Developing Program Fees
Faculty-Led Program Fees can be divided into 3 general areas:
- Tuition for FLSA course credits
- International Program Fee
- Student Expenses: airfare, personal spending, passport/visa and miscellaneous
Individual FLSA courses are generally offered for 2 to 4 credits. Credit hours are generally calculated at 15 hours per credit for direct classroom instruction and 100 hours minimum per credit hour of lab/excursion activities. Credit should not include travel time to/from a program destination.
- Tuition rates for the credits associated with the FLSA program are determined annually by the NMU Board of Trustees.
- Courses registered in the fall or winter semester are included in the banded tuition scheme if they fall within the range of 12-18 credit hours; students are charged an additional per-credit rate for credits taken above the 18-hour limit. Courses registered in the summer semester are charged per credit hour.
- Tuition for courses taught by NMU instructors are determined by negotiated contract rates; courses must meet minimum enrollment as determined by academic department heads and/or deans.
- Courses taught in full by host-institution instructors may be paid through tuition fees collected by NMU up to the NMU tuition rate established by the NMU Board of Trustees. For example: A FLSA program may include a 4-credit course taught by NMU faculty and another 4-credit course taught by host institution instructors. Students will be registered for both courses, for a total of 8 credit hours: 4 at the resident rate and 4 at an extension/distance campus rate. NMU will collect tuition for both courses at the published NMU rate for resident and extension courses and forward payment per invoice for instruction delivered at the host institution.
- Under no circumstance will an NMU student pay less than NMU-published tuition rates for course credits earned as part of the FLSA program. Likewise, if the host institution fee for instruction exceeds the published NMU tuition rates, the student is liable for the additional amount associated with those credits.
- Students will pay tuition by deadlines established by the NMU Board of Trustees. Late payment fees may apply. Non-payment will result in a financial hold on the student’s account and may impact registration, completion of degree, and/or financial aid arrangements for the next semester of enrollment.
- Payment plans may be used for tuition associated with an approved FLSA course, however, the international program fee is on a schedule determined by the IPO account manager.
International Program Fee
- The program fee and related budget are developed by the faculty leader in partnership with assigned IPO staff, and are approved by the Director of International Programs.
- Each FLSA program has an individual account/organization number assigned by the NMU Controller’s office and managed by the Director of International Programs. The coordinator responsible for managing FLSA programs is assigned “delegate” permissions in CONCUR for access to faculty leader settlements associated with the FLSA account.
- The IPO is responsible for establishing a schedule for student payment and for monitoring the collection of student fees. Faculty members should disclose the range of estimated fees as determined by IPO. (See note below.)
- Individual student fees are paid at the Student Service Center using deposit slips and a schedule assigned by the IPO. Under no circumstance is the faculty leader to collect fees on behalf of student participants.
- All pre-arranged vendor payments must be processed through the IPO. Contracts and other written service commitments must be organized through the IPO, with review and final signature by appropriate designated university personnel (generally in the office of Vice President of Finance).
- Expenditures made on-site must fall within the established budget; approval for additional expenses may be requested from IPO staff throughout the travel period. Unauthorized expenditures in excess of the established budget may be charged against the leader’s department/unit at the time of account reconciliation.
In addition to program logistics such as student housing, meals, local transportation, etc., the international program fee may include estimated line items for:
- International group flight (See note below)
- Welcome/Farewell group meals
- Entry/exit fees and approved baggage fees
- Pre-departure visa fees
- Print advertising/recruitment
- First aid supplies
- International Health Insurance
- Tips and other gratuities
- Honoraria for guest lecturers, translators, guides
- Credit card, postage and wire transfer fees
- Uniform study abroad charge, approved by the NMU Board of Trustees, supporting risk management practices
- Faculty expenses, including local arrangements, international airfare, personal mileage to/from official program site of departure, and per diem for meals
Unauthorized expenses include, but are not limited to:
- Travel costs of authorized dependents (See policy statement, “Volunteers and Non-Participating Family Members.”)
- Personal spending
- Personal travel outside official program dates
- Purchases of alcohol
The total estimated budget is divided by the projected number of student participants to establish a per-student international program fee. This fee is published on the IPO website and related recruitment flyers. It is forwarded to the Financial Aid office for use in calculating individual student eligibility. The Financial Aid office may also consider related expenses such as individual airfare, immigration and passport fees, personal spending allowance, etc., as part of the total cost of attendance for the FLSA course/program.
Whenever possible, IPO publishes the international program as a range of estimated expenses, in order to address fluctuations in currency exchange, higher end-costs such as airline fees, etc. The IPO budget also includes a contingency fee determined as a percentage of the full budget. It is difficult to alter published fees, thus it is very important to work with IPO staff to develop an accurate budget well in advance of student recruitment and enrollment.
Although international airfare is not always included in the program fee, it is important to provide an estimate for students. Some general advice applies:
- Students may find great deals through student-discounted travel sites such as STA Travel, Student University, etc. They may also take advantage of travel premiums such as ‘frequent flyer’ miles. However…
- Cheapest is not always best. Cheap tickets often carry multiple restrictions and may require numerous connections and long layovers. In addition, some budget tickets involve multiple carriers which may or may not be obligated to honor delays and cancelations with one another.
Group Flights: In some circumstances, factors such as security, immigration regulations, or airport transfers dictate the arrangement of a single group flight. IPO makes every effort to purchase flights at the lowest possible cost, recognizing that for some departure sites, destinations and/or program dates, it is not feasible to accept bids from the lowest-fee carrier.
In all cases, the faculty leader must communicate clear directions for reaching the pre-arranged meeting point (airport, hotel, airport shuttle service, train station, etc.) Students who travel independently should be prepared to communicate delays to you or to the receiving institution, by phone or e-mail.
Passport and Visa Fees
Passports are required for all international travel. Some countries also mandate a passport must be valid for at least six months after the dates of travel. Host countries may also require entry visas specific to the purpose of your travel. Such visas may be granted upon arrival through the host immigration point, or may be required in advance through applications at a US-based embassy or consulate. The IPO cannot be responsible for detailed advising on regulations for each host country but can serve as a useful resource for connecting travelers to US-based embassies or visa-service providers, such as Travisa. All immigration costs are covered by the student. Be aware that non-US citizens may have different visa restrictions/requirements than those required of US citizens.
Financial Aid and the Faculty-Led Study Abroad
- Students may apply most forms of financial aid toward the cost of attendance associated with the FLSA course. The IPO provides the financial aid office with a cost-of-attendance budget that includes the international program fee, NMU tuition for the FLSA course(s) and related expenses such as airfare, passport and visa fees, and weekly spending allowance. The assigned financial aid officer may be invited to make a presentation to the FLSA participants early in the planning stages.
- It is the student’s responsibility to complete procedures to establish financial aid eligibility (Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA) and to apply for aid in the semester related to the FLSA course. The student should plan to complete an individual appointment with the financial aid officer assigned to short-term study abroad programs.
- Students are encouraged to consider financial aid early in the FLSA planning process. Applications for summer aid are made separate from fall/winter aid cycles, and are available generally at the time of spring break.
Cancelation and Refund Policy
- Admitted students will be issued a payment schedule and instructions on making payments through the Student Service Center, using the org/account number assigned to your FLSA program.
- A confirmation deposit is required to secure the student’s commitment to participate. Students are informed that all international program fees are non-refundable after the commitment deadline has passed.
- Individual exceptions may be made by the IPO with proof of illness, injury, or other extenuating factors.
- Full refunds of all deposits will be made if the IPO cancels the program for reasons including under-enrollment, natural disaster, government-issued travel warnings, etc.
- Tuition payment for credits associated with the FLSA are governed by the same policies established for on-campus courses with one exception: Students are informed in an admission letter that tuition will be applied to their student receivables account regardless of whether they drop the course after the deposit deadlines or during travel. Students have been known to drop the course once travel has begun, a practice which results in reduced funds to meet the instructor’s contracted pay scale.
Student Finances Abroad
- Your FLSA students will use ATM and credit cards for most of their personal spending. Traveler’s checks are not accepted in most smaller cities but may provide a useful back-up source of funds. Encourage students to travel with a small cash reserve to cover unanticipated delays and expenditures.
- The IPO addresses personal financial management online and during pre-departure orientation, but you may want to emphasize basic financial stewardship during your on-site student orientation. Encourage your students to budget and to protect their cash. Credit cards are convenient, but they carry high interest rates, making on-site purchases more expensive than they may seem at first glance. Tutor your students in safe use of ATMs – especially in popular tourist areas, and be aware that not all ATMs are keyed for international transactions. Students should be guided toward ATMs located inside a bank or other protected areas.
- Under normal circumstances, you should not loan money to students, but in the event of an emergency – due to theft or misplaced belongings – a small loan of up to $100 may be issued from contingency funds in your FLSA budget. You will, of course, want to help the student to report any losses, including credit card or identify theft, to the local authorities and to the sponsoring bank/credit institution.