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FSA Frequently Asked Questions

How much do the seminars cost?

There are three types of costs associated with First-year Seminars Abroad/Away:

  1. Tuition: All students will pay for four credits of UGS 102/105 billed at their normal MSU rate (counted in fall semester).  Credit will count towards their GPA and graduation requirements. The money paid in tuition supports field experiences and books.
  2. Program Fee: The program fee will vary for each seminar and includes orientation, international plane ticket, in-country transport, lodging, and some meals.
  3. Additional costs: These are costs that are not included in the program fee such as the cost of a passport/visa (if needed), as well as spending money for souvenirs and additional meals.

See each webpage for more information about individual seminars.

How does billing work?

MSU sends bills to students electronically through their MSU email system. Bills can be viewed using the Student Information System.

When you apply, MSU bills a $100 application deposit, and once you commit to your participation, MSU bills an additional $200 deposit. This $300 total charge is applied toward your program fee and must be paid in full by the due date. The remaining program fee will be billed in late July at the same time as the fall tuition bill. Tuition for the program may be deferred and paid in installments as with the rest of the fall semester bill.

Are there scholarships and financial aid?

You have the opportunity to apply for scholarships when you apply for the seminar. Many of the scholarships for the seminars require some form of financial need. There are some special scholarships for Honors College students on a first-come, first-awarded basis. These awards are not need-based.

You can also indicate you plan to use financial aid by checking the appropriate box during the application process. Once your application is submitted, the Office for Education Abroad will send cost information to the Office of Financial Aid so it can be included in your financial aid package.

To be considered for a scholarship and/or financial aid, you must have a current FAFSA.

See Costs and Funding for more information.

Who books plane tickets?

You do not need to book your own international plane ticket.  Airfare from MSU to the seminar location is booked for the group by MSU and included as part of the program fee.

However, please note you are responsible for arranging your own transportation to East Lansing for the on-campus orientation, as well as transportation to get home at the end of the program (usually from the Detroit Metropolitan Airport or East Lansing, Michigan).

What about alternative flights?

You must leave MSU and travel as a group to the seminar site, and the MSU group flight will return you to either the MSU campus or the Detroit airport, depending on the program.

Alternative return arrangements might be possible for early applicants depending on the flight contract. To inquire about alternative return routes or additional flight segments, please call the Office for Education Abroad at (517) 353-8920. Note that any additional costs beyond the group flight's price are the student's responsibility.

Is the pre-departure orientation mandatory?

Yes, you must participate in the on-campus pre-departure sessions that begin on the first day listed for each seminar.

It is possible to align MSU's New Student Orientation (NSO) with the FSA orientation. 

Can parents attend orientation?

Although not a requirement or expectation for parents, the first day of orientation is designed for parents and families to learn about the seminar. The parent portion of orientation ends before the meal on the first day.

You will have the opportunity to let the Office for Education Abroad know how many guests you plan to bring along to orientation when you receive your acceptance information.

Where will I stay?

Lodging style depends on the seminar (see the specific webpage for each seminar for more detailed information).  You will stay as a group in close proximity to the faculty and staff.

In general, you will stay in youth hostels, hotels, or university dorms. Access to laundry facilities and the internet is provided unless otherwise noted.

How are meals handled?

All seminars provide at least one meal per day, plus a few additional meals throughout the program. The number of meals provided depends on the exact seminar. See the specific seminar page for more detailed information about meals.

Can special dietary needs be accommodated?

The program faculty and staff will always seek to provide you with a range of food options that can accommodate diverse diets and tastes; however, the specific location—and factors such as housing and host culture—will determine aspects of the foods available.

If you have specific dietary requirements—including food allergies, you should consult with the Office for Education Abroad before orientation. Please note that the longer you wait to make your needs known, the harder they may be to accommodate.

What about guests?

Non-program individuals are not permitted to participate in seminar activities, which include joining meals, field trips, bus trips, etc. and/or staying in the accommodations.

Is there time to visit local family or friends during the seminar?

Helping you make new friends, interact with MSU faculty and staff, and learn to be more independent in preparation for your university experience is a goal of the First-year Seminar program. As such, we ask friends and family to consider limiting their interaction while abroad or away to provide you with the room to focus on the academic experience.

You may visit with local family and friends in your free time. We ask that you notify your program leader in advance, especially if it involves significant time away or distance.  Additional information, such as a contact phone or confirmation from the family will be requested.