Information for Parents

Information for International Parents

Selvaraj Family

Dear Parents:

Thank you for encouraging your son or daughter to choose Gustavus for their international study. The Center for International and Cultural Education works hard to make the transition for international students as easy as possible. We hope you will read through the information we provide for students about application procedures, what to bring (and what not to bring), weather in Minnesota, and more.

We require international students to arrive on campus for orientation one week before classes begin. Sometimes parents like to accompany their daughter or son on this important journey. There is no housing available on campus for parents, but St. Peter has several motels you may contact for reservations. Because St. Peter is a fairly small town it is possible to walk to a destination (distance from the motel to the campus is given below). There is also a St. Peter transit bus which offers door-to-door passenger service for a small fee. (Please note that we do provide an on-campus housing option during graduation for parents of students who are graduating. For more information on this, contact Jeff Anderson.)

More information for parents can be found on the general Gustavus Parent page. Still have questions? Contact us.

Information for Domestic Parents

India GroupDear Parents:

Off-campus study is an excellent way for a student to develop a more comprehensive world view and greater understanding of their own place in the web of human connection. Thank you for encouraging your son or daughter to undertake such important learning!

We hope you will explore other sections of our website for important information on our philosophy of off-campus study, as well as our application process and policies. Below are answers to some of the questions we receive most frequently from parents.

Choosing a Program

Types of off-campus study

  • Students may choose to study off-campus during the January Interim session for one month, or for a semester or yearlong experience.
  • The January Interim study may be a course taught by a Gustavus faculty member, or a course chosen from a consortium such as Upper Midwest Association for Urban Affairs (HECUA), of which Gustavus is a member.
  • For longer-term programs, students may choose from those led by a Gustavus faculty member (Semester in Sweden, or Justice, Peace & Sustainable Communities (JPSC Semester in India), exchange programs between Gustavus and another institution (Kansai Gaidai or Hosei University in Japan; Universiti Sains in Malaysia; United International College in China; and Uppsala University, Linnaeus University and Mora Folkhögskola in Sweden), or from an approved program list.
  • You may browse all of our approved programs by going to StudioAbroad, our search and application online program. Click on "Programs" at the top of the page to start your search..

Choosing when and where to study off-campus

Students may select from a list of quality programs which have been reviewed and approved by Gustavus faculty and staff for academic rigor and good student service. In November we host a Study Abroad Fair to introduce students to the many semester and year-long options for education off-campus. (A second study abroad Fair occurs in April to highlight the following January Interim off-campus study options.) We also encourage students interested in off-campus study to review the program options, and then make an appointment with a peer advisor in our office, or with the Study Abroad Advisor, for more information.

Program approval

Each semester or year-long off-campus program is reviewed by a faculty committee on a rolling basis. In addition, student participants complete evaluations after returning to campus and these are analyzed carefully to ensure programs continue to maintain high academic and safety standards. January Interim courses are approved each year through a faculty review and approval process.


The application process

Students must apply to Gustavus by March 1st for approval to study off-campus in a semester or year-long program. Applications for January Interim off-campus courses are accepted starting the prior April 15th. We require a number of forms, an application fee, a transcript, and a deposit. Gustavus applications will be reviewed once they are complete. Once reviewed, students may be asked to schedule an interview with Jill Fischer, Study Abroad Advisor.

Role of parents in the application process

We encourage all students to talk candidly with parents or guardians about their goals for off-campus study. Because of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), there are some limits on what we may discuss with parents without student permission. However, we do ask for parent signatures on some forms.

Cost and Billing

Program Costs

For semester and year-long programs, all students are charged their appropriate Gustavus tuition for the term of the approved program. In addition, the student is charged a program fee which may include the host provider tuition, room and board, and any other required cost at the host institution (because what is included varies so much with each program, it is imperative that a student meet personally with the Study Abroad Advisor to clarify what is actually included). Except in rare cases, the program fee or tuition charge does not cover the cost of transportation to the program site. Program fees vary widely, and change annually in response to changing conditions in country and in international education market. Generally, any study abroad program (tuition, room, board, travel, visas, etc.) will cost more than the Gustavus comprehensive fee. Costs are adjusted each year. The program providers will send the specific billings for a student's program costs to the Center for International and Cultural Education and our office will pay all program costs direct to the program provider on the student's behalf.

For January term off-campus study, students are charged regular Gustavus tuition and pay a program fee appropriate for the plan and location of the course. This fee includes round-trip transportation (usually from Minneapolis), prorating of instructor’s course expenses, normally breakfast and one other meal per day, transportation for required study trips, entrance fees and tickets for scheduled group events, and accommodations (shared rooms). Costs are adjusted each year.

All semester students receive a Formal Cost Estimate for Study Abroad relevant to their specific off-campus program, usually in the spring for students departing in the fall, and in fall for students departing the following spring. Costs for January off-campus study are determined by the end of July of the preceding year.

You may also wish to review the student page Understanding Program Fees.

Financial aid

Generally, students who are financial aid recipients will continue to receive the same financial aid awards as they would have received had they remained on campus, with the exception of work-study award for the term they will be abroad, and certain scholarships that require a student's participation on-campus (e.g. some music and theatre scholarships). For semester and year-long programs, students are nowallowed to earn the full year work-study award if they are off-campus during one term. For January Interim programs, there is no additional grant assistance available to pay the program fee. If a student has already borrowed the maximum Federal Direct Stafford Loan ($3500 for a sophomore and $5500 for a junior or senior), then no additional funding from the source is available. No Gustavus financial aid will apply to non-approved study abroad programs. The Center for International and Cultural Education does not have access to individual students' financial aid information.


Billing comes directly from the Gustavus Student Accounts office, as normal. The one exception is the January Interim program down payment of $1000 (see below), which is billed from the Center for International and Cultural Education. See the student page Understanding Program Fees for more information on billing.


For semester and yearlong programs there is a non-refundable application fee of $65. Specific programs may also require an additional application fee which is non-refundable. This fee is paid directly to the program provider.

For January off-campus study, there is a non-refundable application fee of $65 and a deposit of $300 ( this amount is applied to the program cost). Once a student has been accepted to a January program, a payment of $1000 must be paid by July 31st of the prior year.

For semester and yearlong programs, a specific program deposit must be paid to the Center for International and Cultural Education (checks written to Gustavus or payable via our online portal) at the time of acceptance to a program. Students will be notified of the amount and the deadline for this deposit by the Study Abroad Advisor via email. This deposit and the accompanying Off-Campus Program Commitment form indicate a student's firm commitment to their specific program.

Application fees and program deposits cannot be covered by financial aid awards, they cannot be charged against a student's account, and they cannot be paid with credit cards. They must be paid directly to the Center for International and Cultural Education via check written to Gustavus by the participant. (Only the program provider application fee is paid direct to the provider.)

Several policies govern cancellation and reimbursement issues. See semester and year-long program policies, or January Interim policies. Students or their families may wish to purchase travel cancellation insurance. We do not endorse any particular travel insurance coverage, but quote comparisons can be found at Make sure to determine exactly what is covered in such a policy (e.g., is cancellation due to H1N1 illness covered?).


A variety of scholarships are available for off-campus study through outside agencies. Students may view Scholarship information on our website here. Many of our semester program partners also offer scholarships. The Study Abroad Advisor will assist students seeking additional financial support for an off-campus study program.

Health and Safety

Below are copies of the orientation packets sent out to students and parents/guardians who have applied for Gustavus Approval. Orientation packets are e-mailed once in the Fall or Spring before the student is to go abroad. They contain useful information such as Health Insurance, Emergency Management Plans, and other tips to help create a successful experience for both students and their families.

Parent Orientation Packet

Student Orientation Packet

Health Insurance

Gustavus provides two types of insurance coverage for students. They are only covered for the official duration of the program and are not covered if they travel pre- or post-program. Students are required to maintain their U.S.-based health insurance for the duration of their time abroad. See the orientation packets above for complete insurance information.

  • EIIA. All Gustavus students and accompanying faculty members are covered under Gustavus Adolphus College insurance administered by Educational and Institutional Insurance Administrators (EIIA), policy #WR10003936 (policy number may change each year). This insurance provides secondary coverage for international emergencies and accidents as well as other benefits. Pre-existing conditions are covered up to $1500.
  • CISI (Cultural Insurance Services International). Students and accompanying faculty members on Gustavus-run semester or short-term international programs, and other semester and year-long students who choose to add this coverage, are covered under Gustavus Adolphus College insurance with CISI. This insurance will serve as primary health insurance in the host country and will provide medical benefits for injury and sickness. Pre-existing conditions are covered up to $1000, and prescription drugs are covered at 100%.


Gustavus works closely with students as they plan their off-campus study so that they will have the best experience possible. Several policies govern health and safety. In the event that an emergency occurs, Gustavus has a management plan that is immediately activated. Students who have been granted approval to study off-campus will be allowed to study in a country under a U.S. Department of State travel warning only in rare exceptions (and additional application procedures apply).

For helpful advice on how to stay safe, and more general information about Gustavus' approach to safety, please read the following:

Additional information for parents can be found on the general Gustavus Parent page. Still have questions? Please contact us.