Updates: Spring 2021 Off-Campus Academic Programs

Due to the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic, Colgate has made the difficult decision to suspend all international and domestic off-campus programs for the spring 2021 semester. This includes all of the following:

  • Spring 2021 study groups
  • Spring 2021 Approved programs
  • The January 2021 extended study program

Colgate University’s travel policy prohibits university-sponsored travel for students and employees to countries where federal government travel advisories from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and U.S. Department of State exceed Level 2. Federal travel advisories for all of the countries in which we operate programs currently exceed this threshold, and there is no indication that these advisories will be lifted in the coming months. 

Colgate deeply values all of our off-campus study programs and the educational and cultural experiences they afford. This was a very difficult decision, but a necessary one that prioritizes the health and safety of participants on all of our off-campus study programs, and recognizes that the student experience studying off-campus during a global pandemic would not afford the immersive cultural and learning experiences that normally make studying off campus such a valuable growth opportunity.

Please refer to the FAQ section below for additional information. Thank you for your patience as we work through the challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis together. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Spring 2021

Please contact off-campusstudy@colgate.edu if you have questions that are not addressed here.

As of October 9, Colgate has cancelled all international and domestic study groups for spring 2021. Students have been notified of this university decision by the Office of Off-Campus Study. Faculty directors and program managers will be in contact with students enrolled in these study groups with specific information.

Colgate has cancelled student participation in all Approved Programs for the spring 2021 semester. All current applicants have been notified of this university decision by the Office of Off-Campus Study. Following the Colgate University travel policy, university-affiliated travel is prohibited under the current elevated federal travel advisories issued by the U.S. Department of State and the Center for Disease Control. Furthermore, changes to Approved Programs’ operations (program schedule, duration, method of instruction, course offerings) could impact students’ eligibility for academic transfer credit. 

Please contact the provider directly to withdraw your application. Please take the time to read and understand their withdrawal policies.

If you are interested in applying for an Approved Program for next year, please ask your provider about their procedures for this. In addition, you will need to update your Colgate application through the student portal.

For advising about study groups, contact the program managers:

For questions regarding approved programs, contact:

Information about the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 Colgate Study Groups can be found on the virtual study group fair. Students can watch brief faculty director videos and read descriptions about every study group offered next year. Students should watch for upcoming information sessions with individual faculty directors in the coming weeks.

Due to the fact that the university has cancelled all spring 2021 programs, students who paid the $450 deposit will see that amount credited to their Colgate student account. Students whose deposits were waived will not see a credit.

Yes; we will ask you to re-apply for the next academic year so that your academic record can be updated. Study group applications opened on October 7 and will close on November 4. Please apply early to be considered, as spots are limited on these programs.

Apply to a Study Group

Please read the Off-Campus Study study group cancelation follow-up message here.

Applications for Colgate permission to study on an Approved Program for next fall 2021 or spring 2022 will open on November 4 and will close on February 5.

Applying for Approved Programs

Note that these programs are operated by outside organizations and their deadlines will differ based on the individual program. You will also have to complete an application with the organization sponsoring the approved program of your choice. If attending one of these programs, you will still pay Colgate tuition and Colgate will pay the organization on your behalf. 

If the program is offered by the approved program provider to which you are already admitted (IFSA, CIEE, IES, etc), then moving forward with new plans should be easier as long as the specific program is on the Colgate-approved list. Students should verify with Off-Campus Study (off-campusstudy@colgate.edu) that any new program will be approved for your major and does not require additional administrative steps at Colgate. 

Guidance is available from Cas Sowa (csowa@colgate.edu) in the Off-Campus Study office. To obtain university approval for Approved Programs, ensure that you follow the procedures to apply to a new program.

Please read the Off-Campus Study Approved Program cancelation follow-up message here.

A wide range of factors influenced this decision including the rising incidence of COVID-19 cases in many countries and the uncertain path of the pandemic in the coming months; the continuation of the highest CDC (above level 2) and U.S. DOS (department of state) travel advisories (levels 3 or 4) for all of the countries in which we operate programs; existing border closures in some countries and the risk of additional closures; unpredictable risks to students and faculty directors, and the likelihood of remote learning at host universities and additional governmental restrictions, resulting in greatly diminished experiences on the ground.

Taken together, a determination was made that the sum of these risks is simply too large to be able to offer off-campus study programs this spring.

Previous Updates

1.  What is the status of Colgate Fall 2020 study groups?

In May, Colgate made the difficult decision to suspend all international study groups and the US-based, Santa Fe Study Group for fall 2020. All participants on these programs have been notified. We are deeply disappointed that the COVID-19 health crisis has impacted our off-campus programs in this way and we continue to review all options for students to pursue an off-campus study experience in the spring 2021 semester, including whether the fall study groups might be operated in the spring semester. We will continue to be in touch with the students enrolled on these programs as these plans develop. 

The only Colgate study group that we continue to plan for a fall 2020 operation is the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Study Group, which is based on Washington D.C., although whether this group will be able to operate as planned will depend on the status of NIH labs in the fall and a number of other factors.

2. What is the Status of Fall 2020 Approved Programs?

At this time, Colgate has not prevented students from remaining enrolled in external approved programs for Fall 2020. This provides time for approved program providers to make determinations about their plans for their Fall 2020 programs. However, Colgate policy does not permit students or employees to travel to countries with a U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or U.S. State Department travel advisories above a Level 2 for either agency. Currently, the U.S. Department of State and the CDC have placed all countries under their highest travel warning (“Do not travel”) due to health concerns related to COVID-19. In order to participate in your approved program, international travel restrictions for your host country mustbe reduced to a Level 2 travel advisory or lower by both agencies. Travel warnings for the CDC can be found at www.cdc.gov and for the U.S. Department of State at www.state.gov.

Colgate is in close communication with approved program leaders about plans for their fall programs. Students and their families should carefully review fall plans and discuss their comfort level with overseas study at this time. We will rely on the approved programs to inform us of their decisions to operate or not operate programs this fall, provided the governmental travel warnings are lowered to acceptable levels as described above. If approved programs alter their schedules, reduce the length of time abroad, or the method of instruction, this could impact eligibility for academic transfer credit. Please consult with the Off-Campus Study office about any change to the academic schedule or design of your approved program.

Students who wish to switch their plans to the spring should first notify off-campus study to review those plans. Provided you receive approval and paid a $450 deposit, you can ask for that deposit to be moved to the next semester.

3. Can I sign up for housing at Colgate in case my fall off-campus study plans change?

As noted in an email to all students from Provost Hucks and Dean McLoughlin on May 6, all students enrolled in fall off-campus study programs (both study groups and approved programs) will also be entered into the on-campus housing lottery process for the 2020-2021 academic year. Students are strongly encouraged to participate to secure on-campus housing options as a backup option should their program be canceled. Additional information on the Housing process can be found at the following link under the heading “Housing Selection 2020”: https://www.colgate.edu/covid-19-response/guidance-students

Please contact the Residence Life Office for additional information.

4. If I no longer plan to study abroad on a Colgate Study Group or an Approval Program, how do I formally withdraw from the program?

To withdraw from a fall 2020 study group, please email Off-Campus Study or log on to the off-campus study application site, locate your application status under My Applications, and click “withdraw.”  We ask that you notify your Off-Campus Study program manager (Susan Light or Wendy Nugent) in writing to let us know that you have decided to withdraw so that we can change your status with Colgate, freeing you to register for fall classes and to make housing arrangements. In addition, if you are enrolled in a study group, please notify your faculty director of your intent to withdraw.

5. Who can advise me about alternative off-campus study plans if my chosen program changes?

For study group changes, please email your program manager (Susan Light or Wendy Nugent) with your questions. For Approved Programs, please contact Cas Sowa with your questions.

6. If I decide not to study off-campus this fall after paying the $450 deposit, will Colgate refund my deposit?

Off-Campus Study understands students’ concerns regarding studying abroad during the fall 2020 semester due to COVID-19, and will therefore make an exception to our policy and refund the $450 deposit funds should a student decide to withdraw from a fall 2020 off-campus program. Students whose deposits were waived will not be eligible for a refund. If you have decided to withdraw from a fall 2020 study group, please locate your application status under My Applications, and click “withdraw,” or contact Off-Campus Study directly (off-campusstudy@colgate.edu) in order to have your Colgate information updated accurately.

7. If my fall study group or approved program is cancelled, can I apply to participate in the spring instead?

Students approved to study in the fall are not automatically approved to study in the spring semester.  Please review options on the off-campus website and contact our office at the addresses below. Students should contact the office of Off-Campus Study to review these plans before altering their status with an approved program or changing their status on the Colgate portal.

Please email Off-Campus Study (off-campusstudy@colgate.edu) or Cas Sowa.

8. Is it possible to switch to a different location abroad instead?

It may be possible to make a late application to another fall program location, but deadlines are quickly approaching. Please contact Off-Campus Study to obtain University approval and to ensure that you follow the procedures to apply to a new program. If the program is offered by the approved program provider you are already admitted to (IFSA, CIEE, etc), then moving forward with new plans should be very easy as long as the specific program is already on the Colgate approved list.  Students should verify with Off-Campus Study that any new program will be approved for your major and does not require additional steps at Colgate.

9. What external factors affect the status of international programs?

Colgate study groups and approved programs have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as by local and international government regulations to preserve public health. We will continue to monitor the status of consular services (visa processing), international airline routes, and border access. In addition, local communities might take some time to get back to normal following the COVID-19 pandemic. This could mean that restaurants, museums, and healthcare facilities are not functioning at full capacity. In addition, Colgate is working closely with international partner universities on dates and the likelihood of face-to-face classes in the fall.