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Study Abroad Policy

Vassar College considers education abroad to be an important component of a Liberal Arts education. The items listed in the document “Education Abroad Policies” govern all study abroad during the academic year and contain criteria against which all applications will be evaluated by the Committee on Leaves and Privileges. This helpful document includes detailed information on:

  • applying to study abroad,
  • the post-approval process,
  • financial procedures,
  • grades and credit transfer, and
  • language policies.

College Policy on Student Travel

This policy pertains to Vassar College student travel to destinations outside of the United States; this update applies to the summer and fall 2021 terms. This includes students participating in study abroad in addition to students and alums who plan to travel with the support of Vassar funding for a fellowship, internship or other educational experience.

Vassar College is closely monitoring the global COVID-19 situation so we can act with the safety of our students as our primary concern. The College regularly reviews the health and safety updates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of State. In addition, we are working with our travel insurance partner, On Call International, which provides regular updates from its Global Security and Medical Teams as well as itinerary-specific assessments of potential health and safety risks of scheduled study trips.

The College Policy has historically prohibited students who study abroad and students or alumni traveling with college funds from traveling to destinations with a current U.S. Department of State general travel advisory at level 3 or 4, a CDC travel health notice at level 3, or a CDC COVID-19 travel recommendation at level 3 or 4. Additionally, the CDC currently recommends that all travelers to any international destination be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

As of June 1, 2021, students participating in study abroad, as well as students and alums who plan to travel with the support of Vassar funding for a fellowship, internship, or other educational experience, are generally permitted to travel abroad for their program/project if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This includes permission for travel to countries with a level 3 or 4 advisory/travel health notice if the sole reason for the advisory/travel health notice level is due to COVID-19[1]. However, the College will continue to monitor conditions closely and approval for travel to specific destinations may be rescinded if health and safety conditions deteriorate to a level the College determines to be unsafe.

Students approved to study abroad are not permitted to travel outside of the country where their study abroad program is based unless otherwise authorized by both Vassar College and their program.

Students remain required to submit a petition to request an exception for travel to areas that are designated as a State Department level 3 advisory for a reason other than COVID-19;  students should contact the Office of International Programs for details. There are no petitions for travel to a location designated as a State Department level 4 advisory for a reason other than COVID-19.

International students are permitted to utilize Vassar funding to travel for an internship, fellowship or other educational experience within their country of residence, regardless of the travel advisory level in their country of residence.

The Dean of Faculty, Health Services, and Office of International Programs together engage a variety of sources to evaluate travel risk to Vassar students. Regardless of advisory levels, Vassar may also prohibit student travel if the College determines that travel to the country poses credible health or security risk to students.

[1]Students who have a medical or religious exemption from Vassar’s Covid-19 vaccination requirement should contact the Office of International Programs for more information about Vassar’s College Policy on Student Travel.

Policy updated: July 28, 2021