COVID-19 Alerts & Updates
COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
HEALTH & SAFETY
How are you making decisions about when and where to support study or experiential learning programs abroad in the near future?
Our Health & Safety team has been actively monitoring the impact that COVID-19 is having on the countries and communities where we operate programs. Our “Back-to-Travel” task force is meeting regularly to evaluate changes that might be necessary and prudent for every aspect of our programs in this environment, including adjustments that allow for us to continue to deliver culturally-rich programs with an added focus on hygiene and social distancing. Location-specific guidance paired with more general recommendations for travel, socializing, and education environments in the new world is helping us define guidelines that we can follow to help make our future programs as safe as possible. In nearly all of our program locations, we have local staff who provide additional information for consideration by our Health & Safety Team.
What can I do to stay healthy?
- - Comply with special instructions issued by local officials, including social distancing and wearing a mask when in public.
- - Adhere to known, effective best practices to minimize your chance of catching respiratory infections:
- - Do not touch any part of your face without first washing your hands.
- - Avoid contact with persons who are already ill.
- - Avoid unnecessary touching of other persons (e.g. shaking hands in greeting) and limit touching publicly-shared surfaces, where possible.
- - Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- - Carry hand sanitizer (60-95% alcohol) and use it for situations where hand washing might not be possible.
- - When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth with a tissue or in your elbow.
What is the refund policy for any programs that are cancelled after they’ve already started?
ISA will look at all recoverable costs and will issue a refund of any costs we can recover. If ISA cancels or suspends a program after the start date, there is no guaranteed refund. ISA makes plans and must commit funding for any upfront costs for all types of programs abroad. Where possible, ISA will work closely with our partners abroad to recover any costs such as tuition and fees, housing, excursions, insurance, etc. If your home university suspends travel while you are abroad, the ISA cancellation policy does apply.
What is the refund policy for ISA if a student chooses to withdraw from a program?
Any student who decides to withdraw from a program that is not cancelled should review the ISA cancellation policy.To give students as much time as possible to make a final decision about going abroad, we have extended many Application, Final Forms, and Payment deadlines for summer and fall programs. Students can find the new deadlines in their ISA Student Portal or can contact their Program Manager for any updates.
Will ISA help cover any flight-related costs if a program is cancelled?
While ISA programs have many inclusions in the program price, airfare is not included in our costs. We recommend all students confirm through their airline, or other applicable agency, to see what insurance coverage or change policies apply in the case travel plans are interrupted due to this pandemic. Even if you purchased through a third-party site, we always recommend calling the airline directly to confirm their policies and see if they can provide any additional flexibility.
SPRING 2020 REFUNDS
How can I confirm my refund amount? Which spring 2020 refunds have been processed?
ISA is looking at all recoverable costs and will issue a refund of any costs we can recover. While ISA cannot guarantee a refund, we are continuing to work closely with our partners and on-site staff to recover any associated costs to the furthest extent possible. Before a program begins, ISA utilizes student program fees to pay for services such as the Bridging Cultures Program, tuition, housing, excursions, and other cultural activities. Due to the variety of factors at play, refund amounts will vary from program to program and student to student. As soon as we have a final amount for a student confirmed, ISA will share that information with students and/or home universities.
Why doesn’t ISA refund based on the pro-rated number of days in the host country?
The partners ISA works with abroad do not all offer contracts for a daily rate. Many of our overseas partners require payments up front, so ISA utilizes program fees accordingly to guarantee accommodations for our students. While we try to negotiate flexible terms with our partners abroad, they each have their own refund policies. Depending on those policies, ISA is working to recover as much as possible, but in some locations and for some of our partners abroad, those amounts may be limited. Only fees we recover that have not already been utilized abroad can be refunded.
How long will refunds take?
ISA’s first priority was ensuring all students abroad this spring arrived home safely and can continue their classes remotely. We are currently looking into recoverable costs with our on-site team, however many locations abroad are on lockdown and this process is taking longer than expected. We hope to have the refund amounts communicated to students and university partners by the end of June.
Who will be informed of ISA refunds?
If the student paid directly for the program, once the refund is determined, ISA will communicate this refund to the student. If the student paid only the housing portion of the price to ISA, any potential housing refund will be sent directly to the student, while the remaining recoverable costs will be sent to the home institution.If a student attends a direct-bill institution, all refunds will be issued to the home university. Once the refund amounts have been finalized, ISA will reach out to the university billing contact to inform them of the refund amount.
Can ISA refund the student directly, instead of the university, if a direct-billing agreement is in place?
As we have an agreement in place with the university and the university paid ISA directly, the refund from ISA will be delivered to the university, not the student. If the university would like to ask for an exception to be made, they will need to reach out to ISA.
If financial aid was sent directly to ISA, who will be receiving the refund?
Unless the university is direct-bill, the student will receive the refund, including any financial aid. We need a written request from the student, should they like their refund to go to anyone or any institution other than themselves.
Will EuroScholars students receive a refund for their program?
As the EuroScholars spring 2020 session was not cancelled and considerations vary at each of the five EuroScholars host institutions, refund possibilities and determinations will not be made until the end of the summer, when the academic semester has ended at all of the universities abroad. Refunds will ultimately be decided by the EuroScholars Consortium, and ISA will communicate relevant details to students and/or home universities as described above when they are finalized.
SPRING 2020 COURSEWORK
Where can I find information on plans to complete spring 2020 coursework remotely?
As ISA learned of remote learning plans from our host universities, we shared this information directly with our students and their home university contacts. The status of all host university responses is posted online on ISA’s Remote Learning Plan page. If students have additional questions about their spring coursework and final exams, they can reach out to their host university instructors to their ISA Program Manager for further assistance.
Will there be any difference in how grades are listed on a host university transcript if courses are completed remotely?
If you have received no news about changes to grade reporting options, you can expect to receive your host university transcript as it would have appeared had you completed your courses in-country. Any updates regarding changes to grade options (e.g. Pass/Fail) have been shared with students by their host university and/or ISA Program Manager.
How long does it take for transcripts to be sent to home universities? Will there be any delays?
Transcripts from the host universities are usually received by ISA within 2-3 months of the program’s completion. However, some transcripts may be further delayed due to COVID-19. Students are encouraged to review our transcript process and visit our status of transcripts page for more information. If you have concerns about your transcript, please contact our team at AcademicRecords@studiesabroad.com for further assistance.
If I need to have an exam proctored and my home university is closed, what are my options?
Every host university has specific policies surrounding final exams. Please follow the instructions communicated in the remote learning contingency plan notification(s) you have received from your host university and/or ISA Program Manager. Please contact your Program Manager directly if you have any questions or concerns about your final exams.
Which summer programs have been cancelled?
ISA made the difficult decision to cancel all summer programs with May, June, and July start dates. August intensive month programs are currently still available, and we will be making a decision on these programs as soon as possible.
Does ISA have any other opportunities for students to earn credit this summer?
We do! ISA has two different options that may be a good fit for students. For students interested in professional experience, receive up to 6 credit hours through our Global Remote Internships. In addition, ISA is offering our new ISA Flex Summer program through our partnership with Arizona State University. This program allows students to take two three-credit courses: one through ASU Online, with hundreds of course options, as well as a unique ISA course, "Future Readiness and Career Planning in a New Global Context."
Can I defer my program to next year if my program is cancelled this summer?
Yes! A student who wishes to study abroad for a future term instead of summer 2020 can defer and transfer their application deposit to the new term. ISA is also honoring the corresponding summer 2020 price for any student who decides to defer to a summer 2021 program. If you prefer to defer to a different program or semester, that is also possible. Please let your Program Manager know your preference once you decide. If you need help finding another program, our team can help you!
Will I get my application deposit back if my program is cancelled?
If ISA cancels the program, students are eligible for a full refund. If the program is still running but you change your mind, you can defer your application deposit to a future term.
Does ISA plan to offer fall 2020 programs as scheduled?
Most of our fall 2020 programs are open and scheduled to run as planned at the present time. ISA will continue to make decisions for fall programs with the health and safety of our students at the forefront. As we approach our fall program deadlines, we may decide to cancel a program based on the recommendations from our security partners, the CDC, WHO, and DOS. In addition, U.S. universities will have their own policies around international travel and programming. We advise checking with your university’s study abroad office.
How do I choose a fall program that’s more likely to run?
We have fall programs that begin as early as August and some as late as late September or early October. Students with flexibility should consider programs with later start dates, which also will have later application deadlines. We are coordinating with our global partners to adjust their own fall academic calendars, where possible, enabling us to extend deadlines, start programs later, and shorten the total program length to remove any visa requirements.
Have any fall application due dates changed as a result of the delayed fall programs?
Yes, we have extended many of our Application, Final Forms, and Payment deadlines to provide students greater flexibility. For some programs, we've been able to arrange for a later start date or an abbreviated program term to remove the student visa requirement.
Of the fall programs that have been delayed due to COVID-19, which programs no longer require a student visa?
ISA has worked with numerous universities to work around program dates, and thus, removing the need for a visa process, where possible. In fact, most ISA programs that are 90 days or less will not require a student visa for U.S. citizens. Other ISA divisions (i.e. ISA Internships), some program locations, or citizens of other countries may need to seek visas for programs under 90 days. If you have any questions, please check with the ISA Program Manager.
What is the latest date I can withdraw from my program and not be charged?
Students may withdraw up to the Final Forms and Payment deadline for their program (found in their Student Portal) without incurring additional costs. Review the ISA cancellation policy for more details.
If the student’s home university cancels all fall programs, will ISA refund the application deposit and any other payments made?
If ISA cancels the program, the student is entitled to a full refund. If the home university cancels the program and it’s before the ISA final forms and payment due date, the application deposit is nonrefundable and the student is entitled to a full refund of any other payments made. If the home university cancels the program and it’s following our final forms and payment due date, ISA will work to provide any refundable costs at that time. In addition, if it is before the program start date, ISA will work with you to try and find another program for a future term if/when possible.
Can I defer my fall 2020 program to another term without any additional cost?
Yes! A student who wishes to study abroad for a future term can defer and transfer their application deposit to the new term. If you prefer to defer to a different program or semester, that is also possible. Please let your Program Manager know your preference once you decide. If you need help finding another program, our team can help you!
What should I do about purchasing an airline ticket for a fall 2020 program?
ISA recommends waiting until after the final forms and payment deadline before purchasing any airfare. In addition, ISA recommends purchasing trip insurance and/or refundable tickets in the event of a cancellation. Please review this information from the airline or flight provider carefully and reach out to them with any questions. Airfare is not included in the ISA program fee so in the event of a program cancellation, the student will need to work with the airline or provider directly on any possible refund. ISA is not able to issue any refunds for airfare changes or cancellations. We recommend reaching out directly to your Program Manager if you have any specific questions.