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COVID-19: Latest Updates for Education Abroad

For the latest university-wide information, please visit the MSU Coronavirus website.

MSU has established a COVID-19 Taskforce that carefully reviews the situation country by country on a daily basis, using the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. Department of State (DOS), and local public health agencies for guidance. Members of the taskforce include the Office for Education Abroad, the Office of International Health and Safety, the Office of the University Physician, MSU Police, Student Affairs and Services, and many other campus units.

Program suspensions are generally prompted by:

  • CDC travel health notices and DOS travel advisory levels
  • Quality and reliability of the local health system
  • Availability of COVID-19 test kits
  • Rate of and outlook for community spread
  • Timeline and intensity of increases in numbers of cases
  • Impact on transportation networks
  • Guidance from local public health agencies
  • Entry and travel restrictions

Effective March 12, MSU has suspended all academic year 2019-20, spring 2020 and summer 2020 education abroad programs. This suspension applies to all programs, including students participating in non-MSU education abroad programs. It also applies to all 2020 First-Year Seminars Abroad. The Office for Education Abroad is communicating directly with all impacted students, program directors, and partners. Students currently abroad have been advised to depart for the U.S. immediately and no later than Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)


I am currently abroad for spring semester and don’t want to leave. Do I have to return?


Yes. There are no provisions for students to remain abroad during this suspension. All students must depart for the United States by March 17, 2020. Host institutions have been made aware of program suspensions and are directing students to follow MSU’s instructions.

Will I have to be quarantined when I return from my spring semester abroad?

The Office for Education Abroad is not qualified to provide medical guidance, however, students returning to the United States from a spring semester abroad should prepare for screenings upon arrival in the U.S. by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and/or the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) including, but not limited to, a temperature check, review of destinations visited, interactions with locals, etc.

Students are encouraged to follow CDC guidance for travelers returning to the U.S. and to contact the Ingham County Public Health Department or their local public health department should they have further questions.

For more information, review the CDC Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) webpage or the CDC Travel Health Notice relevant to your destination.

What will happen with my coursework?

MSU is working with host institutions and other academic partners to assist spring semester students who were unable to complete coursework on-site. Once we have this information, we will let the sponsoring MSU colleges know so that they can begin working with students on supplementing spring semester credits as needed.

For students enrolled in summer programs, it is your responsibility to withdraw from any MSU courses you’ve enrolled in for the education abroad program.

Will I get a refund?

Spring Semester Participants

Program fee refunds are currently being determined for spring semester students and will be communicated as soon as possible.

Refunds for air transportation are subject to the rules and regulations of the appropriate airline or travel agency. If you incur a flight change fee to book your flight home as a result of a suspension, you can submit a receipt with flight itinerary to Elizabeth Wandschneider for reimbursement.

Students who received a scholarship from the Office for Education Abroad will be permitted to retain those funds. Scholarships awarded by other individuals will be depend on the sponsoring MSU department or unit as to whether students can keep those awards.

Summer Participants

The $100 application fee and $200 confirmation deposit (if applicable) will be refunded to students enrolled in summer 2020 programs. All refunds will be processed through your MSU student account.

Refunds for air transportation are subject to the rules and regulations of the appropriate airline or travel agency.

Is there available on-campus housing when I return from my spring semester abroad?

Students are expected to return to their permanent place of residence upon arrival back in the United States.  For those unable to return to their permanent place of residence, MSU’s Residential and Hospitality Services (RHS) will work with students to secure housing; however, they should be prepared for financial responsibility of housing contracts.

My summer program doesn’t take place until July or August. Is it possible the suspension would be lifted?

No.  All summer programs and First-Year Seminars Abroad are suspended for 2020 regardless of their travel dates and will not be reevaluated.

Are fall semester education abroad programs running?

Yes.  All fall semester 2020 programs are proceeding as planned. 

However, due to their travel dates in July and August, the 2020 First-Year Seminars Abroad will NOT take place and are included in the suspension.

 

If you have further questions, please email the Office for Education Abroad.  We understand this news may come as a disappointment to you, but please know the decision was made with the greatest care for your health, well-being and safety. 

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