Student Handbook

If you plan to have financial aid applied to your "cost of the program", please check with the financial aid office at your home campus to see whether and how your financial aid will transfer to an Oswego overseas academic program.  You should complete the Financial Arrangements form and return it to Oswego's Student Accounts office.  Generally, financial aid transfers easily between SUNY campuses, but paperwork is required to make this happen.

Please note that regardless of any deferment of any payment against the anticipated arrival of financial aid, the participant remains ultimately responsible for the payment of the entire cost of the program.

Students who are planning to finance all or part of their study abroad by financial aid should be aware that:

    1. The rules and regulations governing financial aid change frequently and the only accurate source of information about your financial aid package is the financial aid office at your home campus.
    2. A participant in a SUNY overseas academic program is usually eligible for the same aid package that they would be eligible were they attending their home SUNY campus with the exception of college work-study.
    3. The participant's home campus (i.e., the campus at which the student is matriculated and admitted to a degree program) is the only school that can process that student's financial aid forms.  The student must check with his/her home campus financial aid office for further details.
    4. A student must be registered for a minimum of six credits to qualify for financial aid (all of Oswego's regular semester overseas academic programs are 12 to 15 credits; therefore, all participants are enrolled as full-time students).  Summer and winter session programs have different requirements.

    By accepting Oswego's offer of admission to one of its exchanges or overseas academic programs you acknowledge that you are ultimately responsible for all payments paid by the OIEP on your behalf, including but not limited to, any unrecoverable money deposits for the purchase of airline tickets, housing, tuition, fees, etc., should you withdraw after these funds have been paid, except for documented ill health.  

    By accepting Oswego's offer of admission you also acknowledge that it is your responsibility to insure that your financial aid (if applicable) is forwarded to the OIEP at Oswego; OR if you do not receive financial aid, you acknowledge that it is your responsibility to make payment to the OIEP directly.  Any failure to confirm payment may result in your removal from your overseas program.

    In general, you can anticipate the following costs:

    Program acceptance deposit

    All Oswego overseas academic programs require the payment of a NON-REFUNDABLE program deposit.  This is collected upon the acceptance of our offer of admission, and its payment guarantees the place reserved for the student on the program.

    Since the program deposit is always, and in all circumstances, non-refundable, and since you will be obligated to pay the OIEP for any money paid on your behalf before the program begins, you should not confirm admission to an overseas program unless you are CERTAIN you will be participating.  The program deposit holds a place for you and is used, as stated above, for expenses relating to your participation that the OIEP incurs before your departure.

    PLEASE NOTE: Payments must be in the form of a MONEY ORDER or BANK CERTIFIED CHECK payable to AUXILIARY SERVICES.  Personal checks are NOT accepted and will be returned to the sender.

    Instructional fees 
    These payments cover the actual "costs of the program," including tuition for the instruction that you will receive abroad.  Typically, the fees for instruction consist of: 

    1. The OIEP program differential - the cost of the program in which each student is participating that is charged over and above tuition to pay for the program overseas. It includes mandatory health insurance and repatriation insurance.

    2. The items that together make up the "cost of the program" of an Oswego administered overseas academic program are always inclusive and fixed; they are never offered on a "pick and choose" or "mix and match" basis.  The use of, or participation in, some of the items that are included in the "cost of the program", such as field trips or excursions, library memberships, lecture series, etc., may be "optional" for the participants, but paying the entire "cost of the program" is never "optional."  These total program costs always include tuition and administrative support services at the host institution, they frequently include on-site orientations and field trips, and they sometimes include housing.  The items included in the "cost of the program" and only those items specified in that section of each brochure are included in the "cost of the program."  All other costs related to participation in an Oswego study abroad program are the exclusive responsibility of the participant.

    3. Transportation Costs - The cost of transportation varies from program to program and is dependent upon the site and the time of the year.  All of Oswego's overseas programs involve air travel, and the flights depart from a gateway city, usually a New York City area airport.  Travel to the departure city is an additional expense, which again varies, depending on a student's hometown.

    4. Lodging costs (room and board) - Frequently, lodging costs are paid while abroad either monthly, or in the form of a single payment at the start of the semester.  A few of Oswego's overseas programs have housing included in their program differential, but most do not.  An estimate of the housing and food costs for each program is given in the basic program brochure for that program.  In some cases, students will be required to pay a housing deposit to the overseas host institution prior to arrival in the host country.  This deposit may be either a portion of the total cost of housing for the semester(s)/term(s) abroad, or the total cost of housing itself.  This may include a damage deposit that is refundable and/or administrative fee that is not refundable.  In any case, students are responsible for making this directly to the overseas institution and for reading all materials thoroughly to determine what forms of payment (i.e., a bank draft in the currency of the host country) are acceptable.

    5. Miscellaneous expenses,  including additional food costs and personal spending, while abroad are the hardest expenses to anticipate.  There is no upper limit on what students can spend abroad, but it is possible to live frugally and still have a wonderful experience.  You should expect your style of living to change while you are overseas, but you should also plan to model your living on the student lifestyle at the host site.  Students participating in programs located in larger European cities should plan to spend more on food and housing expenses than they would at home.


    SUNY students should anticipate that they will be billed for the program differential by Oswego's OIEP and should pay this bill or make financial arrangements by the due date.  Their tuition and college fees should be paid to their home campus bursar's office.

    Non-SUNY students should anticipate that they will be billed for BOTH tuition and college fees and the program differential by Oswego's OIEP and should pay this bill or make financial arrangements by the due date.  

    Late Payment and Unpaid Bills

    Failure to pay your bill by the deadline will result in a late fee.  Additional late fees will be added for every month your bill remains unpaid. SUNY Oswego OIEP reserves the right to expel students prior to the start of the program for failure to pay the program charges or failure to have approved financial aid arrangements in place. Unpaid bills wil result in the following:

    • late fees
    • witholding of grades
    • hold placed on future registration
    • referral to New York State Attorney General for collection


    The following payments are ALWAYS NON-REFUNDABLE (except in the event of the cancellation of the program by Oswego):

    1. the program acceptance deposit
    2. the housing deposit (when billed as a separate item)

    The following payments are frequently (but not always) at least PARTIALLY REFUNDABLE prior to the starting date of an overseas academic program:

    1. tuition
    2. the program differential

    Before withdrawing from your program, you should check your liability by contacting OIEP.

    The amount of any refund depends upon the date of the WRITTEN NOTIFICATION of a participant's withdrawal from the program and the ability of the OIEP to recover the payments it has already made on the student's behalf.  For those programs in which the cost of housing is part of the program fee or is contained within the program differential (most short-term [i.e., summer and winter-session programs] and several semester and year programs), a participant's withdrawal on less than 30 days notice will result in a substantially reduced refund.  Please note: Normally, refunds of any kind are not made after the start of the overseas academic program since charges by most overseas host institutions are billed at the start of the term/semester/year.

    Participants are advised that the Oswego OIEP's policies regarding refunds may be different from their home campus's policies on refunds and withdrawals.  For example, normally, a withdrawal from an overseas academic program for an illness or other health related matter does NOT result in a refund as it might in a home campus-based program.  However, each case is treated individually, depending on the individual circumstances.

    The question of whether an airline ticket is partially refundable or non-refundable depends upon the airline and the travel agency that issues the ticket.  Oswego is not involved in any issues regarding airline tickets. (If cancelled by participants or deposits forfeited by a subsequent failure to make timely payments to the travel agency.)

    Withdrawals, expulsions and cancellations

    A. Withdrawal from a program

    1. If a student withdraws from an OIEP exchange or overseas academic program before the program starts, he/she is liable to the OIEP for any unrecoverable deposits paid by the OIEP in his/her behalf, even if the student has not paid any portion of the program fee.
    2. If a student withdraws after the program begins and has paid the program costs, a refund will be made according to section IX, H above.

    B.  Expulsion from a program
    The OIEP at Oswego, in consultation with program directors and other college officials, reserves the right to terminate a student's participation in an overseas program for the following reasons:

    1. the student is found to be in violation of SUNY Oswego's Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct prior to departure.
    2. the student is found to have an academic, financial, or judicial hold on his/her records.
    3. the student engages in action endangering to himself/herself, or others during the program.
    4. the student's actions or conduct are considered to be detrimental to, or incompatible with, the best interests and welfare of the program.
    5. the student participates in any travel outside of the study abroad program itinerary that hinders his/her class attendance, at any time during the duration of the study abroad program that has not been arranged by the home or the host universities; (Independent travel during weekends and semester breaks is permitted, but student must plan to return prior to the start of weekly classes).
    6. the student's registration falls below full-time (12 credits - semester, 6 credits - summer).
    7. failure to pay in ful or have approved financial aid arrangements prior to program departure.

    C. Cancellation of a program
    The OIEP at Oswego reserves the right to cancel a program at any time for the following reasons:

    1. Insufficient enrollment;
    2. Advice from the US Dept. of State that it is unsafe for US citizens and nationals of other countries to be at the host site, or that US citizens and nationals are not advised to travel or reside in the host site; and
    3. The inability of the host institution to provide or support the program adequately.

    If the program is cancelled, all payments that have been made to Oswego by the participant will be refunded.

    Other payment options/direct billing by your home (non-SUNY) campus

    Some institutions insist that their students participating in Oswego's overseas academic programs pay tuition directly to them. These colleges request that SUNY Oswego OIEP bill them directly for the "cost of the program" (tuition and program differential).  Check with your campus director of international education to see if arrangements are in place (or can be made) to have your home campus cover all (or a significant part) of your payments to Oswego as part of your tuition.

    All SUNY students who participate in overseas academic programs must register and pay tuition  at their home SUNY campus for the semester(s)/terms(s) during which they will be abroad.  You should register for study abroad during the pre-registration period or prior to the end of the semester before you are to go abroad.  It is very important that you make the necessary arrangements for the payment of tuition for your semester(s)/term(s) abroad.  All students should check with the international programs office or their major department for registration instructions.  NOTE:  Oswego students will receive an email from the OIEP regarding registration instructions.  

    In addition, make certain that all your institutional financial obligations (i.e., library fines, telephone bills, bookstore accounts, etc.) at your home campus are settled before departure for overseas. Please Note:  Students with "holds" on their account, for any reason, will NOT be permitted to study abroad.  It is the student's responsibility to notify the OIEP of any change in your "hold" status.

    Registration and payment of tuition at home SUNY campus

    SUNY policies require that SUNY students participating in SUNY overseas academic programs register and pay their tuition at their home SUNY campus for the entire period they will be abroad.  All overseas academic program participants are also required to pay a program differential to the administering campus. FAILURE TO REGISTER AND/OR PAY TUITION OR THE PROGRAM DIFFERENTIAL, OR HAVE A FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS FORM ON FILE IN THE OIEP BEFORE DEPARTURE TO THE OVERSEAS SITE, WILL RESULT IN IMMEDIATE CANCELLATION OF ENROLLMENT IN THE OVERSEAS PROGRAM.

    Tuition owed to the overseas host institution at which the program is located is always paid by Oswego on behalf of each participant. Tuition payments to the host institution are NEVER paid directly by the participants.  THERE IS NEVER AN EXCEPTION TO THIS POLICY.

    Non-SUNY students who participate in an Oswego overseas program will be considered visiting students at Oswego, and will register and pay tuition to Oswego.  Such students will sometimes take a formal academic leave of absence from their home campus (see program specialist).  Non-SUNY students must arrange such leave on their own with their home campus.

    Registration and enrollment at your overseas academic university

    All students must enroll in AND remain enrolled in 12 or more credits (FULL TIME) per semester while overseas.  Failure to do this is a violation of student Visa status in some countries, can affect Title IV funding for financial aid, and can be grounds for immediate expulsion from the program.  NOTE:  Regardless of overseas university policy, students participating on SUNY overseas academic programs CANNOT drop or withdraw from classes after the ninth week of the semester unless he/she can document extenuating circumstances beyond the student's control to the OIEP at SUNY Oswego.  The OIEP has the final authority to approve or disapprove the documented course withdrawal.

    Advanced registration from abroad for the following semester

    Non-Oswego students should discuss with their home campus's OIEP or registrar's office regarding the  procedures to help them pre-register from abroad for the next semester's courses.  This effort may not always be successful since the materials needed for pre-registration do not always arrive on time.  If this is the case, you will have to register for courses at the beginning of the semester you return.  Or, you may make arrangements with friends or relatives to register you for the following semester.

    Grading policies vary from program to program.  In most instances, a program's grading policies are the same as the grading policies of the SUNY campus, which administers the program.  However, there is one major difference between grades earned at home and grades that are earned abroad: GRADES EARNED ABROAD WILL TAKE MORE TIME TO PROCESS.

    Overseas programs operate on the calendar of the host institution abroad, which sometimes meshes with Oswego's calendar, but usually does not.  Your grades must be mailed from overseas to Oswego's OIEP and then a transcript supplement is sent to Oswego's registrar's office. From there, it is sent to your home OIEP and registrar's office.  Even when the postal systems of both countries are working at peak efficiency, we invariably receive your grades after the final date for reporting grades to your home campus's computer. 

    At some universities (e.g., in Australia), the host university may give directly to the students a copy of their grades.  These grades will appear in the format used by the host institution (e.g., "Pass," "Distinction," etc.). The grades will be converted by the Oswego OIEP to the Oswego equivalents (A-E).  This student copy is NOT your official SUNY transcript and should be considered only as a memento of your experience overseas.  It also cannot be used by the Oswego OIEP to produce your official SUNY transcript.  The grades must come to our office directly from our counterpart office overseas, or from the resident program director.

    Our office does not produce a transcript until we have received your grades from abroad and this may result in a "blank transcript" from your home campus's registrar's computer at the end of your semester abroad.

    Transcripts and financial obligations

    THE OIEP AT OSWEGO WILL ISSUE NO TRANSCRIPT OF GRADES EARNED IN AN EXCHANGE OR OVERSEAS ACADEMIC PROGRAM IT ADMINISTERS UNTIL ALL FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS INCURRED BY THE PARTICIPANT ARE MET.  This includes obligations incurred at the host site (overdue rent, library fines, unpaid telephone bills) as well as financial obligations to Oswego.

    Grade appeals

    Oswego's OIEP reports grades earned by participants in the overseas academic programs that it administers by means of the SUNY Transcript Supplement.  The Transcript Supplement is sent to the registrar of the participant's home campus.

    Grades reported by the OIEP are those recommended by the program's resident director or program representative or the registrar of the host institution abroad.  Grade appeals are based on the regulations of the host institution.

    In all instances of appeals of grades earned in overseas academic programs administered by the OIEP at Oswego, the participant bears the whole responsibility of substantiating the basis for a grade appeal. Participants are therefore advised to keep copies of all assignments and records to prove that these assignments were done, were turned in, and/or that exams were taken. THERE ARE ONLY TWO REASONS FOR CHANGING A GRADE ON AN APPEAL:


    A participant who wishes to appeal a grade should begin the appeal process prior to departing from the host site abroad, if possible.  The normal appeal process (after all remedies at the host institution have been exhausted) moves to Oswego through the OIEP, then to the appropriate deans, and then to the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.  This phase of the appeal process conforms to the normal grade appeals policies of the State University of New York at Oswego.

    Termination and grades

    Participants expelled from participation after the start of the program will be dealt with according to the grading policy as set forth in the SUNY Oswego undergraduate and graduate catalogs.

    Number of credits
    All students must enroll in AND remain enrolled in 12 or more credits (FULL TIME) per semester while overseas.  Failure to do this is a violation of student Visa status in some countries, can affect Title IV funding for financial aid, and can be grounds for immediate expulsion from the program.
    NOTE:  Regardless of overseas university policy, students participating on SUNY overseas academic programs CANNOT drop or withdraw from classes after the ninth week of the semester unless he/she can document extenuating circumstances beyond the student's control to the OIEP at SUNY Oswego.  The OIEP has the final authority to approve or disapprove the documented course withdrawal.

    Transferability of credits
    The credits earned by participants in Oswego overseas academic programs are awarded by the State University of New York at Oswego.  Oswego is a comprehensive college of the State University of New York system, accredited by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York and the Commission on Higher Education, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.  The Middle States Association is the only one of the nine regional accrediting agencies of the US Commissions on Higher Education that evaluates overseas academic programs.  The purpose of these Middle States evaluations is to ensure the maintenance of high academic standards.  Oswego's overseas academic programs have been regularly evaluated by the Middle States Association and granted its highest rating.

    Because participants are actually enrolled at a SUNY campus during their semester, term or year of participation, the credits they earn are treated as if they were earned at the SUNY campus at which they are registered. Oswego students participating in other SUNY programs will receive both credit and grades for their semester abroad.  Other SUNY and Non-SUNY students on an Oswego program must check with their home campus to find out how the SUNY credits earned on an Oswego's overseas academic programs will transfer back to their campuses.

    Applicability of credit
    Participants should be aware that:

    1. The credits earned in a SUNY overseas academic program will always count toward the total number of credits needed to graduate from a SUNY college or university center.
    2. The credits earned in a SUNY overseas academic program will usually be counted as meeting the SUNY campus residency requirement (typically, students must earn 24 of the last 30 hours of their degrees at the campus that awards the degree).

    If you intend to use specific courses taken abroad to fulfill any part of the requirements in your major, you must consult with your academic advisor or your major department and receive prior approval from that department.  Be sure to get such approval in writing.

    Level of credits
    Many of the credits earned in an Oswego overseas academic program are upper division (that is, Junior- or Senior-level) credit.  Exceptions to this rule include credits in beginning- and intermediate-level language courses, and courses of a clearly introductory nature taken at a host institution.  For example, a beginning anthropology course designed for students who have never studied anthropology before will be a 100-level course regardless of whether it is taken at Oswego or an Australian university, for example.

    Credits earned in language courses at the elementary and intermediate level are typically reported as 100(beginning-) or 200(intermediate-) level course work, paralleling the level of work done at Oswego.

    1. Beginning-level (100): semesters one and two of the study of a language;
    2. Intermediate-level (200): semesters three and four of the study of a language;
    3. Advanced Intermediate-level (300): semesters five and six;
    4. Advanced-level (400): study of a language after six semesters.

    The study of literature in a foreign language in an Oswego overseas academic program is always done at the upper division / advanced level.

    Graduate credit
    Oswego offers a few overseas academic programs specifically designed for graduate study, and individual course in other overseas academic programs.  If the department in which the graduate student is matriculated agrees to accept the credits earned in an Oswego overseas academic program toward the graduate degree, arrangements can be made to enroll the student in appropriate courses.  Usually, graduate programs allow no more than six graduate credits to be earned outside the department awarding the degree.

    Transcript supplements

    After the conclusion of the program, the program's resident director or the host institution's registrar's office will prepare a report of grades.  This report will normally indicate: a) the courses taken abroad, b) the number of credits earned for each course, and c) the grade for each course.  These grades are forwarded to the Oswego OIEP.

    A transcript supplement is prepared by the OIEP on the basis of the overseas grade report. The transcript supplement is mailed to the Oswego Registrar's Office, which in turn mails one copy to the student and the original to the OIEP at the student's home campus, if a non-Oswego student.  If additional copies of the transcript supplement are needed, immediately or in future years, they can be requested from the registrar's office at the student's home campus, or by contacting the Office of the Registrar at SUNY Oswego.