Learning Abroad Center

Nonaffiliated Programs for UofM Students

Non-affiliated study abroad programs are those that have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.  The University of Minnesota strongly encourages students to participate in one of the hundreds of programs already vetted and approved by the Learning Abroad Center or another unit on campus. These are high quality programs in terms of academic standards, housing, cultural immersion, health and safety, and administrative support services. Note that UMTC students can also participate in most affiliate programs not listed on the Learning Abroad Center website. Students are encouraged to meet with a Learning Abroad Center adviser for assistance in finding a program that aligns with their study abroad interests and goals.

If a student still decides to pursue participation in a nonaffiliated program after carefully reviewing the programs offered by the University of Minnesota, the LAC and the UofM is not able to assist them with program arrangements before, during, or after participation. Students will need to explore program details including coursework, housing, cultural immersion, health and safety issues and support services on their own as well as facilitate their own transfer of credit once back on campus.  Students who participate in a non-affiliated program may need to take a leave of absence or withdraw from the University and reapply unless they are eligible to maintain their UofM status with placeholder registration through the Learning Abroad Center.

Eligibility for Placeholder Registration

The following eligibility policy applies to programs beginning Fall 2023 or later.

To maintain their status as an active undergraduate degree-seeking student at the UofM while abroad, all students must be registered for placeholder credits.  The Learning Abroad Center will provide placeholder credits for an undergraduate student participating in a non-affiliated study abroad program only when both of the following criteria are met:

  • The student is receiving a government-funded scholarship (eg, Boren) that requires that the student be enrolled at the UofM while abroad.
  • There is no LAC program that meets their requirements in terms of language level and destination.  If there is a UofM program that offers the language level and destination required for the scholarship that the student has received, they will be required to utilize the approved program.

Note that students applying for a Gilman scholarship would not meet these criteria. The Learning Abroad Center will only certify Gilman applications for students participating in a program already approved by the UofM because Gilman does not have any location or language requirements that would necessitate choosing from outside of the list of already approved UofM programs.


Students who meet the eligibility criteria for placeholder registration for a non-affiliated program should contact Scott Daby for information about next steps.

Student Not Eligible for Placeholder Registration

We recommend that students who are not eligible for non-affiliated placeholder registration instead choose a program approved by the UofM. If a student decides to participate in a non-affiliated program during fall or spring semester without placeholder registration, they will need to apply for a leave of absence from their college.  If their college does not approve the leave of absence, they would need to leave the university and reapply for admission.  Students who are not registered for placeholder credits cannot use their UofM financial aid.

If a student does not require placeholder registration to participate in a non-affiliated program but their travel is for University purposes (travel that fulfills a degree requirement, is supported by University funding including grant awards, scholarships, informal financial awards, and financial aid, etc.), they must complete the UofM travel registry process. This process includes obtaining support and approval from their college/department, including a 24/7 emergency contact in the college/department.