Systems and Procedures
A Division of The Corporate Controller's Office

Procedure GP2009 Education Abroad Programs Fiscal Procedures

Office of Global Programs

Policy Steward facilitating procedure: Vice Provost for Global Programs

Table of Contents:


The Directorate of Education Abroad (DEA) is responsible for the development, implementation, and operation of study abroad programs offered on behalf of the University. The general goals of DEA are to prepare students for citizenship in an increasingly interdependent global community, to provide an international component to the University's curriculum, to enrich the University's general education program, to complement those professionally oriented programs where a study abroad experience is especially desirable, to support the University's cultural diversity initiative, and generally to promote sensitivity to and appreciation of the world's diverse cultures.

Organizationally, DEA rests within the University Office of Global Programs (UOGP). The Director of DEA is responsible to the Vice Provost for UOGP, who in turn reports directly to the Provost and Executive Vice President.

Education Abroad Programs, formerly known as Foreign Studies Programs, have been offered by the University since 1962. Participants in these programs remain registered at Penn State and receive regular academic credit toward their degrees under approved Penn State course numbers.


The DEA is responsible for developing, operating and administering education abroad programs out of the funds generated by student participants. The Business Manager of UOGP maintains separate operating budgets for each program type, with cost centers for each individual program abroad, as well as an overall administrative budget for the DEA.

The Vice Provost for UOGP is the budget executive for the program operating budgets as well as the DEA administrative budget. The Director of DEA is the budget administrator for those budgets.

Education Abroad Programs are expected to be self-supporting in the sense that all operating costs should be covered by the funds generated by student participants.

The Director of DEA along with the Business Manager of UOGP is responsible for negotiating and administering all fiscal and contractual commitments on behalf of the University in the operation of Education Abroad Programs. The Director negotiates and the Global Collaborations Manager of UOGP prepares all formal agreements with foreign institutions and submits those agreements to the University's Assistant Treasurer for approval.

After obtaining the Assistant Treasurer's (or delegate's) signature and the signature of the appropriate official at the foreign institution, the DEA retains one fully signed copy and provides one fully signed copy to the foreign institution.

In addition to entering into contractual relationships with foreign institutions, the DEA can individually engage academic staff abroad, as well as on-site coordinators responsible for the administrative and logistical support of program operations. In such cases, the Director of DEA along with the Business Manager of UOGP will negotiate the terms of the individual's appointment and specify the stipend to be paid in a letter of appointment to the individual concerned.

To ensure adequate on-site campus support of the University's Education Abroad Programs, the DEA provides student enrollment rosters to those University offices that must provide operations and services in support of the Education Abroad Programs. These offices include the Bursar, Financial Office, Housing Office, Registrar, and the Office of Student Aid. This coordination enables these various offices to fulfill their respective responsibilities in support of the University's programs abroad (e.g., ensuring that the student participants are billed properly, that the funds collected from student participants are properly credited to the respective Education Abroad operating budgets, that students' course registrations and academic records accurately reflect their enrollment in and completion of a program abroad, that student's total study abroad program cost of attendance is accurately updated and students' federal, state, and institutional financial aid is properly adjusted in compliance with federal Title IV regulations governing study abroad programs, that financial aid support is properly adjusted, and that housing contracts are canceled for those who will be leaving the residence halls to study abroad).

To the fullest extent possible, student exchanges are operated on a quid pro-quo exchange principle to avoid any exchange of monies. Students pay their standard tuition and fees to their home institution and simply exchange places with an equal number of students at the host institution. It is recognized that circumstances might preclude an evenly balanced exchange of students in a particular year; in such cases, every effort is made to adjust the following year's exchange of students to restore balance to the overall exchange relationship. Exchange agreements generally provide for a multi-year format to accommodate imbalances in any one program year.

In the event that imbalances cannot be corrected by adjusting the number of students to be exchanged in subsequent years covered by the exchange agreement, the agreement is extended for a period of one year under the condition that only the institution that has been disadvantaged by any imbalance is allowed to send the number of students to the other institution necessary to redress the imbalance. At the end of the one year period, the exchange is officially closed and the shortfall attributed to the existing imbalance is absorbed by the respective institution.

As with all Education Abroad programs, the tuition fee payments made by Penn State participants in exchange programs are credited in full to the operating budget for the exchange program in which the student is enrolling. The DEA then covers the tuition and activity fees for visiting exchange students out of the operating budget that has been established for that particular program. The DEA pays resident tuition for the visiting exchange students; the non-resident portion of the exchange student tuition is absorbed by the University's Offset Account (account 05-001-02 UP; fund 10010-0020). Each semester, the DEA submits a Journal Voucher to credit the University's accounts receivable for the visiting students and to distribute charges in support of the exchange students among the appropriate Education Abroad operating budgets and the University's Offset Account.


Student participants' tuition, and program fees comprise the operating funds for Education Abroad Programs.

Students selected for enrollment in Education Abroad Programs are assessed their regular tuition (resident or non-resident, depending upon residency status) by the Bursar's Office in accordance with standard University procedures and deadlines. For some semester and all summer programs, a credit adjustment of the non-resident portion of tuition is made on the student's account by the Business Manager (or designee). Tuition income is then automatically credited in full to the Education Abroad operating budget that has been established for the program in which the student is enrolling in that particular academic year once the registration process has been completed.

Room and board can vary from one program to another. In many cases, students are responsible for making their own room and board arrangements abroad. In other cases, the host institution or sponsoring agency will make room and board available to the students on an independent contractual basis (i.e., without going through Penn State).

Participants in Education Abroad Programs sponsored by Penn State's DEA usually pay a program fee and an insurance premium as well as a non-refundable DEA administration fee approved by the Provost (currently $250.00 for fall, spring and academic year programs and $150.00 for summer programs) to help support the cost of operating programs abroad. Students generally are expected to apply for the program of their choice according to published deadlines; after a careful screening and selection process, which may include a personal interview, the DEA makes an offer of acceptance to those students who have been found qualified for enrollment. To complete the enrollment process, accepted students must then submit a Memorandum of Understanding and a Conduct Standards Agreement, in which they agree to abide by the conditions for enrollment established by DEA.

Normally, the administrative fee is not refundable after a student has accepted an offer of enrollment. A portion of the program fee may be refundable, however, in cases of student withdrawal (as outlined in the Withdrawal Policy located on the DEA's website), in cases of program cancellation, if DEA subsequently deletes a student from its enrollment prior to the actual initiation of the program (i.e. before classes begin abroad), if the DEA cancels a program for any reason, or if in the judgment of the Director of DEA, the circumstances justify such a refund. In such cases, with the approval of the Director of DEA, the Business Manager (or designee) will process a credit adjustment to the student's Bursar Account.

The Director of DEA is the Budget Administrator for grant-in-aid funds established for the benefit of Education Abroad participants: The Director of DEA may draw upon the interest and income generated by these funds to help students with financial need overcome the additional costs entailed by enrollment in an Education Abroad program. In response to applications from students with financial need, the Director of DEA (or delegate) utilizes eSteward to determine the level of need for individual applicants as calculated by the federal needs methodology formula from each student's financial information provided on the annual Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Director decides how much, if any, support to make available, based upon the level of individual need, the amount available for distribution in the Grant-in-aid funds, and the overall demand for grant-in-aid support

Gifts to the grant-in-aid funds are received and processed through the University Development Office.


The Director of DEA, along with the Business Manager, annually prepares an operating budget for each Education Abroad Program to be offered during that academic year. Operating budgets are based upon the expenses that will be incurred in offering the program abroad and the income derived from the funding sources itemized above (i.e., tuition, program fee, and DEA administrative fee). In order to maintain a separate operating budget for each program abroad, the UOGP Business Manager establishes a cost center for each individual program under the appropriate budget number for each category.

For accounting purposes, a new cost center is established for each program year. Although operating income is derived from General Funds, DEA operating budgets are assigned miscellaneous fund numbers for tracking purposes. Three different cost centers can be active at any one time: the cost center supporting program operation in the current fiscal year; the cost center supporting deposits of program fees from students selected to enroll in the succeeding fiscal year; and the cost center supporting carry-over transactions from the prior fiscal year. When it has been determined by the Business Manager that all carry-over transactions from the prior fiscal year have been completed, he or she closes out that particular cost center.


The DEA must cover the expenses incurred in the operation of programs abroad out of the funds credited to its operating budget. Those expenses may include such items as the academic fees negotiated with the host institution, room and board (if provided by Penn State as an integral part of the program), on-site administrative support expenses, field trips and excursions, and any other support expenses that the Director of DEA has authorized to ensure the successful operation of a program abroad. This will include travel expenses that have been approved by the Director of DEA for any faculty and/or staff member who must visit a program abroad in support of its operation (e.g., for oversight, supervision, consultation, academic quality control, etc.).

For exchange programs, expenses will also include DEA's share of the incoming students' Penn State tuition and activity fee.

Approved faculty and/or staff travel in direct support of an Education Abroad Program may be covered by the Operating budget established for that particular program. Faculty and/or staff travel in connection with the development of new program opportunities will be charged against the DEA administrative budget for that particular fiscal year.

Students are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to the Education Abroad site.

Payments for services abroad will normally be processed by either a Special Request for Check ( SRFC ) or by a Wire Transfer. Payments can be in either American dollars or in the foreign currency of the host country, depending upon the nature of the contractual agreement negotiated for the particular program. In some cases (e.g., when a Penn State faculty member accompanies students to the foreign location), a faculty/staff member or an on-site coordinator may be responsible for making payments directly to an institution, agency, or individual on-site; in such cases, an advance will be made available to the responsible individual (faculty/staff member or on-site coordinator), who must then provide receipts and an accounting of disbursements made.


It is the responsibility of the Vice Provost for Global Programs (or his/her designate) to assure that the Annual Budget Reports accurately reflect all incomes received and expenses approved.

The Financial Officer must review the accounting records as outlined in the Financial Officers Procedures Manual.

The Financial Officer is responsible for ensuring that procedures pertaining to the accountability and safeguarding of all cash receipts, cash funds, and other assets are established and followed in accordance with approved University policies and procedures. Regular audits relating to advances, cash, travel, equipment accountability, and other expenditures provide a means to protect University assets. The Financial Officer is responsible for working with Internal Audit when audits are being performed in the administrative area.


Record retention must be managed in accordance with Policy AD35 - University Archives and Records Management , and records schedules approved by the Records Management Advisory Committee, Office of General Counsel, and Office of the President. These retention requirements are the University's retention criteria, either derived or based upon federal, state, and local statute or regulations, industry standards, and business needs. Retention beyond recommended time periods require justifiable reasons and warrant review by the Records Management Officer or designee. All documents must be maintained in such a manner so as to provide ease of access for review, and to provide a suitable audit trail for all transactions.

Upon expiration of a stated period of time, documents must be discarded and/or destroyed, unless permission is granted by Records Management Officer or designee to retain the records. Archival records created more than 20 years prior to the current date must be reviewed before destruction. Units should also contact the University Archivist before discarding any document which may be of permanent or historical value to the University. To safeguard the privacy of individuals, documents that contain salary information, personally identifiable information (PII), or student records must also be shredded. See Policy AD53 - Privacy Policy and AD22 - Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act for additional information regarding privacy and the protection of an individual's personal information. For documents that must be shredded, departments may arrange for Blue Bag service by contacting the Blue/White Shredding Program of the Office of Physical Plant. Exceptions to the practice are as follows:

Additional questions may be directed to the University Archivist or the Records Management Officer.



For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this procedure, please contact the Vice Provost of Global Programs.


Procedure Status:

Date Approved: February 17, 2016

Most recent changes:

Revision History: