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Maine: March 2011

The National Student Exchange is a not-for-profit, institutional membership consortium whose purpose is to operate for the benefit of member colleges and universities in the United States, its territories, and partner universities in Canada. NSE assists contracting institutions in providing opportunities for their students to exchange for up to one calendar year to a member institution of higher learning in another area of the United States, its territories, and with partner institutions in Canada.

The National Student Exchange is the only program of its kind and serves as a national resource for inter-institutional study. NSE offers study opportunities at diverse university settings and provides access to a wide array of courses and programs; field experiences, co-op, and internship options; and resident assistant, honors, and study abroad opportunities. The program is complemented by a tuition reciprocity system which allows students to attend their host institution paying either the in-state tuition/fees of their host institution or the normal tuition/fees of their home campus.

The National Student Exchange (hereafter referred to as NSE) and the institution entering into agreement with NSE (hereafter referred to as the contracting institution) agree to be bound by the policies and procedures detailed in the NSE Handbook and summarized in the following NSE Terms of Participation regarding the exchange of students through NSE between the contracting institution and other NSE member colleges and universities.


The National Student Exchange is a tuition-reciprocal exchange program which utilizes two plans for tuition/fees payment to accommodate the disparate administrative and legal requirements under which institutions of higher learning are able to accommodate such reciprocity. Under each payment plan described below, students also pay the costs for room and meals to the host campus and are responsible for their own personal expenses, including transportation to and from the host campus. Each contracting institution determines the tuition/fee payment plan(s) under which it can legally operate.

A. Plan A
Under this payment payment plan, the exchange student pays the in-state (resident) or in-province tuition/fees of the host campus directly to that campus.

B. Plan B
Under this payment plan, the student pays tuition/fees of the home campus directly to that campus. Students who normally pay non-resident tuition/fees to their home campus should expect to continue to do so while on exchange. The student enrolls at the host campus neither paying tuition/fees to the host campus nor having money sent from the home campus to the host campus for payment of those fees.


A. NSE Central Office
The NSE Central Office provides on-going guidance and support for member campuses; communicates with member institutions; maintains consortium files and financial records; develops and distributes, in print and electronic format, promotional materials and publications; maintains a contact directory for campus coordinators; publishes a monthly newsletter; maintains an Internet ListServ; orients new coordinators to their NSE responsibilities; coordinates a mentoring program for new coordinators; maintains a Web site for students, prospective members, and a password-protected site for campus coordinators; plans and executes the annual conference; conducts program evaluations; develops and expands the membership network; and represents NSE to prospective member campuses, educational associations, government agencies, and other appropriate organizations.

B. NSE Council
National Student Exchange governance is provided by a Council which is composed of seven individuals, five of whom are elected by and represent each of the regions in which NSE operates. The remaining two members are the President and Vice President of NSE. Ad hoc additions to the Council are made as deemed necessary. The purpose of the Council is to serve as directors of the corporation and to assist with program development and decision making in the NSE Central Office.


Membership is open to regionally-accredited, baccalaureate-level colleges and universities in the United States, its territories, and Canada that are willing to provide administrative and financial resources necessary to NSE program implementation and operation. Acceptance of new members is based largely on the consortium's desire to provide academic, cultural, ethnic, and geographic diversity to existing exchange options and to broaden institutional representation in areas of high student interest.


A. NSE Policies and Procedures
The contracting institution agrees to administer its exchange program in compliance with the policies and procedures detailed in the NSE Handbook. Any digression from NSE Handbook policy and procedure must be detailed in writing, appended to the NSE Membership Agreement, and be approved by the National Student Exchange.

B. Designation of a Campus Coordinator
Each contracting institution designates an individual to serve as coordinator for the campus NSE program. The extent to which an institution takes full advantage of the opportunities offered through NSE membership is largely determined by the coordinator who must stimulate the interest of prospective exchange participants and provide a framework in which the exchange program will be administered by the institution. NSE responsibilities are similar to those of individuals who coordinate study abroad or international exchanges on the campus. The NSE coordinator is responsible for:
  • administering all aspects of NSE at the institution as defined in the NSE Handbook and summarized in this document
  • serving as the liaison with the NSE Central Office, with other NSE member institutions, and with NSE exchange participants
  • abiding by the appended Principles of Professional Practice for NSE Coordinators
C. Coordinator Responsibilities
1. Obligations to Students
  • Outgoing Students
    The coordinator at the home institution is responsible for coordinating all procedures related to sending students out on exchange. Home coordinator responsibilities include promoting the program; distributing information and materials; approving and selecting applicants; preparing for placement; pre-placement advising; placing students; assisting with advising agreements; and, for Plan B (home payment) students, arranging for tuition/fee payment billings.
  • Incoming Students
    The NSE coordinator at the host institution is responsible for coordinating all procedures related to accepting and enrolling exchange students on the host campus and acting as their advocate in dealing with the various administrative offices such as admissions, registration, fee payment, housing, and other campus-related services. Responsibilities to incoming students include assisting them with registration; ensuring that all students are enrolled; orienting incoming students to the campus; verifying their enrollment to the home campus coordinator and the NSE Central Office; and assisting students with the administrative details necessary to return to their home campuses.
  • Returning Students
    Both host and home coordinators play important roles in the students return to the home campus. Responsibilities of the host coordinator include informing students of necessary check-out procedures as well as procedures for procuring an official transcript of the exchange work. The home coordinator is responsible for maintaining contact with their students during exchange; forwarding appropriate re-entry information, class schedules, registration forms and specific instructions for registration, and on-campus housing information; and ensuring that the work completed at the host campus is credited to the student's permanent record as negotiated in the advising agreement.
2. Annual Membership Fees
NSE assesses an annual membership fee, the amount of which is reviewed and approved each year by the NSE Council. The NSE membership/fiscal year is July 1 through June 30. Ninety (90) days prior to the beginning of the membership year, the contracting institution is billed by NSE. Fees are payable July 1 and are non-refundable. Fees are owed regardless of subsequent withdrawal. Late fees are assessed for payments made after September 1. Any institution which has not paid its fees by December 31 may have its membership terminated. Termination of membership for failing to pay membership fees does not abrogate the responsibility of the contracting institution or NSE to provide benefits in accordance with these NSE Terms of Participation for exchanges begun prior to such termination or negotiated prior to the termination.

3. Student Application Fees
The contracting institution is responsible for remitting an NSE application fee for each student submitting an application for exchange, including applications for students placed at the annual conference, post-conference, or mid-year. The amount of the NSE application fee is reviewed and approved each year by the NSE Council. The obligation for fee payment is based on the date the application is received by the NSE coordinator, not the period of time for which the student actually exchanges. Fees are owed regardless of placements made, placements declined, or withdrawal after placement acceptance; and are due in the NSE Central Office July 1 for applications received from July 1 - June 30 of the previous year. Late fees are assessed for payments received after September 1. Any institution which has not paid its fees by December 31 may have its membership terminated. Termination of membership for failing to remit student application fees does not abrogate the responsibility of the contracting institution or NSE to provide benefits in accordance with these NSE Terms of Participation for exchanges begun prior to such termination or negotiated prior to the termination.

4. Annual Placement Conference
NSE coordinators are required to attend the annual placement conference usually held during the first or second week of March. While the primary conference activity is placement of students for the following year, the conference offers the opportunity for in-service training; panels and presentations; workshops; and discussion of policy, procedure and matters of consortium business. Campuses not sending their coordinator to the conference pay a fee in lieu of conference attendance.

5. Requests for Information, Forms, Materials, and Publications
The contracting institution agrees to cooperate fully, and in a timely manner, to requests made by the NSE Central Office for the submission of information, forms, materials, and publications necessary to ensure effective and accurate communication among coordinators and on behalf of NSE students. The contracting institution agrees to allow NSE to duplicate and distribute to other contracting institutions any and all printed and electronic materials provided to NSE. The National Student Exchange is not responsible for the accuracy or completeness of the information submitted.

6. Reports and Evaluations
The contracting institution agrees to cooperate in a timely manner with the NSE Central Office requests for information related to evaluation of the exchange program and its services to students and member universities.


A. Eligibility Criteria for Exchange
It is the responsibility of the home contracting institution to determine the eligibility of exchange students within parameters stated below. Participation in the National Student Exchange is a privilege, not a right. At minimum, to qualify for participation in the National Student Exchange, a student must have the following requirements at the time of application and in the term immediately prior to exchange:
  • be a full-time student at the home campus
  • have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 (4.0 scale)
  • be in good academic standing
  • have no incomplete grades from previous terms
  • have no current or pending probationary status due to academic dishonesty or misconduct
  • have no outstanding financial obligations to the home campus
  • have no current or pending probationary status or disciplinary action for violation of codes of student conduct
  • not be on probation, parole, or having pending legal judgments
  • meet any additional requirements of the home institution
  • meet any additional stated requirements of the host institution (e.g., higher GPA for admission to certain programs, language proficiency at some member institutions, or submission of portfolio or taped audition for fine arts programs)
B. Assurance of Non-Discrimination
Application forms and procedures of the contracting institution shall conform to federal, state and institutional Affirmative Action/Title IX guidelines. Application forms shall conform to institutional policies and to the policies set forth in the NSE Handbook. Nothing in the application and selection process shall discriminate on the basis of age, gender, race, color, ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, or disabilities.

C. Placing Students
Most students are placed by coordinators at the annual placement conference held in March. Placement decisions are governed by the limitations on the number of students some institutions may send and receive. Additional placements may be negotiated between coordinators following the conference or at mid-year. Applying students are accepted by the host campuses on a space-available basis. Since applicants have been approved for exchange by the home coordinators, no exchange of credentials is necessary at the conference and no additional admissions review and approval process takes place at the host institution following placement with the exception of programs which may require a portfolio, tape audition, or other evidence of level of competency for access to courses in the student's major. When the student accepts the placement, it constitutes a contract for exchange. Exchanges shall proceed for the exchange plan and period of time designated on the Placement Acceptance Form unless the student has failed to maintain basic NSE eligibility qualifications or has been determined to be ineligible to participate by the sending institution.

D. Exchange Balances
NSE does not require any institutional or numerical exchange reciprocity. Some campuses, however, must balance their incoming with their outgoing students; some campuses receive more students than they send; and others send more students than they receive. The contracting institution determines the numbers of students sent or received as well as any balancing of numbers out and numbers in and the time frame in which the balance must be achieved. Most campuses which balance their exchanges do so over a multi-year period rather than term to term or year to year. From the perspective of NSE, each exchange year is considered a separate entity. Spaces are not owed to or from a campus from year to year.

E. Financial Aid
1. Award and Disbursement
In accordance with NSE policy, federally-funded financial aid is awarded by, and disbursed from, the campus where tuition/fees are paid. For Plan A (tuition/fees paid to the host campus), aid comes from the student's host college or university in the same manner as that institution funds its native students. Plan A students must be enrolled at their host campus as degree-seeking students. Plan B students access their financial aid from their home institution using a real budget based on the tuition/fees of the home campus and the room, meals, incidentals, and travel expenses of the host college or university. Plan B students should remain registered at their home institution in a holding course with full-time enrollment.

Under NSE's Canadian Partners Program, students going to or coming from a college or university in Canada are always funded by their home campus regardless of whether or not the student chooses to exchange under Plan A or Plan B.

2. Consortium Agreement
The U.S. Department of Education has reviewed the policies and procedures which govern NSE exchanges and has determined that they conform to the requirements of written agreements between two or more eligible institutions under the Federal Pell Grant regulations (consortium agreements) and written agreements between an eligible institution and another institution or organization under the Federal Institutional Eligibility regulations (contractual agreements). The signed NSE Member-ship Agreement is considered the consortium agreement under Federal Pell Grant regulations. Separate or individual consortium agreements with other NSE member institutions are not necessary.

F. Advising Agreement
It is the responsibility of the home campus coordinator to inform students about the necessity of developing a written advising agreement. The advising agreement is a document which lists all of the possible courses to be taken during exchange and a designation as to how the completed courses will fit into the student's academic program. It is the student's responsibility to secure such an agreement prior to leaving the home campus for exchange. The advising agreement acts as a formal contract between the student and the home institution that courses completed under the agreement are applicable to the student's academic program as stated.

G. Release of Information/Family Rights and Privacy Act
In compliance with federal regulations under the Family Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, students are responsible for specifying persons or agents who may have access to their records. As part of the placement acceptance process, NSE students give permission to their home and host institution NSE campus coordinators and to the National Student Exchange Central Office to collect and release information (e.g., letters of recommendation, transcripts, financial status with the campus, report of conduct, and medical/counseling records) as it is appropriate to their exchange participation, continuation, or termination. Students also agree that home and host campuses may disclose to one another, to the National Student Exchange, and to parents, legal guardian, or spouse any information which may impact their mental health or physical well-being while on exchange. The "exchange" extends from the time of placement until the receipt of the official transcript by the home campus of the work attempted at the host campus.

H. Insurance
NSE does not require and does not provide health insurance for exchange students. It is the student's responsibility, therefore, to ensure that he/she has adequate coverage for the period and place of exchange. Home and/or host campuses may require purchase of such insurance.

I. Host Campus Registration and Course Access
Priority registration for incoming NSE students is welcome. At minimum, incoming NSE students should register for courses in the same manner and time frame as the institution's currently enrolled, degree-seeking students of the same class standing. Registration in courses is based on availability of offerings and cannot be guaranteed. Students are expected to meet all course pre-requisites.

J. Host Campus Benefits
Exchange students shall be afforded all rights and benefits (e.g., access to health, recreational and athletic facilities; participation in student organizations; access to university support services and offices, etc.) in the same manner as any student native to the host institution. The privilege of exchange may be revoked if the student fails to: 1) remain enrolled full-time at the host institution, 2) maintain acceptable academic standards defined by both the home and host institutions, 3) abide by the behavioral standards of the host institution, or 4) pay financial obligations to the home or host institution.

K. Rules and Regulations
It is the responsibility of the host campus coordinator to inform incoming exchange students of the host institution's academic regulations and standards, financial obligations and payment policies, student code of conduct, and NSE policies regarding their stay. The host coordinator is also responsible for ensuring that students have been properly informed, in writing, of their responsibilities as well as their rights. Failure of the student to conform to rules and regulations may result in the termination of exchange participation and further disciplinary action may be taken by the student's host and/or home campuses.

L. Outstanding Financial Obligations
Home and host campus coordinators are expected to work together to resolve debts incurred by students during their participation in the National Student Exchange. Failure to make full payment of all required fees or to resolve other debts to the home or host institutions (e.g., tuition, fees, room meals, unreturned equipment, over-due short-term emergency loan, lost library books, or other obligations required by the home or host institution) may result in the cancellation of registration or disenrollment at the host campus in the subsequent term or by the home institution following the period of exchange at the host campus. All financial obligations should be fulfilled by the student to both the home and host institutions prior to further enrollment at either institution, releasing of transcripts from either institution, and/or awarding diplomas.

M. Transcripts
The host campus generates a transcript for the exchange work in the same manner as it does for its regularly enrolled students.

N. Transcripting Exchange Work
The home campus coordinator should verify that host campus transcripts have been received and that the work completed on exchange has been entered on the permanent record at the home institution and credited to the student's program of study as negotiated in the advising agreement.

O. Institutional Waivers and Releases
Contracting institutions are strongly encouraged to utilize for NSE students, as they would for their own students studying abroad, institutional waivers, disclaimers, and/or hold-harmless statements as well as documentation which identifies the responsibilities assumed by students when they participate in the National Student Exchange.


Institutions belonging to the National Student Exchange must sign a one-time NSE Membership Agreement in which the contracting university agrees to abide by the policies and procedures detailed in the NSE Handbook and summarized in these NSE Terms of Participation.

A. Effective Date
The NSE Membership Agreement is effective upon the receipt in the NSE Central Office of a duly signed agreement by the contracting institution.

B. Duration
The NSE Membership Agreement remains in force as long as it is not expressly terminated in writing by either party.

C. Modification
The NSE Membership Agreement may be amended, in writing, with the mutual consent of NSE and the contracting institution.

D. Termination
The NSE Membership Agreement may be terminated by written notification from either party and in compliance with provisions detailed below in these NSE Terms of Participation.


A. By the Consortium
Any contracting institution failing to administer its exchange program in accordance with these NSE Terms of Participation and the detailed description of NSE policies and procedures as outlined in the NSE Handbook, or as amended by written agreement with NSE, will not be permitted to renew its NSE membership. Any contracting institution failing to pay membership and student fees when due may have its membership terminated.

B. By the Contracting Institution
The contracting institution may terminate its membership by notifying the NSE Central Office, by January 1, of its intention not to send or receive students for the subsequent academic year. The contracting institution is obligated for full payment of membership fees and student application fees for its last year of NSE participation.

An institution which notifies the NSE Central Office, after student placements have been made at the annual conference in March and prior to July 1, that it intends to phase out its NSE participation during the subsequent academic year is obligated for payment of student application fees and one-half of the annual membership fees for the year the institution phases out its NSE program activities.

Termination of membership by either the consortium or the institution does not abrogate the responsibility of the contracting institution or NSE to provide benefits in accordance with these NSE Terms of Participation for exchanges begun prior to such termination or negotiated prior to the termination of the NSE Membership Agreement.


The National Student Exchange is based on the common trust and good faith of all of its member colleges and universities. The contracting institutions agrees, when it signs the NSE Membership Agreement, to abide by all the policies and procedures of the National Student Exchange as summarized in these NSE Terms of Participation and detailed in the NSE Handbook. In case of disputes, all parties shall seek an amicable resolution. Where that is not possible, any arbitration or litigation shall be resolved by, and enforceable in, the courts of the State of New York.


The National Student Exchange links member colleges and universities in order for them to provide their students with opportunities for exchange to institutions of higher learning in other states or provinces. NSE does not make any warrantee of any kind, expressed or implied, regarding NSE program participation, including the perceived quality of the experiences or services rendered. NSE is not liable to the home institutions, host institutions, or exchange participants for benefits not provided by any of the parties involved. The National Student Exchange assumes no responsibility and disclaims any liability for any injury, loss, damage, or expense (personal, academic, financial, or other) suffered by students by reason of their participation in this program.

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