CGIS and the University of Michigan continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation as it develops worldwide. This is a very rapidly evolving situation and CGIS staff will communicate any and all updates directly to students as they become available. Parents and other concerned parties who would like to receive this information should ask their students to share the updates with them. For students whose studies overseas are interrupted, CGIS and academic advisors at U-M will work with students on a case by case basis to determine if options might be available to complete their coursework or earn academic credit for the winter term. Students on CGIS programs worldwide are advised to continue to closely monitor the latest developments, and to adhere to any national and international public health directives issued by their host country or institution.
For other updates and FAQs, visit the Vice President for Communications website.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding cancelation of UM study abroad programs
Thursday, August 27, 2020 Update
1. How is the University of Michigan monitoring the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation worldwide?
- The Center for Global and Intercultural Study (CGIS) works closely with U-M’s International Travel Oversight Committee (ITOC), which monitors guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of State, the World Health Organization (WHO) and a number of other national and international public health organizations.
- For more information about U-M’s continued response to COVID-19, please visit the U-M Coronavirus website and the FAQ specifically dedicated to international travel.
2. What is the current status of Fall 2020 study abroad programs?
- Currently all countries outside of the United States are under a U-M Travel Restriction until further notice. U-M Travel Restrictions prohibit undergraduate travel on U-M related business, and thus all fall 2020 study abroad programs have been cancelled.
3. What is the current status of Winter 2021 study abroad programs?
While Winter 2021 applications are currently open, there is a strong possibility that some or all CGIS programs will be cancelled in the coming months due to Covid-19. We continue to monitor the situation in all of our program locations to assess the feasibility for our programs to run within the necessary parameters of health, safety, student support and academic quality that we require.
UM/LSA leadership have determined that we will decide by October 1, 2020, on whether or not CGIS programs will run for the winter term. Note that even if programs/travel are allowed to run at that point, they may be cancelled at a later date if the situation worsens.
- Due to this, CGIS highly recommends applicants consider back-up options for Winter 2021 classes at U-M. We also strongly discourage students from purchasing plane tickets or incurring financial obligations related to travel until more information is known.
4. Will my spring or summer 2021 program still run?
- At this time, we anticipate that spring and summer 2021 programs will run. This is, however, subject to change due to the evolving situation. Please pay close attention to communications from CGIS and to University-wide emails regarding international travel. More information will be shared to impacted students as it becomes available.
5. How will my experience be different because of Covid-19? What onsite changes have been made because of the pandemic?
- We advise you to think about how the program may be adjusting to the demands of life during the coronavirus pandemic. Some programmatic aspects that may have been adapted include housing options, local excursions, regional and international travel associated with the program, teaching modalities (in person, remote and/or hybrid), and limitations placed on personal travel during free time. We encourage you to discuss any questions you have with a representative from your host organization.
6. With COVID-19 still escalating, should I even apply to a Winter or Sp/Su 2021 CGIS program?
While this decision ultimately must be made by each individual student, we encourage all students to apply since program commitments are not due until September (Winter 2021) or January (Sp/Su 2021).
U-M will continue to monitor the safety of our programs and the locations in which they take place worldwide. UM/LSA leadership have determined that we will decide by October 1, 2020, whether winter term abroad programs will run.
For this reason we strongly encourage students to have a back-up plan for winter or spring/summer 2021 if study abroad is not an option.
7. Whom will CGIS contact with updates relating to future study abroad programs?
- CGIS will contact students who have opened or submitted an application to a CGIS program if and when updates are available. Parents and other concerned parties who would like to receive this information should ask their students to share the updates with them.
8. I am traveling abroad for personal reasons. Do I need to register my travel with U-M? Can I purchase international health insurance coverage?
- While not required, we strongly encouraged all students traveling internationally to register their travel in M-Compass. International Travel Insurance (GeoBlue) can be purchased for $1.23/day, even for personal travel.
9. Who can I contact about study abroad and the coronavirus situation?
- Students should email CGIS Health & Safety Advisor, Rachel Reuter, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Members of the media should contact U-M Office of Public Affairs
April 2020 Update
We realize that these circumstances are stressful and present a number of uncertainties. Please know that LSA and CGIS are committed to supporting you through the steps ahead.
Which countries have CGIS programs that have been officially cancelled and placed under the U-M Travel Restriction?
- All programs
Spring Summer 2020
- All Programs
Winter 2020 Programs
My U-M study abroad program was canceled during the Winter 2020 term. Will I get a tuition refund?
Per University of Michigan Office of the Registrar: Similar to on-campus residential courses, the university is making every effort to help you complete your winter study abroad courses through alternative modes of instruction. In most cases, you will be able earn full credit for the semester and stay on track for graduation, so no tuition refunds will be offered.
We understand that there may be programs where some (or all) courses cannot be completed remotely. In these situations, you may be eligible for a prorated tuition refund based on the number of credits that were available remotely. The U-M’s ability to provide refunds will depend on whether your program charged U-M tuition or paid tuition to a host institution or provider organization. For programs that charged U-M tuition, refunds will be issued to your student account. Refunds for programs that were run through an external organization will follow that organization’s refund policies. While we cannot guarantee any particular outcome or result, U-M may be able to assist you in requesting refunds from external organizations. Please contact your U-M study abroad office for more details about your particular program.
I incurred unanticipated expenses related to my U-M study abroad program cancellation. Can I be reimbursed for these expenses?
Per University of Michigan Office of the Registrar: Reimbursements for unanticipated expenses (e.g. flight change fees) will be based on financial need and the availability of U-M funds. Students currently receiving financial aid should work with their U-M education abroad office and OFA to determine what funding may be available. Students who are not currently receiving financial aid, but face significant financial hardship due to their program cancelation and associated travel home should also contact their U-M education abroad office. In these situations, the university will determine if emergency funds can be provided on a case-by-case basis.
Students who rented living accommodations abroad are encouraged to communicate directly with their property owners/landlords to inquire about possible refunds for study abroad housing, with the understanding that refunds may not be allowable under the terms of their respective rental/leasing agreements or arrangements.
CGIS refunded the U-M Travel Abroad Health Insurance (GeoBlue) in full.
When is the last day I can request to drop a course from my official UM transcript?
Students can now drop a course up until the last day of their host institution’s class. They can do this by filling out the CGIS Winter 2020 Course Withdrawal Form. Please note that students may be asked to submit updated syllabus and/or communication from the host institution confirming the last day of that specific class.
How does the grading process work, taking into consideration the UM Winter 2020 grading policy AND my study abroad institution’s grading policy?
UM Winter 2020 Policy: Students will receive either "Pass (P)," or "No Record Covid (NRC)" on their official transcripts in lieu of letter grades. Students can request the grading basis be changed back to letter grades on their official transcripts. Requests must be made no later than July 1, 2020.
Courses that have a special grading basis like mandatory Credit/No Credit, mandatory Pass/Fail, or Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory will not use the “P” or “NRC” grades. They will continue to use the originally specified grading basis.
CGIS Winter 2020 Policy: CGIS will honor the “P/NRC” University grading policy. Considering the transcript processing time for study abroad programs, CGIS is working with the Registrar to determine a mechanism and date to make letter grade reveal requests and will send an email update accordingly.
Processing host institution transcripts: If the transcript reports Pass/Fail, CGIS records that. If the transcript reports Credit/No-credit, CGIS records that. If the transcript reports a letter grade, CGIS will refer to UM's Pass/No Record Covid for this semester.
NOTE: Many partner institutions abroad have changed to a Pass/Fail or Credit/No-Credit system. Therefore, students who prefer to reveal their letter grades but did not receive letter grades on their study abroad transcript may need to speak to their program abroad and request an updated transcript.
Will students be given the opportunity to go abroad in the future under this same application and what accommodations can be made by CGIS?
Winter 2020 students are welcome to go abroad again. Please email a CGIS advisor directly or email@example.com to express your interest. In some cases MCompass application materials and requirements may be reused. If a student wants to go abroad on the same program, CGIS and the student will need to work with the partner abroad about reusing the same application materials. Repeating a program will depend on the course availability of the program and academic goals of the student.
Winter 2021 applications are now open on MCompass. If students want to go abroad again, they’re encouraged to start an application. Students should email their CGIS advisor about reusing MCompass application materials. Winter 2020 students who were confirmed on their programs will be exempt from attending the CGIS General Orientation, but will still be required to attend the program-specific orientation.
Will we be part of promoting the CGIS program we participated in when classes resume on campus?
CGIS Alumnx are welcomed and encouraged to participate in a variety of ways. Since the Fall 2020 semester may look different on campus, the promotional activities may look different compared to previous years. If you are interested in promoting your program, please reach out to your CGIS advisor or firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line, “CGIS Alumnx Opportunities.”
Do I still have to complete my LSA Study Abroad Scholarship Requirement?
Students who received the LSA Study Abroad Scholarship for the Winter 2020 term have met all their award requirements and have no further obligations.
I’m a spring/summer student who’s paid a program deposit directly to the on-site partner. Can I get it back?
- Many of our partners are refunding program deposits for students whose universities have issued a travel restriction. Contact the on-site partner directly, and if you are having difficulty, contact your CGIS advisor.
Changing or cancelling my flight has put me in a financially difficult situation. What should I do?
- If you receive financial aid, contact email@example.com to determine if they can provide additional support.
- Otherwise please contact Rachel Reuter (firstname.lastname@example.org), who is coordinating a list of students that have incurred unforeseen expenses and will be working with the College of LSA to provide emergency funds.
I wanted to use this program towards core academic requirements. What should I do?
- Please be in close contact with your academic advisor regarding alternatives (spring/summer courses on campus, transferring credit from a community college, going abroad in a future year, etc). CGIS will keep you updated regarding any unique solutions the University proposes.
Will my application be given preference if I apply again next year?
We’re asking that students reapply if they’d like to go abroad next year. Applications for spring/summer should open in October. Once they open, you can reach out to the advisor in question to see if you can reuse any materials in next year’s application, but we can’t guarantee preference at this time. We strongly encourage students to reapply.
What happens to my already funded scholarship?
Students may be required to pay back any financial aid and scholarships received for the program. However, students should work closely with the Office of Financial Aid and the LSA Scholarships Office to determine whether any expenses they have already incurred can still be covered (flights, housing deposits, etc). The offices may ask for an itemization of expenses, and will evaluate on a case-by-case basis.
What if I already booked my ticket?
You should work with your airline to determine if a refund is possible due to the special circumstances. If your ticket was booked within the past 24 hours, you should be able to cancel online. If some of the expense is non-recoverable, aid recipients should work with the Office of Financial Aid to determine if coverage is still possible.
March 2020 Update
CGIS Recommendations as of March 2, 2020:
Begin to research your airline’s policies on flight changes in light of the rapidly changing situation with COVID-19. Are they waiving change fees? Have flight schedules been reduced?
Connect with your program’s on-site staff to discuss contingency plans for the following situations:
If classes were to be cancelled temporarily
If the program were to be cancelled for the remainder of the term
Any other potential or foreseen impacts of COVID-19 in your current local context (e.g. under what circumstances can you remain in program housing? have any programmed excursions been canceled or changed? are there any restrictions on non-program travel?)
Consider cancelling or postponing extracurricular travel outside of your host city and/or country, as countries’ reactions to the outbreak are changing rapidly and could result in you being denied entry, forced to undergo observation, or be quarantined (if you show symptoms of illness, for example)
To reiterate our advice from last week’s email:
Register with the U.S. State Department STEP program. This tells the local embassy/consulate that you're in-country and you'll receive relevant updates via email.
Check the CGIS website for the latest health and safety alerts.
Carefully monitor local and national news when planning personal travel. If you have recently traveled to the Lombardy or Venetia regions in Italy, please follow your host institution guidelines for monitoring your health and report it to me.
Follow the guidelines from the World Health Organization to protect yourself and others.
Cancelation of programs:
CGIS and the University of Michigan continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation. At this time, CGIS has cancelled all of its winter programs in China, South Korea, and Italy. This continues to be a rapidly evolving situation, however, and further cancelations may be announced.
CGIS staff will communicate all updates directly to students; parents and other concerned parties who would like to receive this information should ask their students to share the updates with them.
For programs that are cancelled or interrupted, CGIS and academic advisors at U-M will work with students on a case by case basis to determine if options might be available to complete their coursework remotely or otherwise earn academic credit for the winter term.
Answers to frequently asked questions:
Please see our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below.
In general, program cancelations and required return to the US occur when the US State Department or CDC issues a Level 3 travel warning at the country or region level, recommending that non-essential travel to a specific destination be avoided.
Whether you choose to come home voluntarily OR are required by CGIS, UM, or your program to return, the possibility of earning credit depends on your host institution and whether or not they have the capacity to let students finish the semester remotely.
We will continue to monitor the situation and be in touch as new information becomes available. We understand that the unpredictability around this situation is stressful. If you would like to connect with a mental health professional, CGIS can help you access appropriate resources.
External resources regarding COVID-19
COVID-19 RESOURCES (H&S Specific)
- U.S. Department of State COVID-19 Country Specific Information
- Travel and Social Impact Tracker (Deloitte)
- Global COVID-19 Trends from Johns Hopkins University
- European Center for Disease Control and Prevention
- World Health Organization
- International Air Transport Association
- DTW COVID-19 Updates
- Transportation Security Authority Updates on Covid-19
- Conlin Travel: Blue Skies Ahead
- Flying Was Once Routine. During the Pandemic, It’s a Feat.
- Where Can US Citizens Travel to During the Coronavirus Pandemic
- The Future of Travel