There are many issues to address when planning an international affiliation. These include financial considerations as well as such procedural concerns as documentation, structure, and timing.
When designing an international affiliation under which individuals (staff, students, or faculty members) will travel between countries, special attention must be given to the costs of participation and the party or parties responsible for each expense. Some items to consider are listed below:
Round-trip international airfare
Books and educational materials
Student application fees
Salaries (faculty or graduate assistants)
Fringe and retirement benefits
Health insurance premiums
Passport and visa application fees
Stipends (visiting scholars and students)
Costs of accompanying dependents
Tuition and fees
Cost of language training
Access to administrative support staff
Hosting of visiting officials
Most agreements address provisions for specific expenses, but the individual participant is usually responsible for the remaining costs.
Visas All foreign visitors to the United States must enter this country under the appropriate visa authorization. Furthermore, once admitted to the United States, all individuals must meet the terms and conditions of their visa category. Persons seeking visas for entry to the United States must submit the required documentation to U.S. Embassy or consular officials abroad. Visitors who intend to study, conduct research, or teach at an Ohio University campus must obtain the appropriate documents from the Office of International Student and Faculty Services (ISFS).
The particular type of documentation required depends primarily on the purpose or intention of the visit (for enrollment as a student, the conducting of research, teaching, etc.) Consideration must also be given to the length of the proposed visit, the source of financial support for the visit, and the form of payment (particularly whether or not payments for services are involved).
Students from abroad must be officially admitted to an OU academic program. Visa documentation must be issued by the appropriate campus international admissions office. (Please see the discussion of admission procedures on the following pages).
A faculty member or researcher seeking a U.S. visa must receive an official invitation from an OU academic or administrative unit.
If payment to an international visitor is involved, then inviting faculty or offices should consult with ISFS to be sure the appropriate visa is going to be obtained.
Potential visitors must prove that they have access to sufficient financial resources to cover all expenses related to their stay in the United States. The Office of International Student and Faculty Services (ISFS) publishes a projected estimate of expenses for the Athens campus for each academic year.
Please note that similar conditions apply to U.S. citizens who wish to travel to foreign countries. Specific requirements for individual countries should be carefully reviewed in advance of travel.
As previously indicated, potential visitors must prove that they have access to sufficient financial resources to cover all expenses related to their stay in the United States. This includes medical expenses.
Ohio University has a mandatory group health program that includes nonimmigrant students and scholars and their dependents from abroad on all campuses. Students are enrolled in the Ohio University plan. Visiting Scholars and Research Scholars who hold a J-1 visa are required by regulation to carry medical insurance. Visiting scholars must request enrollment in the Ohio University group insurance plan and must pay an additional fee if they choose to enroll any dependents. Foreign scholars who are already covered by a comprehensive health insurance plan with sufficient provisions may apply for a waiver of participation in the OU mandatory insurance program. The Office of International Student and Faculty Services is responsible for confirming that these scholars have adequate coverage.
U.S. participants who intend to travel abroad will usually find that their regular health insurance plans will be effective worldwide, but this should be confirmed on a case-by-case basis. It is required that official exchange participants have adequate insurance coverage that includes provisions for medical evacuation and repatriation. At a minimum, all participants in an official Ohio University study abroad program are required to purchase an International Student Identification Card. The card provides minimal health coverage and includes provision for medical evacuation and repatriation. The cards can be purchased through the Office of Education Abroad. Ohio University units may also wish to provide or mandate another insurance policy with an appropriate level of coverage.
Policies and procedures for admission of students from abroad are the same on all OU campuses.
All applicants must complete the appropriate Ohio University application form and must supply required documentation, including original or certified academic records: TOEFL scores; other required tests such as the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, TSE, or SAT; letters of recommendation; and evidence of financial support. A one-time, nonrefundable application fee is required of all applicants. All documents submitted become the property of the University and are not returnable.
Each candidate must meet established university and program admission eligibility requirements and deadlines. Students must have the appropriate credentials to be considered for the particular level of study and, if degree applicants, must be competitive with other applicants to the program or department. Caution should be taken to ensure that partners are fully informed about degree equivalencies between the academic programs of the participating countries.
Ohio University units initiating international affiliations that contain a student exchange component are advised to consult with the Ohio University Policies and Procedures Governing Student Exchanges.
Transfer of Credit
The approval of transfer of undergraduate credit from overseas institutions to Ohio University is the responsibility of the Office of International Admissions. Transfer of graduate credit can only be authorized on an individual basis by the academic department in which an individual student is enrolled within the guidelines written in the Graduate Catalog.
In order to apply for transfer credit, students must fully enroll in a foreign institution or a program offered by an accredited U.S. institution, and upon completion of the course(s), obtain an official transcript from a U.S. institution or certified academic records from the foreign institution. Students wishing to transfer credits from study abroad must submit a Foreign Study Checklist to their academic advisor, the appropriate college official (see the Handbook for Education Abroad), and the Office of Student Financial Aid prior to their departure.
Faculty and Student Academic Appointments
It is most common for foreign members and researchers (of any rank) temporarily teaching or conducting research at Ohio University to be assigned the term "Avisiting" as in "Avisiting professor of biology".
An appointment without salary provides access to basic institutional privileges (an identification card, library privileges, and a computer account). A full time salaried appointment, for a minimum period of nine months, to which fringe and retirement contributions are attached, provides access to additional benefits, such as health and life insurance.
The Office of the Provost governs the policies for faculty and student academic appointees. Publications such as the Faculty Handbook and the Handbook for Education Abroad outline policies and provide other relevant information.
Enrollment of Students
Individuals admitted to the United States on student visas are required to maintain full-time enrollment status during all regular academic semesters. This requirement cannot be satisfied through enrollment in audit hours or independent study.
Ohio University participants studying or conducting research abroad on a non-OU program are required to enroll for Foreign Study credit in order to maintain their status as an Ohio University student. Foreign Study may be accessed through TRIPS.
Access to Financial Support
Individual Ohio University students may be eligible to apply for financial aid or for access to guaranteed student loans to support periods of study or research abroad. The Office of Student Financial Aid has details. The Office of Education Abroad can supply information on sources of potential funding for study abroad activities. High achieving students may wish to learn about opportunities through the Fulbright, Marshall or Rhoades programs.
International students who intend to enroll at Ohio University have limited access to financial assistance. Some may be eligible for consideration for departmental graduate assistantships or tuition scholarships. Others should be encouraged to inquire at their home university or to contact the educational attache at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for information about foreign and international grant support.
English Language Testing
All international students whose native language is not English must take the Ohio University English Language Proficiency Examination at the beginning of their first academic quarter at Ohio University. The Ohio Program of Intensive English (OPIE) is responsible for the testing of incoming students and the instructional program in English as a foreign language.
The terms of each visa category dictate whether or not an individual may work while visiting another country.
International students with appropriate visa status, who are enrolled full time and are in good standing, may work on campus. Information about work off campus for all visa types is available in the Office of International Student and Faculty Services.
Ohio University has a responsibility to foreign visitors to ensure that payments made to them by the university are properly reported to the appropriate federal and state agencies. Properly reporting payments made to foreign visitors will greatly reduce the potential for future tax or immigration problems for visitors.
The Office of International Student and Faculty Services is available to assist departments, faculty, and foreign visitors in gathering and coordinating the appropriate information needed to maintain compliance with the tax and immigration laws.
Concerns of Structure and Timing
Each program design will call for consideration of different issues. Some questions to ask yourself follow:
How many Ohio University participants can the program accommodate annually?
How many foreign participants can be accommodated?
How does the academic calendar of the partner institution match up - or possibly conflict - with Ohio University's?
What will the minimum and maximum length of each visit?
What type of housing is appropriate for visitors?
What nomination materials need to be requested?
What are the deadlines?
How will the Ohio University candidates be identified?
How will Ohio University nominees be selected?
What criteria will be used in the selection of nominees?
What type of orientation will be organized for Ohio University participants traveling abroad?
What type of orientation is available for visitors arriving from abroad?
Who will be responsible for visitors while they are at Ohio University?
Who will be responsible for Ohio University participants at the partner institution?