Study Abroad/Off-Campus: Frequently Asked Questions
Is registering for a study trip different from registering for a class on-campus?
Registration for study trips is online via SAIC Self-Service just like on-campus classes, however additional steps are involved in the process. Preregistration must first be completed by all students who plan to register for a study trip.
When and how do I complete the preregistration?
For winter 2015 trips you can preregister when it becomes available in late August. For summer 2015 trips, preregistration becomes available in late January. You definitely must complete it before study trip registration begins because only those students who have done so will be able to select the study trip classes online. Your access will be via SAIC Self-Service.
Does preregistering commit me to taking a study trip?
No. Preregistration is a simple process with important information that applies to all SAIC faculty-led study trips. If you are still researching options, it can help you decide. Review the details under each tab and indicate your agreement to confirm your eligibility and accept the terms of participation should you eventually register for a trip. Preregistration is the only way to get access to the study trip classes in case you do decide to register later.
When does registration for winter 2015 study trips begin?
Thursday, October 9, 2014, at 8:45 a.m., online via SAIC Self-Service, for all graduate students, post-bacs, seniors, and juniors. Registration for sophomores begins at 12:00 p.m. on October 9. You must have completed the mandatory preregistration before registering (see previous questions).
When does registration for summer 2015 study trips begin?
Wednesday, March 11, 2015, at 8:45 a.m., online via SAIC Self-Service, for graduate students, post-bacs, seniors and juniors. Registration for Sophomores begins from 12:00 p.m. on March 11. You must have completed the preregistration before registering (see previous questions).
What is the process to register?
Study trip reservations can be selected online via Self-Service until all places are filled. You must have already completed the online preregistration to get access to the study trip classes. Check beforehand and clear any holds against your account. If you successfully register, you must pay a deposit of $525 (or $250 for some domestic trips) and complete an online waiver within 24 hours in order to secure your place.
Can anyone from outside SAIC register?
Yes. If places are still available on the second day of registration, outside applicants may sign-up with permission of the trip leaders or the Study Abroad office. Note that non-degree-seeking applicants must pay both Tuition and Program Fees. Participants cannot audit SAIC study trips or sign-up for "no credit" unless this is a specified program option. Contact the Study Abroad office to find out more about this process
Will there be a waiting list?
Yes. Study trips fill very quickly. Sign up early to secure your place. If all places are filled, get on the waiting list at the Registrar's office so we can contact you directly if a place frees up.
What academic requirements apply to study trips?
All usual academic requirements must be met in order to register for a study trip. For example, to register for Art History credits, you must have completed both parts of the Survey of Art History; for Liberal Arts, all English requirements must be completed.
The following students are not eligible to register for study trips:
- Freshmen who have successfully completed fewer than 30 credits at SAIC at the time of registration (unless a particular study trip has been designated for freshmen).
- Students currently on disciplinary probation or subject to any other disciplinary sanction.
- Students currently on academic probation.
- Students who have received a "No Credit" grade for a previous study trip.
The following students' study trip participation will be reviewed:
- Students who become subject to academic or disciplinary sanction after registration. Note: a student whose study trip registration is cancelled as a result of this review must appeal to the Refund Review Committee for refund of fees.
What happens if I withdraw from the trip after I have signed up?
When you register you complete a form acknowledging that you are fully committed to the trip. If you subsequently wish to withdraw, any requests for refund of tuition or program fees must be made to the Refund Review Board (RRB). The RRB has the authority to determine whether a refund (if any) will be made. If your withdrawal comes too late to cancel reservations or to arrange for a replacement, you may still be charged up to 100 percent of the fees.
Can I register for a study trip with an outstanding balance?
In order to be eligible to enroll for a study trip, a student must have a balance under $1,000. Also, students enrolled in a semester payment plan must be current with their payment installments.
What does it cost?
Study trips are faculty-led classes, and tuition fees are payable for the credits as for any other class (i.e., undergraduate rate is $1,381 per credit; graduate rate is $1,467 per credit). Financial Aid and merit scholarships can be applied as usual towards tuition fees to those who are eligible.
In addition, a program fee covering the costs of items such as accommodation, ground transport, some meals, some admissions, is payable. Each trip has a different program fee covering different items. Program fees do not usually cover airfare so be sure to budget for this additional expense. Eligible students can apply for alternative/private loans towards the program fee, and the other expected costs of the trip not covered by the program fee. Ask the Financial Services office about this. Program fees listed as "TBA" will be updated as costs are finalized.
How can I afford it?
Because special financial aid consideration is given for study trips, students not normally eligible for funds in some cases can received assistance toward tuition fees. Other eligible students have received more than they expected. Also, many have been eligible for alternative/private loans towards the program fee as well as toward the extra costs (e.g., meals, etc.) not covered by the program fee. To find out more, submit an online financial aid application by completing preregistration in Self-Service.
How will I know how much financial aid/grants/loans I'll get—so I know if I can afford to sign up on the first day of registration?
When you complete preregistration, you are automatically applying for financial aid. If you do this by September 19, 2014, for winter, or February 20, 2015, for summer, the Student Financial Services office will calculate and send you a financial aid package in time for you to make your decisions before sign-up. Those not eligible for grants will be notified of alternative/private loan eligibility.
Can I still apply for study trip financial aid after the financial aid priority date?
Absolutely. The priority date is only the deadline to have an answer before the first day to register for the study trip. Applications submitted after that date will be processed as they are received.
What is the deposit for?
It is an advance on the cost of the class to reserve your space and will be credited to your account as the first payment. The rest of the trip will be charged as usual when summer or winter interim bills are issued.
How can I pay the deposit?
A nonrefundable deposit of $525 (or $250 for some domestic trips) is required within 24 hours of your registration. Payment can be made by credit card (Visa, Discover, American Express, or MasterCard) or by electronic check (ACH) via the CASHNet link in the My Account section of Self-Service. You may also pay by paper check or money order in US currency at the SAIC Bursars office, Sharp Building, 37 South Wabash Avenue, room 706E or the Student Financial Services office, Sullivan Center, 36 South Wabash Avenue, room 1218. Cash deposits are discouraged.
Important: Do not pay your deposit before you have successfully registered for the class because study trip deposits are non-refundable.
Can I rely on my financial aid package for the deposit?
No. The money will not be available by sign-up day so you must have another source of funding for the deposit.
Is the deposit refundable?
No. It will be used to pay for trip reservations etc. However, if a trip is cancelled by SAIC because of lack of required number of participants, deposits will be refunded.
I don't understand the itemized program fee amounts for the study trip on my student account.
For Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reporting purposes and to maximize potential student/parent educational tax benefits, your study trip charges are broken down into categories consisting of tuition and program fees.
The program fees may be subdivided into one or more of the following. The total of items one and two should equal the basic program Fee:
- Trip Program Fee-Travel Related: Covers items such as lodging, included meals and travel expenses.
- Trip Program Fee-Course Related: Covers expenses tied to course instruction such as faculty expenses, instructional costs, space rental, and required course activity fees.
- Trip-Supplementary Travel: Will appear on your bill if you have opted for a group airfare, if a single room option is selected, and/or if items such as a travel visa were procured by SAIC on your behalf.
How can I receive financial aid and/or merit scholarship for the winter semester?
Students, if eligible, can apply for financial aid during the online preregistration process.
Am I eligible for Federal Direct Stafford loans doing the winter term, if I am already receiving them for fall and spring?
No. Students receiving Stafford loans during the fall and spring semesters are not eligible for these loans in the winter term.
Can my parent apply for a Federal Direct Parent Plus loan?
Parents of dependent students enrolled in 6 or more credit hours can apply for a Federal Direct Parent Plus loan for the winter semester.
Can graduate students apply for a winter Federal Direct Graduate Plus loan?
Graduate students enrolled in 3 or more credit hours can apply for a Grad Plus loan.
Once enrolled, when am I required to pay my outstanding balance?
Payment in full or payment arrangements must be made before your study trip begins.
Do I need to notify Student Financial Services if I decide to change my trip?
Yes, if you plan to change your trip please notify our office at firstname.lastname@example.org because your winter award may require an adjustment. Please include your full name, student ID number, the name of the new trip, and the amount of credit hours you will be enrolled in.
If I have a credit balance reflected on my account, when should I expect a refund?
Eligible students will receive their refund one week before they are expected to leave for their trip. Please remember to enroll for eRefund on CASHNet (via the Portal), in order for the funds to be directly deposited into your bank account.
Can I find my own accommodation and not pay part of the program fee?
Not if group accommodation is covered by the program fee.
However, some trips (for example Contemporary Art in LA) do not require that participants stay in group accommodation and for those trips the program fee does not include accommodation.
Can I get a single room?
This may be possible in some venues provided you pay a single supplement. If it is an option, you will be provided with details of the extra expense involved after registration. Single rooms are not possible in all venues because we typically stay in multi-bedded hotels, hostels and dorms.
What about roommates?
You will be able to list roommate preference/s on SAIC Self-Service, however please understand we cannot guarantee you will be roomed together. If you have a preference, (and your nominated roomie also names you) we will put you in the same room if circumstances and group numbers allow. Sometimes the type of accommodation, numbers of participants, and size of rooms means this is not possible.
Can I bring my partner/mother/sister etc.? Can they tag along if they just happen to be in the same cities at the same time?
Not unless they are registered for credit.
Do I need health insurance?
Yes. You will be required to confirm that your coverage extends abroad if you are going abroad.
Do I need a passport? Do I need a visa?
This depends on your citizenship and the countries you are traveling to and through. Come to an information meeting for specifics.
If you do need a passport and you don't have a current one, apply for it as soon as you register. Getting a passport takes much longer and may be more expensive than you think. If your current passport will expire within six months from the end of the trip, you also need to renew it. NOTE: If you are an international student (i.e., a non-US citizen), you need to contact the appropriate consulates to see if there are special visa requirements for you to enter your destination country. You will also need to ensure that your I-20 has been authorized for travel before departing the United States. Permanent Residents must also carry their green cards together with their passports so that they can re-enter the United States.
I am an international student at SAIC with an expired F-1 visa. Can I apply for a visa for my study trip? How do I renew my F-1 visa?
be sure that you are eligible. Carefully review the visa requirements of the country/ies you plan to visit on the study trip. Many countries require a valid, unexpired U.S. F-1 visa to apply for their visitor visa.
Check your passport to see if your F-1 visa has expired; if it has, you can either:
- travel outside the U.S. to renew your F-1 before you register for your SAIC study trip
- book your study trip flight with a stopover in your home country; plan to renew your F-1 visa either on the way or on your return
Note: most foreign consulates will grant you a visitor visa if you have evidence (flight ticket) that indicates you will stop over in your home country to renew your F-1 either before or after your study trip.
Meet with an international student advisor for questions or to discuss your plans in more detail.
Will there be a group airfare? Do I have to travel with the group to start and end the trip?
Usually not. We realize many students wish to use frequent flyer miles and/or have other departure points and post-trip destinations, so traveling with the group is not compulsory. However if you travel on your own, you must arrange your schedule to be at a prearranged meeting point on the first day and remain with the group until the final day. You will be asked to provide your flight schedule details to the Study Abroad office so we know when to expect you.
For some trips (e.g. trips to China) we may offer a group flight option through a travel agent and will supply details after registration. If you want to travel with the group, you will be asked to decide and respond quickly, and pay for your ticket directly to the travel agent.
How do I get more information?
Attend an information session. You can email the trip leaders, or the Study Abroad Office at StudyAbroad@saic.edu; call 312.629.6830, or visit the Sullivan Center, suite 1203.