Learning Abroad Center

Directed Study Process & Procedures

While directed study abroad is similar to directed in a domestic US location, directed study abroad requires more advance planning. Directed study courses are managed academic departments on campus, and credit and support is provided by your academic department, not the Learning Abroad Center.

You will register and pay for directed study credit through the regular University of Minnesota procedures. If you wish to request aid or loans beyond the amount you expect to receive for enrolling in the directed study credits, follow the steps listed in the Directed Study Financial Aid section below.

Procedures You Must Follow

  1. If using financial aid: 
    1. Review all information in the Directed Study Financial Aid section, and create a Study Abroad Cost Estimate. Your adviser will need to sign off on the cost estimate before it can be used by the Office of Student Finance.
    2. Schedule a Financial Aid Preview Meeting for study abroad to clarify if additional aids/loans are possible for your expenses abroad. You must bring your Study Abroad Cost Estimate with you to the meeting.
  2. Register with the University of Minnesota International Travel Registry and complete the University's requirements, including purchasing mandatory international insurance.
  3. If you are traveling to a country with a US State Department country-wide travel advisory of Level 3 or Level 4, or if there are Level 3 or Level 4 locations or regions within your host country, you are required to apply for and receive approval from UofM ITRAAC (International Travel Risk Assessment and Advisory Committee). Consult the GPS Alliance travel advisory web page to see if your destination requires approval. Approval can take several weeks so start the process early if this requirement applies to your directed study plans.
  4. Register for your directed study credits through the normal University of Minnesota registration procedures. You register yourself for your directed study credits, and your faculty adviser provides you with the necessary registration information.
  5. Identify someone who will serve as a contact for you and take care of your affairs while you are away, and grant your contact person Power of Attorney.
  6. Maintain your US health insurance coverage while you are abroad.

Financial Aid

It is possible to use federal and state aid—including loans, scholarships and grants—for directed study abroad. By creating a Study Abroad Cost Estimate, you can have your financial aid package reevaluated for the term(s) you are away so that your aid may be adjusted to reflect the cost of your directed study abroad rather than the cost of study at the University of Minnesota. Additional costs could include your flight and living expenses while abroad. Additional aid is not always possible, and you should schedule a Financial Aid Preview Meeting to discuss your package.

Creating a Study Abroad Cost Estimate

You must be registered at the University of Minnesota for an appropriate number of credits while you are abroad in order to receive financial aid. To have your aid adjusted for the term you are away, you will need to create and submit an official Cost Estimate to the Office of Student Finance.

Steps for Creating a Study Abroad Cost Estimate

  1. Put together a well-researched budget for your directed study costs and document the sources of your estimated costs and share those with your adviser; this can be an airline invoice, printout of a website with airline or train ticket costs, photocopy of a travel guide's estimate of housing and meal costs. These estimates should be for a reasonable standard of living. For example, a student would not be expected to camp out and get all food from grocery stores to save money. However, a budget based on a four-star hotel accommodation and fine dining every night would not be acceptable. Personal expenses such as non-study related travel, gifts and souvenirs cannot be included in this budget. Expatistan.com is often a helpful resource for planning a budget according to cost of living in your host country.
  2. Your faculty adviser will need to officially approve and sign your Cost Estimate before it will be accepted by the Office of Student Finance.
  3. Schedule a Financial Aid Preview Meeting for study abroad, where you will meet with a study abroad financial aid adviser to clarify if additional aids/loans are possible for your expenses abroad. You must bring your Directed Study Abroad Cost Estimate Form with you to the meeting.