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FAQ - Travel and Study Abroad

Travel and Study Abroad

Fall 2020 - Travel

Fall 2020 - Study Abroad

Travel and Study Abroad

What is the university doing about study abroad programs?

All study abroad programs were canceled and all students were instructed to return to the US no later than March 22 to their permanent addresses. Students were told not to return to campus. The university is working with students on academic arrangements and financial matters.

What happens if a student commits to a program that eventually gets canceled?

AU Abroad is moving forward at this time with all programs for fall 2020 and Academic Year 2020-2021, except those that have official start dates before July 31, 2020. If that should change, students will receive notification and guidance from AU Abroad, and the AU Abroad office would work in conjunction with AU Housing and Dining as well as the Academic Advising units of the university to support students in course enrollment and accommodations on campus for the fall 2020 semester. All students applying to study abroad in fall 2020 should register for courses on campus out of an abundance of caution.

I am planning to travel to one of the affected countries. What should I do?

The ongoing suspension of all university-sponsored international travel announced on March 5 remains in effect. University-sponsored domestic travel is also suspended.

I just returned from abroad, what precautions should I take?

Detailed resources and guidance for students returning from high-risk countries can be found on the CDC website.

General guidance on how to protect yourself and what to do if you think you are sick can be found at

The AU COVID-19 Community Resources Guide can be found at

How are travelers being screened when they enter the United States?

At this time, American citizens, lawful permanent residents, family (as specified in the presidential proclamation) who have been in certain designated regions in the past 14 days will be allowed to enter the United States. Those travelers will be directed to one of 11 US airports and will undergo health screening and be asked questions about their travel. Those travelers may have some level of restriction on their movement depending on their health and travel history. Foreign nationals who have been in the designated regions in the last 14 days will not be allowed to enter the US.

Are there COVID-19 related re-entry restrictions to the U.S.?

At the moment there are travel restrictions for certain countries. CDC’s travel health guidance recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China, Iran, Most European Countries, and the United Kingdom and Ireland. Most foreign nationals who have been in one of these countries during the previous 14 days will not be allowed to enter the United States. For travel inquiries and up-to-date information on travel restrictions, please visit the US Department of State's COVID-19 Country Specific Information page and for travel health guidance visit CDC's country-specific health information page.

Within the last 14 days, I was abroad AND I am exhibiting fever, cough, difficulty breathing, and/or shortness of breath. What should I do?

Please contact your healthcare provider for advice immediately. You should not come to work or on campus until you have been seen by a healthcare professional. If you are tested for novel coronavirus, you should stay home until you receive test results. Please also contact your supervisor and Human Resources at 202-885-2591. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please dial 911.

I am an AU Abroad student – are there any resources to assist with mental health?

Mental health crisis intervention support will be available 24 hours a day via AUProtoCall Services +1-202-885-7979. All students will be able to access this number from any location and receive crisis intervention services.

Is AU canceling all international travel? Will my expenses be refunded because AU canceled it?

On March 5, AU suspended all university-sponsored international travel until further notice. We know this is both an inconvenience and a disappointment to many who had upcoming international travel plans, but the ongoing uncertainty of the COVID-19 situation in many parts of the world requires us to take the appropriate steps to safeguard our students, faculty, and staff. There are many uncertainties regarding possible flight cancellations and changes to airline operations, international border closures, and restrictions/quarantines related to COVID-19 in other countries. The decision was reached after a thorough review of the conditions and to help members of our community avoid potentially unsafe conditions.

If students want to fully withdraw from programs, what costs are refundable?

If a student prefers to withdraw completely from all classes for the semester, they will forego all credits and go through the normal university procedure for a voluntary withdrawal and be subject to the university’s refund policy.

For non-tuition related expenses, American University can only refund uncommitted and/or recoverable funds. If a payment was made directly to a third party, those payments are not recoverable by American University and cannot be refunded. Instead, such payments are subject to the third party’s cancellation and refund policies. The refund for any uncommitted and/or recoverable expenses will be recorded directly to each student's account on or before April 15, 2020.

Fall 2020 - Travel

What is AU’s current policy on student/faculty/staff travel?

All official university travel outside of the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Area will remain suspended pending a reassessment on September 26. Travel related to research grants must be approved through the Provost’s Office. Future travel policies will be based on government, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, and the university’s risk assessment of travel conditions and exposure risks.

Fall 2020 - Study Abroad

Is AU cancelling fall study abroad programs?

All study abroad programs for the fall semester are suspended consistent with university limitations on travel and ongoing international travel restrictions.

What is the university doing about study abroad programs for fall 2020?

American University has decided to extend its suspension of all university-sponsored international travel. All fall 2020 study abroad programs are suspended as of June 12, 2020.

What happens if a student committed to a program that is now canceled?

Students who committed to a fall 2020 semester study abroad program have the option to defer their study abroad programs to the spring 2021 semester. Students who would rather withdraw completely from study abroad will receive refunds of their deposits back to the original form of payment.

I am not able to study abroad in a future semester. Can I still take classes through an AU Center program this fall 2020?

Yes! The vast majority of the previously planned in-person classes (including internships) from our AU Centers in Madrid, Brussels, and Nairobi will now be taught online by our faculty on the ground. You can enroll in these classes and learn from our overseas experts. See the AUA Centers Virtual Offerings microsite for more information and use EagleService to add/drop courses from your fall 2020 schedule. Please let AU Abroad know if you have any problems registering for one of our courses.

The partner university I was planning to attend overseas is offering online classes. Can I enroll in those courses and get credit at AU?

No. Unfortunately, students are not allowed to enroll in online classes via another institution abroad for fall 2020. Keep in mind that our AU Abroad Centers in Madrid, Brussels, and Nairobi are offering online classes, so if you would like to take courses from an interesting international perspective, we encourage you to explore those options on the AUA Centers Virtual Offerings microsite.

Can I take a leave of absence to attend online classes via my partner university overseas?

No. AU Academic regulations do not allow you to enroll in another institution during an official leave of absence.

How is AU making the decision to maintain or suspend programs?

American University has implemented a comprehensive approach led by a cross-functional emergency response team to respond to the COVID-19 situation and support our community.

This team continues to monitor the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation in the United States and around the world.  We continue to follow guidance of global, national, and local health and government officials. Any decisions regarding the continuation or cancellation of our study abroad programs will be made by the emergency response team in accordance with this guidance.

I was planning to study abroad in fall 2020. What happens to my $500 confirmation deposit?

You must notify AU Abroad via this online form if you wish to defer your study abroad to another semester or if you wish to withdraw completely. If you defer, your deposit can carry over to spring 2021. If you withdraw, AU Abroad will refund your deposit.

If a payment or deposit is made directly to a partner institution or third party, those payments are not recoverable by American University and, therefore, cannot be refunded by AU. Instead, such payments are subject to the partner institution’s cancellation and refund policies.

Can I defer my study abroad to spring 2021?

You may defer participation in your AU Abroad program until the Spring 2021 semester. In this case, you should contact your AU Abroad advisor to discuss and to complete this online form notifying us officially of your request to defer. The AU Abroad advisor will then work with you and your program abroad to arrange for the deferral of your application. In general, you would not need to re-apply--most application materials can carry over to spring 2021. However, a few items may need to be resubmitted depending on the program.

I received an AU Abroad grant for fall 2020 and now I am deferring to spring 2021. Can I defer the grant as well?

Unfortunately, no. You would need to reapply for the AU Abroad grant for spring 2021.

I was planning to study abroad with an approved program provider. What do I need to do to withdraw my application or defer to another semester?

Once you fill out this form, your AU Abroad advisor will email your program provider letting the provider know of your decision to defer or withdraw because AU has suspended all study abroad programs for the fall 2020 semester. If you choose to defer, this email will also include next steps you should take and the materials you may need to resubmit.

What is the deadline by which I must decide to defer?

To best organize your deferral in preparation for the spring 2021 application cycle opening in mid-July, we ask that you fill out this form letting us know if you would like to defer or withdraw no later than July 1, 2020.