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Study Abroad Policies


  • Read all of the information contained in this document.
  • Create an account on the online application system, and then complete the online application process on that site.
  • Upload to your Simpson SC Connect account: a copy of your current degree audit, the data page from your passport or completed passport application form, anda copy of your receipt from the Business Office showing that you’ve made the $200 deposit payment.
  • A student may apply to only one international travel course at a time.  If she/he does not get accepted into the course to which she/he has applied, then the student may then apply to participate in a different course.
  • Applications for a Dr. Joe Walt International Education Scholarship are due by the priority deadline for travel course applications.

Selection process

Complete travel course applications will be forwarded on to the course’s instructor(s) for review. All elements of the application will be considered (e.g., GPA, major, previous coursework taken, class standing, and the essay).  The faculty for each course will establish her/his/their own criteria by which the applications will be judged and which elements will be weighted more heavily than others.  Applicants who take the time to write a good application essay can help their application stand out and increase the chance of them being accepted into the course.

Selection decisions will be announced via email by the Office of International Education.

Applications received after priority deadline will be processed on a rolling basis.  Selection decisions will be announced approximately two weeks after the application is submitted.


You will be notified if you are 1) accepted into the course; 2) not accepted into the course; or 3) conditionally accepted based upon academic or disciplinary probation status.  In the event a course is filled or cancelled due to low enrollment, students will be notified and given the option to apply for another course which still has openings.

Academic Status

Applicants to study abroad on a short-term international travel course should be in good academic standing with the college with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0, both at the time of application and at the time of departure.  Students on academic or disciplinary probation are not allowed to study abroad.  Applicants for semester-long study abroad programs must have at least a 2.5 GPA both at the time of application and at the time of departure, unless the program to which they’re applying has a higher minimum GPA requirement such as the London, England semester program (2.8).

Academic Prerequisites

Some travel courses may have a prerequisite.  Students who are enrolled in a course that is a prerequisite for an international travel course must satisfactorily complete that prerequisite in order to participate in the travel course.  If the student does not satisfactorily complete the required prerequisite course, she/he is responsible for all the cancellation penalties related to the travel course according to the policies stated in this booklet.


Acceptance into an international travel course results in you being automatically registered for the course.  Accepted students need not go through the registration process.


Some travel courses spend the entire term off-campus, while in others, there is both an on-campus and an off-campus portion.  A mandatory pre-departure orientation is offered by the Office of International Education for all international travel course participants, typically several weeks prior to departure.


It is important to note that deposit payments are only refundable in two situations:

  1. If you are not accepted into the course to which you’ve applied; or
  2. If the course to which you’ve applied and accepted gets cancelled due to low-enrollment.


Program fees for travel courses are charged in addition to regular Simpson tuition.  For May Term travel courses, spring semester tuition covers the tuition costs for May Term.  Travel course fees are estimates and include round-trip transportation from Des Moines (except where indicated), any required entry visas, prorating of instructors’ expenses, normally breakfast and one other meal per day, transportation for required study excursions, entrance fees,  and tickets for scheduled group events, as well as accommodations, most often based on two or three persons sharing a room.  Private baths are usually not provided.

NOTE: All fees listed are the most accurate estimates possible.  These costs are subject to change due to the rate of inflation and the fluctuating rate of exchange.  These factors might necessitate the cancellation of a course if enrollment is not sufficient.  If it is necessary to update costs one way or the other, this information will be provided to students as soon as possible.

Financial Aid

Loans may be available to help cover some of the cost of international travel courses.  Contact the Office of Financial Assistance for more information.

Payment Schedule and Withdrawal Policies

All international travel courses have the same, non-refundable, initial deposit in the amount of $200 each, and this deposit is due to the Business Office at the time of application. Please keep this in mind as you’ll need to make a payment to the Business Office in the form of cash, a personal check, or with a Mastercard, American Express, or Discover card before your application will be accepted as complete and can be considered.  Please note that the Simpson College Business Office does NOT accept Visa as a form of payment so please plan accordingly.

The balance of the travel course fees will be due to the Business Office by the Friday before classes start for the spring semester for May Term international travel courses, and for summer international travel courses, it will be due June 1.

Medical Withdrawals

Students who must withdraw from a travel course for medical reasons will receive a refund of all recoverable funds, minus the non-refundable deposit.  The student must provide the Office of International Education with a doctor’s statement verifying that the student is medically unable to participate in the program.

Bereavement Withdrawals

Students who must withdraw from a travel course due to the death of an immediate family member (parent, grandparent, or sibling) will receive a refund of all recoverable funds.  The student must provide the Office of International Education with appropriate documentation along with the refund request.  Please review the simpson-may-term-payment-and-refund-policy document for more details about payments and refunds associated with May Term international travel courses.

Termination from the Program

Prior to departure: If a student is terminated from the travel course by Simpson College as a result of disciplinary or behavioral problems, fees will be assessed as necessary and will vary depending on the course and date of termination.

After the course has begun: No refunds will be made and no credit will be awarded to students who are terminated from the travel course as a result of disciplinary or behavioral problems.  If Simpson College is forced to cancel a travel course, all program funds will be refunded.

Documents Required for International Travel Courses

Participants must be in possession of a valid United States passport.  You will need to provide the Office of International Education with a copy of the date page from your passport.

NOTE: If you already have a passport, check to see when it expires.  In order the meet the entry requirements of most countries, the passport needs to be valid for at least six months beyond the planned return date back to the U.S.  If your passport expires before that point, you will need to apply to renew your passport.

Application for a passport can be completed either at the Warren County Recorders Office in the Warren County Administration Building or online at the US State Department’s website.  Cost for a new passport is $145, and it will likely take 10 – 12 weeks for the US State Department to process passport applications, so apply early.

NOTE: If you are not a US Citizen, please notify the Office of International Education of your nationality as soon as you are accepted into your travel course so that office staff can check to see if additional documentation is required in your case.

Certain countries require an entry visa.  Participants will be advised of visa application and picture requirements.

Certain inoculations will be recommended or required for some international travel courses.  Specific information on inoculations and where and when to obtain them will be given to participants as soon as it is available.

For more information, contact:

Matthew Kaye
Office of International Education
Simpson College

Tel:  515.961.1288
Fax: 515.961.1674