Studying Abroad on a Non-Approved Program
Studying abroad on a non-approved program means you will not be studying abroad through any of the programs approved by the University of Colorado. While we encourage you to study abroad, you must be aware of the major differences between studying abroad on a non-approved program and studying abroad through the CU Boulder Study Abroad office.
If you choose to participate in a non-approved study abroad program you will opt-out of the services provided by CU Boulder Study Abroad. Because CU Boulder is not associated with non-approved programs, CU Study Abroad is not able to assist you beyond basic advising on non-approved programs. The services for which you opt-out include but are not limited to: emergency assistance, in-residence credit, oversight of academic content, access to academic advising, coordination of financial aid, and general support before departure and while abroad. For more information, see CU Boulder Programs vs. Non-Approved Programs.
One of the most common reasons that students choose to study abroad on a non-approved program is because they believe that it is a more affordable option; however, this is often not the case. Program costs posted on the CU Study Abroad website may initially appear to be more expensive than many non-approved programs’ costs, but this is because these costs include comprehensive estimates of what students will spend for their entire term abroad and not just a program fee. CU Study Abroad's posted program cost estimates also include round-trip airfare, books, meals, housing, visa fees, personal expenses, etc. When comparing programs offered through CU Study Abroad with non-approved programs, check to see what your non-approved program costs include. Is it just the program fee? If so, calculate in additional out-of-pocket expenses to get an accurate comparison.
Additionally, studying abroad on a non-approved program may cost more because you cannot use your federal, state, or institutional aid. If you are looking for additional aid, you should contact your program about financial aid.
Applying to a Non-Approved Study Abroad Program
You must apply directly through the program sponsor, not the University of Colorado Boulder. However, you must register your program with CU Study Abroad using the button below.
College of Arts & Sciences (A&S) and College of Media, Communication, and Information (CMCI) students:
You must apply to transfer the credit back to CU. This cannot be done until the program is completed and an official transcript is received by the Office of Admissions in Boulder.
A&S students: For additional information about the transfer credit process after you return, please inquire at the main A&S advising office in Woodbury 109.
CMCI students: For additional information about the transfer credit process after you return,, please talk to your CMCI advisor.
Environmental Design, Engineering, Music, Business, Education, or Graduate School students:
Be sure to get advising on the transferability of credit to CU Boulder from your major advisor, your college advisor, and from the Admissions Office before you attend your program.
Assessing a Non-Approved Program
There is no easy way to find out how good a study abroad program is as there is no rating of study abroad programs outside of student reviews.
Programs offered through CU Study Abroad have been approved by the CU Boulder Study Abroad Committee and are specifically designed for the needs of students on the campus. There are too many non-approved programs for CU Study Abroad and the Study Abroad Committee to assess individually, so it is up to you to judge which will be best for you.
The best thing you can do is talk to as many people as possible. Check with campus experts on your country of study, with students who have participated in the program, with a study abroad advisor, and with anyone else you can think of who might know about the program.
As you do research, ask the program sponsor as many questions as possible. Be thorough in your research; you want the program to fit your needs and expectations. Here is a good set of questions to make sure the program meets your needs and your expectations:
- Is the organization granting academic credit accredited? By whom?
- How many students participate in the program each term?
- How many staff are available to assist students?
- Will the organization give me names and addresses of former students for me to contact?
- How is the program fee calculated? Does the literature specify which services are covered, and more importantly, which are not?
- Under what circumstances will fees be refunded in the event I cancel?
- What courses are available? Who teaches them?
- What kind of housing is available?
- Does the program sponsor appear to be a bona fide study abroad organization, or does its major interest appear elsewhere (travel sales, for instance)?
- Is a comprehensive orientation program provided for student participants?
- What procedures are in place to provide a safe and healthy environment for the program? Have provisions been made to provide medical care in case it is needed?
Finding a Non-Approved Program
- Institute for International Education: search 5,000 program listings for learning opportunities matching your needs and interests.
- StudyAbroad.Com: listings for thousands of study abroad programs in more than 100 countries.
- GoAbroad.com: a comprehensive on-line source for study abroad, language schools, internships, international volunteer positions, teach abroad, jobs abroad, etc.
- Mobility International USA: International opportunities for people with disabilities.
- Erasmus Student Network: a European student organization which aims to help all exchange students who want to study in Europe.
- Worldwide Classroom: a list of foreign-run programs, organized by country, and a planning guide covering academic, cultural and practical issues.
- Go Overseas: A community-driven platform for every study, intern, volunteer, teach, language school and gap year program abroad. Read peer reviews, location guides, helpful articles and much more!