Q & A COVID – International Programming
What changes has SMCM made to International Travel Policy in light of the COVID-19 outbreak?
SMCM has canceled all study abroad through Spring 2021. Regarding future university-sponsored travel outside of the United States beyond spring semester, this is a complex decision that is based on new and evolving information. Decisions on those future programs will be addressed as soon as possible. If you are a student who has applied for Spring 21 programs, please get in touch with the Office of International Education (email@example.com) for support to withdraw or defer your application to a future term.
Are any SMCM faculty-led programs canceled due to COVID-19?
SMCM 2020 Study Tours were cancelled for the health and safety of students. Summer 2021 Study Tours are still open for applications and a decision will be made by winter/spring and communicated to all applicants then.
If SMCM cancels a study abroad program, will SMCM refund my program costs?
For SMCM-led programs that have not yet started, SMCM is currently in the process of working out reimbursements for each student who had committed to participation. For current spring semester students who return early from any partner programs, SMCM is working to reimburse flight change fees and unused visa fees. SMCM is also currently in discussion with partner providers to determine if any partial reimbursement can be offered for programs that are canceled by the partner institution. This depends on each program, student, and what costs are non-recoverable for the situation. Please know that the Office of International Education is doing its best to support each student individually and recover any possible reimbursement.
What will happen if a program is canceled and I was depending on taking that course for ELAW credit abroad?
SMCM has offered to waive ELAW for each student who was affected by COVID-19 cancellations for Spring 2020, or who had already committed and deposited to a 2020 summer study tour
What will happen if a program is canceled and I was depending on taking that course for credit toward graduation this spring/summer?
Please see your academic advisors and the Registrar’s Office to work out finding alternative credits for the fastest path to graduation.
I received a scholarship for a study abroad program but now I have to come back, what do I do now?
If you are returning from a semester study abroad program that you have already begun, your scholarship is still applicable to the semester. Depending on your scholarship, future semester scholarships will most likely not be affected by the interruption of this semester’s programming; the use of federal financial aid may vary from student to student. Please check with the Office of Financial Assistance. It is helpful to know that the Department of Education has shared flexible guidelines which are accepting remote completion of studies in many cases. Furthermore, your GPA will not be affected by any withdrawals or incompletes on your transcript.
If you have been awarded a scholarship for a summer study tour by the Office of International Education, this will be removed from your account, as SMCM is no longer running study tours for summer 2020.
Please see the Office of Financial Assistance for more details about your personal financial aid situation.
What if my study abroad program has not been canceled but I am nervous about traveling abroad this summer?
If your program has not been canceled, and you are choosing to no longer participate in your program, you would need to complete the normal withdrawal process. Please notify the Office of International Education about your decision and withdraw your application on the Via TRM system. Depending on your withdrawal date and program, you may be responsible for non-refundable deposit costs.
Does the SMCM international insurance policy cover cancelation of programs or withdrawal from a program for any reason?
No, typically the insurance policy will only cover a trip cancelation if a student is deemed medically unable to participate within 30 days of the program start date. Thus, costs paid in advance of the program would probably not be recoverable under the international insurance policy if a student decided not to go because of the COVID-19 situation. Furthermore, insurance policies are not covering evacuation due to pandemic reasons. The international insurance will cover, however, any medical coverage once abroad, if, for any reason, a student was to get sick while overseas. We recommend that students consider purchasing a separate “Cancel For Any Reason” (CAFR) travel insurance policy that could mitigate some of the costs if a student decides not to study abroad or a program is canceled and some costs are not refunded. SMCM has no specific recommendation on CAFR policies, but one that some students have used historically is Insure My Trip. However, in light of recent events, some CAFR policies are not covering COVID-19 related cancelations; please read all policies carefully.
I’m an international student at SMCM. Now that courses are temporarily online and students are off-campus for break, what do I do?
SMCM made accommodations for our international students to remain in campus housing since the start of the pandemic, and are continuing to do so.
Please keep in mind that it may be that if you leave the United States, you might not be able to re-enter, due to COVID-19-related travel bans and visa delays. Matriculating international students who were enrolled in the 2019-2020 academic year are able to take classes remotely this year. Please see the Office of IE for more details.
Still have questions? Please contact the Office of International Education at firstname.lastname@example.org.