COVID-19 Updates for Education Abroad 

NOTE: This page is an archive and will no longer be updated. See COVID-19 Updates and Policies for Learning Abroad or COVID-19 Updates for Travelers.

News and Announcements

Updates and information related to travel and the COVID-19 outbreak will be updated here as needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are study abroad programs continuing?

The University of Minnesota has suspended all education abroad programs for May and Summer session programs.

On 06/15/20, the restriction against non-essential international travel for University purposes—which applies to students, faculty, and staff—was extended through August 15. The University will continue to follow public health guidance and revisit this issue in mid-July.

Will I get a refund of my education abroad costs?

If you are traveling through an education abroad office: A refund policy was developed and approved by University leadership to ensure consistency across the UMN system. Your program contact will clarify which column you fall under, based on your program and situation. This refund policy does not apply to independent travelers.

Is there a deadline to return to the U.S. if my program has been suspended?

Students should make every effort to return to the U.S. by Friday, March 20. This deadline was chosen in order to ensure students can complete the required period of self-isolation before in-person classes, which are currently scheduled to resume on April 1. Change your existing flight rather than cancel and purchase a new flight. (See tips from U Travel on changing your flight.)

We understand travel arrangements can be difficult at this time and it might not be possible to meet this deadline. We are considering extensions on a case-by-case basis. Students who wish to request an extension, should reach out to their program contact with specific rationale for their need for an exception and the date they plan to return to the U.S. Extension requests will be reviewed in consultation with the University’s Director of International Health, Safety, and Compliance.

Are there any restrictions on people who return from an affected area?

All returning travelers will be expected to comply with guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health pertaining to returning to their communities. Students who have issues with their housing due to this period of self-isolation should contact their education abroad program contact.

Will the University be arranging transportation for students who are abroad?

The University does not have the resources to individually assist the hundreds of UMN travelers abroad. It is best for students to arrange their own travel. (See tips from U Travel on changing your flight.) Each student's situation is unique, and arranging group travel could slow down the process and reduce options. Students should make every effort to return to the U.S. by Friday, March 20.

How will I continue my studies?

If you are on a program offered through the Learning Abroad Center, Carlson Global Institute, or any of the education abroad offices in the UMN system, you will receive additional information from your program team or education abroad office in regard to academics. If your travel is not associated with one of these offices, contact your department for more information about how you can continue meeting enrollment requirements.

What if I choose to stay in a Level 3 country?

While we strongly discourage staying in a Level 3 country, we understand that some students may choose not to return to the U.S. If you decide to remain abroad, you must take a formal Leave of Absence (LOA) from the University of Minnesota for the semester.

Taking a Leave of Absence (LOA) from the University is equivalent to separating from the University. Doing so means you no longer have student status at the University. As a result, you cannot continue to be enrolled in or engaged with an education abroad opportunity offered by the University.

The University has duty of care obligations to students abroad. As a result, University policy has been that student travel is not allowed in high-risk destinations, defined as Department of State (DOS) or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Level 3. There is no option to remain a University student in locations that have been designated as high-risk by the DOS and/or CDC. If you wish to receive credit for your semester abroad, you will need to return to the United States to continue your coursework remotely.

If you are a financial aid recipient, and you choose to take a LOA and are no longer enrolled, the University will need to review the financial aid you have received and return a portion of it to the originating funding source (e.g., Federal Department of Education, Minnesota Office of Higher Education, University scholarships, etc.). If you are considering a LOA, please contact One Stop Student Services at or 612-624-1111 or 1-800-400-8636 to discuss the potential impact to your financial aid.

Additionally, our partner institutions and affiliate programs will not allow you to continue because program participation is reliant on your status as a University of Minnesota student.

If you choose to take a LOA:

  • You must request an LOA through your campus directly.
  • You must also complete and sign a release and waiver and return it to