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Program Assessment

Assessment of Education Abroad Programs

Education Abroad regularly assesses its programs to ensure that they meet the standards of CU Boulder in regard to academics, student support, educational outcomes, health and safety, and overall quality of the experience. Education Abroad does so via student evaluations, on-site assessment, communication with partners and students, and more.

To support international activities and to address and minimize health, safety, and other risk issues for the university, CU Boulder has established the Policy on Student International Travel and Programs.  Education Abroad adheres to this policy in its risk assessment of approved programs and has developed processes based on this policy to determine when to run or suspend its programs.

How does Education Abroad assess health, safety, and security abroad?

Education Abroad regularly monitors health, safety, and security channels and resources to assess on-site health and safety conditions for all of its approved programs. Education Abroad uses these same resources to evaluate program sites and to address emergencies or other unexpected events that could jeopardize the security of students while overseas.

Some of the recourses Education Abroad uses to monitor health, safety, and security abroad include:
  1. Daily briefings from the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), a division of the US Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security.  OSAC briefings are for non-military US member organizations.
  2. U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories and Country Crime and Safety reports, as well as US Embassy Alerts and Messages
  3. Centers for Disease Control Health Warnings
  4. Briefings from the International SOS Travel Security team and from ISOS Risk Rating Analyses
  5. Reports from non-U.S. governments (such as from the UK, Canadian, and Australian governments)
  6. Assessments from university partners abroad and on-site staff
While safety and security are of the highest priority for Education Abroad, students are ultimately responsible for their own actions and maintaining their own safety and security during their program; assumption of risk and waiver forms are required in order to participate on Education Abroad programs, and nothing on this page is intended to supersede such forms.

How does Education Abroad decide if a program will be suspended?

Using the Policy on Student International Travel and Programs’s Risk Assessment Protocols, if a program is deemed to be based in a high-risk location, Education Abroad will confer with the International Risk Committee (IRC) to determine whether the program should be suspended or not.

If the IRC determines that risks presented by operating a program in the specific location can be reasonably managed using EA’s established protocols and processes, programs in that location may be granted special approval to operate. If the IRC does not grant this approval, the programs will be suspended. The IRC has final authority to approve or deny any international travel plans involving students.

The IRC may withdraw approval for international programs at any time based on changes in the security, health, or safety situation of a location. Additionally, the IRC may request a review of travel plans for approval at any time.

There are times when a program will be immediately suspended. For example, if the U.S. Department of State evacuates family members of government personnel or authorizes the voluntary departure of personnel.

What happens if a program is suspended?

Should CU Boulder suspend an Education Abroad program:
  • We communicate with students directly and as quickly as possible.
  • We work with the students, their program, and their academic advisors on academic continuity where possible.
  • For financial implications of a program suspension, we follow the guidelines outlined in the Participant Contract.
  • If CU Boulder decides it is necessary to evacuate students from a program site, we communicate this with students along with resources, including information on insurance security evacuation coverage where applicable.