions provided by affiliates. Fee reductions are greatly appreciated and they help to offset the the LAC APAAC. Contact the LAC if you are interested in offering a fee reduction for your programs or increasing the reduction you already provide.
UofM students are able to access financial aid for their study abroad program. The LAC advises students on the financial aid process.
UofM students are held to the LAC's Cancellation Policy. Affiliates should not quote cancellation fees directly to UofM students. Cancellation fees should only be directly discussed with LAC staff as to avoid confusion with students. The LAC invests a significant amount of resources into preparing students to go abroad and therefore, a student may be responsible for additional cancellation costs in addition to the affiliate’s cancellation costs. The Cancellation Policy takes into account all of the costs associated with cancelling. LAC staff members holistically advise students who need to cancel from a financial, academic, process, and personal perspective.
Appeal for Refund
Students are able to Appeal for Refund if they meet extenuating circumstances. A committee reviews appeals on a monthly basis. Depending on the circumstances, the LAC may appeal an affiliate’s cancellation costs.
The LAC hosts an affiliate pre-departure orientation at the beginning of December for all students participating in spring or calendar year programs and in April for students participating in summer, fall, or academic year programs. Affiliates are invited to campus to meet with students and help prepare them to go abroad. Occasionally the LAC may request a program specific orientation if there are significant enrollments for a particular program. The LAC understands that traveling to the UofM requires a significant amount of staff time and resources. We invite you to base your decision to attend orientation on your resources and enrollments.
The LAC is proud to offer study abroad students the optional 1-credit online course: Global Identity: Connecting your International Experience with your Future.
Health and Safety
See Health and Safety Policies. The LAC works closely with the International Health, Safety, and Compliance team in Global Programs and Strategy Alliance.
LAC’s role in Managing Health & Safety Cases
The LAC plays an active role in managing health and safety cases affecting UofM students. Since UofM students are considered “in residence” during their participation in affiliate programs, LAC must be involved in crisis management. The LAC utilizes an incident tracking database where all cases are classified and recorded. LAC requires affiliates to be proactive and communicative regarding health and safety situations. LAC frequently receives calls from parents and others who hear about these situations and it is crucial for us to have accurate and updated information.
When a health and safety situation arises, please contact your LAC program team as soon as possible with the details. If the incident occurs after normal LAC business hours you can access the LAC’s 24/7 emergency call service by calling 612.626.9000.
Minnesota Study Abroad Program Law
On May 20, 2014, a law was passed by the State of Minnesota that seeks greater transparency about the health and safety records of credit-bearing education abroad programs in which degree-seeking students enrolled at Minnesota universities and colleges participate.
Read information from Global Programs and Strategy Alliance as well as comprehensive information from the Forum on Education Abroad regarding the law.
International Health and Security Insurance
All UofM students traveling abroad in connection with their studies are required to obtain international travel, health, and security insurance approved by the University’s Office of Risk Management. The UofM provides this mandatory international insurance coverage through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI). View the CISI Policy Details.
The policy is usually renewed on an annual basis. Upon renewal, affiliates are invited to submit their insurance policy details to be considered for a waiver. If an affiliate’s insurance policy is equal to or greater than the UofM’s, the UofM will waive the CISI insurance and students will receive insurance through their affiliate instead.
Programs in Travel Warning Countries
The LAC does not promote affiliate programs in countries on the US State Department Travel Warning List. Students who wish to participate in these programs must submit an individual petition to the International Travel Risk Assessment and Advisory Committee (ITRAAC) and receive approval. Students may need you as the affiliate to provide them with supplemental information, such as emergency plans and contact information, for this petition. If a travel warning is issued during the program students will need to submit a petition and receive approval in order to remain on the program.
Travel to Travel Warning Countries
UofM students are not permitted to travel to countries on the US State Department Travel Warning List during their program dates. This includes independent travel during weekends, breaks, holidays, etc. during their program dates. If your program includes a study tour or excursion to a country on the Travel Warning list, UofM students must submit an individual petition to the International Travel Risk Assessment and Advisory Committee (ITRAAC) and receive approval in order to participate. If affiliate program staff learn of a UofM student’s intent to travel to a country on the travel warning list, they must inform LAC staff. LAC staff will then reinforce the UofM policy and issue a warning, if applicable.