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The National Student Exchange has established a basic framework of policies to which all member campuses are subject. Within that framework, each campus determines its own working parameters, procedures and timetable for the program. The campus also sets its own policies relating to student participation. Each campus has an NSE coordinator who is responsible for administering the NSE program at that campus. He or she is the best source of advice about the NSE program as it relates to your participation from your campus.

Information specific to member campuses can be found in the NSE Directory, a publication available from your campus NSE coordinator. In the campus description section of the Directory you will find summary information on each NSE member. Exceptions, special conditions, or additional requirements affecting incoming students are included under the heading "Limitations."

"The National Student Exchange offers the perfect opportunity to explore different parts of the country, discover new cultures and meet scores of wonderful new people all the while working toward your degree. This is a chance to travel to, and live in, a part of the country you have always wanted to see. This program offers so much more than just a change of campus scenery. Carpe Diem!"

Erika Baurecht
University of New Mexico
to North Carolina State University


NSE participation is a privilege, not a right. Listed below are the minimal requirements for NSE participation. All of these requirements are applicable at the time of application and at the completion of the term prior to your exchange.

  • full-time enrollment at your home campus
  • minimum home campus cumulative gpa of 2.5 (4.0 scale)
  • good academic standing as defined by your home institution
  • no incomplete grades from previous terms
  • no current or pending probationary status due to academic dishonesty or misconduct
  • no outstanding financial obligations to your home institution
  • no current or pending probationary or disciplinary action for violation of codes of student conduct
  • must not be on probation, parole, or have any pending legal judgments
Note: If your gpa for the term preceeding exchange falls below a 2.5, your exchange may be subject to cancellation by your home coordinator even though your overall gpa remains at a cumulative 2.5 or greater.

Your home campus NSE coordinator will make the final determination regarding your eligibility as well as select those applicants who will participate from your campus. Therefore, you must also meet any requirements or qualifications which may be imposed by your home campus. Also, consult the campus narratives in the Directory for campus-specific exchange limitations and restrictions which apply to incoming exchange students at the universities you are considering for exchange.


With the exception of campuses in Puerto Rico and Quebec, the language of instruction is English. Students for whom English is not their first language must demonstrate English language proficiency as part of the home campus application process. TOEFL, MELAB, IELTS, or other language tests may also be required by some host campuses for students whose first language is not English.

The language of instruction at all NSE campuses in Puerto Rico is Spanish. Students must be able to read textbooks, understand lectures, take part in classroom discussions, do written work, and take examinations in Spanish. You must demonstrate Spanish language proficiency as part of your home institutionís application process.

The language of instruction at the Universite du Quebec a' Montreal and Universite de Sherbrooke is French. Students must be able to read textbooks, understand lectures, take part in classroom discussions, do written work, and take examinations in French. You must demonstrate French language proficiency as part of your home institutionís application process. Following placement, you may also be requested to complete a language placement test.


Questions below are designed as a self-assessment guide. If your answer to any of these questions is YES, you must consider if the environment and support services at your prospective host campus will be able to meet your special needs. Your home campus coordinator is better able to assist you if advised of your needs during the application process.

  • Do you have a medical condition which might require immediate medical attention during your exchange?
  • Do you have any conditions which may affect your emotional or mental well-being during exchange?
  • Do you have any physical conditions or mobility issues for which you will need accessible on-campus housing and/or classroom accommodation?
  • Do you have any documented disability which may require academic accommodation (e.g., note takers, taped texts) during your exchange?
If you choose not to disclose your needs during the application process, self-identification and documentation following placement (and at least two months prior to your actual exchange) is necessary in order for your host institution to address your needs. Documentation must be written, current, prepared by a qualified professional, and in the manner and time period required by the host institution. Consult home and host campus disability service coordinators for additional information. Failure to provide appropriate documentation in the manner and time requested may mean that needed services will not be available.


Semester means that the academic year is divided into two equal terms or sessions. Quarter means that the calendar year is divided into four equal sessions with fall, winter, and spring making up an academic year which is the equivalent of two semesters. Quarter credit hours generally earn one-third less value than semester credit hours. Conversely, semester hours generally earn one-third more value than quarter hours. Member campuses vary in the way that credit conversions are made between these two calendars.

If you are considering exchanging to a campus that has a calendar different from your own, an exchange for the full academic year is recommended. Students who exchange for less than a full academic year from a campus on the semester calendar to one on the quarter calendar, or vice-versa, may not be able to maintain normal progress toward their degree objectives, may encounter difficulty with timely disbursement of financial aid, and may have difficulty in adjusting to the change of calendar. It is important to discuss this matter with your NSE coordinator and academic advisor during the application process.


Searching for a campus which offers courses or programs of interest and/or need takes a bit of detective work. A listing of all undergraduate majors that are offered by, and open to, NSE students is available on this web site under Resources. Programs of study listed at this site represent a generic classification of the multitude of undergraduate majors available at National Student Exchange member colleges and universities. As you search for a particular major, you will want to also examine those that may have some relationship to yours since your major may be called by a different name at another institution. It is also possible that schools may offer courses you need in your major even though they do not have the major. Consult the appropriate college catalog for complete program details. Links to the campus catalogs of NSE member colleges and universities are available at Resources, Campus Catalogs.


Not all academic programs at NSE member colleges and universities are available to NSE students. Also, some programs which are available may be highly competitive, limited at upper-division levels, or restricted in other ways. Some NSE campuses may limit the number of students accepted in these fields; some require a higher grade point average than required for general NSE participation; while others may require additional information (e.g., performing arts audition or studio art portfolio) for participation in the program. For information on closed, limited, and restricted courses and programs, look at the campus narratives in the Directory.


If you are enrolled in a program on your home campus which has program-specific accreditation, check with your home campus advisor to determine if your exchange work in your major must also be completed at a program which is similarly accredited. If so, it is your responsibility to identify an exchange site which meets that requirement. Your home campus department should have access to a list of accredited programs in your major.


Even though a program or major is listed as offered by a member university, it does not mean that all courses are offered every term or every year. Course enrollment is based on offerings and availability and cannot be guaranteed. You must meet all course pre-requisites and/or co-requisites as required by your host campus. A flexible academic program is a must. If you are dependent upon a specific course or courses in order to maintain academic progress, you are advised to remain at your home campus.


Your home campus determines the manner in which host campus grades are recorded and courses distributed. Consult with your home campus NSE coordinator and academic advisor for details of the policy for your campus. Prior to exchange you must develop a written advising agreement with the assistance of your academic advisor and your home NSE coordinator in order to identify how courses satisfactorily completed at your host university will be applied to your home campus degree program.


Your eligible time for exchange may include exchange to more than one NSE campus, may cross two or more calendar years, or may involve exchange from more than one home institution. No matter the mix of home campuses, host campuses or time away, you may only participate in the exchange for a cumulative total of time not to exceed one calendar year, defined as an academic year and a summer session. Not all campuses, however, can accommodate summer exchange. See the side bar information of the campus narratives in the Directory for individual campus policies regarding summer.


Most NSE members have on-campus housing, but availability to NSE students is not guaranteed. Some NSE members may require or strongly encourage students to reside in on-campus facilities. Other campuses have no on-campus housing. If you live off campus, you do so at your own discretion and risk.


NSE does not require and does not provide health insurance for exchange students. It is your responsibility, therefore, to ensure that you are adequately covered by health insurance and other insurance for the period and place of your exchange including travel between your home and host institutions. Some NSE member campuses will require proof that you have adequate health insurance, and a few will require that you purchase their health insurance regardless of whatever policy of your own may be in effect.


Your permission to enroll in distance education offerings (which include, but are not limited to: Internet courses, televised courses, or correspondence courses) at your home and/or host campus at the same time you participate in the NSE program can only be determined by both of the individual institutions involved. Factors involved in such determination include, but are not limited to: the number of hours for which you are enrolled in distance courses, the number of hours you are enrolled in classroom instruction, the source of your financial aid, the NSE requirement for full-time enrollment at your host campus, and the interpretation of such requirement as it relates to classroom vs. distance instruction by the respective campuses and the respective financial aid officers.

Some NSE host campuses do not permit enrollment in distance education classes while on exchange; and others may not have such restrictions. Where there are no restrictions, be aware that, in most cases, distance education is not usually covered under Plan A tuition and may not be covered under Plan B. In other words, if you do enroll in distance education courses, you are likely to incur costs over and above those that are normally included in NSE participation. Your enrollment in distance education may impact your full-time enrollment status relative to the NSE program. As such it could affect your financial aid and/or ability to reside in on-campus housing at your host campus.

The premise of NSE is that a major benefit of being on exchange is to be fully immersed in the culture and activities of the host campus. Distance education courses can have the effect of reducing your interaction with the native population and culture of the host campus. If you have permission to take distance education courses, they should be credits over and above a full-time classroom load. NSE discourages the use of distance education courses in lieu of a full-time enrollment status on the host campus.


Due to the rules and regulations of the NCAA and the NAIA, it is unlikely that NSE students can qualify to participate in intercollegiate athletics while on exchange to their host universities. This applies to all divisions of menís and womenís athletics. Consult the athletic compliance officer on your campus for additional information.


You are encouraged to select colleges and universities which will provide learning opportunities that will supplement and complement those of your home institution and assist you in reaching your educational goals. You are also encouraged to select campuses that will stimulate personal growth and development and allow you to experience the educational, geographic, and cultural diversity found among NSEís members. Carefully consider the answers to the following questions:

  • What do I hope to gain from the exchange experience, both educationally and personally?
  • Do I have a flexible academic plan for exchange? (NOTE: If you are dependent on a specific course or courses for graduation, exchange may not be appropriate. Registration in host campus courses is based on offerings and availability and cannot be guaranteed.)
  • Has my academic advisor approved the appropriateness, timing, and location for my exchange?
  • Can my objectives be accomplished at the host campus?
  • Does the host campus offer access to adequate courses for maintenance of academic progress?
  • Will participating in the exchange delay graduation?
  • How will specialized or unique course offerings at the host campus enhance my academic program and career objectives?
  • Is the host campus sufficiently different from the home campus to make it an interesting exchange option?
  • Will the time I have allowed for exchange give me sufficient opportunity to become acquainted with my new academic environment as well as the region, its people, and its culture? (NOTE: Whenever possible, NSE students are encouraged to exchange for a full academic year.)
  • Are my financial resources sufficient to cover the cost of tuition and fees; room and meals; as well as transportation, travel, and other personal expenses at the host campus?

"For me the NSE program was a life-changing and liberating experience. I not only discovered a different culture in the south, I found out a lot about myself along the way. I feel more independent now that I have gone through this experience; and no challenge seems too big."

Jacqueline Buinicki
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
to the College of Charleston

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