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COVID-19 & Study Abroad: FAQ

Last updated January 14, 2022 

 

COVID-19 & Study Abroad: FAQ

 

Has SJU cancelled any study abroad programs due to COVID-19 for the current or future semester?

 
Spring 2022
Spring 2022 semester abroad programs are taking place as planned, with the exception of programs suspended by the program provider or not approved by the University.
 
Spring 2022 study tours are scheduled to take place as planned. The University will review each tour during the spring semester. Students are advised not to make any non-refundable payments for their study tour until a University update for their study tour is provided. 
 
Summer 2022
 
Applications are being accepted for Summer 2022 study  abroad programs. The University will review each program during the spring semester. Students are advised not to make any non-refundable payments for their summer abroad program until a University update for summer student travel is provided. 
 

I’m planning to travel abroad, can I apply for a U.S. passport at this time? 

 
You can still apply for a new or renewed U.S. passport, but you should expect delays before receiving your passport. Current processing time for routine service applications is 8-11 weeks. You also have the option of paying an additional $60 for expedited service to receive your passport in 5-7 weeks.
 
Due to anticipated delays, if you are planning on studying abroad during Spring, Summer or Fall 2022, you are strongly encouraged to apply for a passport as soon as possible. 
 
Refer to the U.S. State Department Update on U.S. Passport Operations for the most current information, and visit their Passport Agency and Center page to check on the status of passport agencies and centers. To see the current wait times to receive your passport and the return of your citizenship documents (such as previous passports and birth/naturalization certificates), please see the U.S. State Department’s Processing Times page.

Should I purchase Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance?

While the University will provide decisions on each program based on the timelines set, it is important to note that conditions may continue to evolve after a decision is made. Host institutions or program providers may make cancellations, or students may voluntarily opt to withdraw. To protect funds committed toward a study abroad experience, the CIP strongly recommends that students purchase Trip Cancellation & Interruption insurance. 
 
SJU does not endorse any specific insurance carrier, but we have compiled below a list of websites to assist with your research. AAA, your car insurance company and your credit card company may offer Trip Cancellation benefits as well. Please obtain online quotes to compare or speak with an insurance representative:  
Each carrier provides different levels of services at different rates, so it is important to understand exactly what is covered by a particular plan before purchasing, particularly in regard to COVID-related cancellations. In many cases, losses due to COVID may not be covered by a standard plan. Students may need to look for special coverage, such as a “Cancel for Any Reason” plan. It is strongly advised that you speak with the insurance provider to understand details of a specific plan, as even “Cancel for Any Reason” coverages may vary between providers.

How will I know if my program is cancelled or postponed?

SJU will directly contact students with updates via email. SJU reaches out to students’ designated emergency contacts only in specific situations, such as when a student has been incapacitated or when we cannot reach the student. All members of the SJU community can find updates related to COVID-19 on this page, and at https://www.sju.edu/hawk-hill-ahead 

How does SJU make decisions about its study abroad programs?

SJU takes guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. Department of State, and the World Health Organization (WHO). When making decisions about specific programs, we also consider local conditions as well as input from peer institutions and our overseas partners.
 
Prior to cancelling a Study Tour or Summer Program, we first explore all viable alternatives, such as postponing a program. For those programs that are postponed, the details of what a postponement will look like will be communicated directly with the participants, and the outcome for each program could be different. 
 

What would happen if an SJU study abroad program was cancelled?

SJU Study Tours/Summer Programs:
 
Deposits submitted for a study tour or summer program are fully refundable prior to the University travel decision for that program. Students will not be charged additional fees by SJU for study abroad until the University has reviewed the status of their tour or program. 
 
Should travel on a study tour or summer program be approved after University review,  students  will be held to the CIP’s withdrawal policy as captured in the Terms of Participation in Program Agreement (Study Tours and Summer Programs) on which students sign off as part of their application. 
 
In the event a decision is made by the University to cancel or suspend a program after the initial University review, Saint Joseph’s University will issue recoverable cost refunds, but only if and when SJU has recovered actual expenses from its vendors.  Please note that the University is working diligently to ensure that as many costs as possible are recoverable. 
 
Tuition is not refundable if students are provided an option to continue pursuing a course for credit. As refunds are not guaranteed, the CIP recommends that students purchase Trip Cancellation & Interruption insurance to protect funds committed to a study abroad experience. Suggested websites to research insurance options can be found above.
 
SJU Approved Semester Abroad Programs:
 
If a future semester abroad program were cancelled prior to the start of the SJU semester, students would be able to enroll in SJU courses. No tuition refund would be issued, as tuition remains the same for students participating in a semester abroad and students taking classes full-time at SJU . 
 
Semester abroad confirmation deposits submitted to SJU for Spring 2022 and Fall 2022 are fully refundable should a student withdraw due to COVID-19 or should a program be cancelled. 
 
As non-tuition fees are paid directly by students to their abroad programs, refund policies will vary.  Be sure to fully review the partner program’s refund policy as SJU has no control over another institution’s policies. 
 
Fall 2022 semester abroad students are advised not to make any non-refundable payments for their study abroad experience until a University update on the status of fall student travel has been provided. A University update on the status of Fall 2022 travel will be provided in June 2022. 
 
As conditions may continue to evolve after a University decision is issued for a program, students are advised to be aware of refund and cancellation policies before making any payments to external providers. As refunds are not guaranteed, the CIP recommends that students purchase Trip Cancellation & Interruption insurance to protect funds committed to a study abroad experience. Suggested websites to research insurance options can be found above.

My Study Tour/SJU Summer Program was postponed to 2022 and I want to be a part of it. Will I need to reapply?

Yes, you will need to reapply.  If your program was postponed to 2022, it is possible that the terms of the program (dates, itinerary, etc.) and cost have changed. You will need to submit a new application to confirm that you wish to participate and that you accept the new program terms and cost.  Certain question items from your previous application can be carried over to your 2022 application (please contact the CIP at studyabroad@sju.edu to do so). Please note that application deadlines still apply, so be sure to notify the CIP of your plans as soon as possible if you wish to participate. 
 
Students who were previously confirmed participants on a Study Tour or SJU Summer Program will be given priority if they reapply.

I withdrew from a previous Semester Abroad due to covid-19, or my program was cancelled. I would like to go abroad in Fall 2022. Will I need to reapply?

No, you will not need to reapply. If your application for a previous semester abroad was previously approved and you plan to defer your participation to Fall 2022, please do not open a new application. Please contact the CIP at studyabroad@sju.edu for assistance in reopening your application. 

What would happen if a student withdraws from a future study abroad program out of concern for COVID-19?

SJU understands that personal circumstances may vary, and that final decisions will be made between students and families. All enrolled study abroad students may voluntarily withdraw from a study abroad program at any time. Deposits submitted for summer 2022 and fall 2022 study abroad are fully refundable should a student withdraw due to concern for COVID-19. Students will not be charged additional fees by SJU for study abroad until the University has reviewed the status of travel. Should travel be approved after University review,  students  will be held to the CIP’s withdrawal policy as captured in the Terms of Participation in Program Agreement (Study Tours and Summer Programs) or Academic, Disciplinary and Financial Waiver (Semester/Year Abroad), on which students sign off as part of their application.
 
Semester abroad students pay non-tuition fees directly to their programs abroad, and non-SJU summer & winter program students pay all fees directly to their programs abroad.  Students are advised not to make any non-refundable payments for their study abroad experience until a University update on student travel for their intended term abroad has been provided. As conditions may continue to evolve after a University decision is issued, students are advised to be aware of refund and cancellation policies for any non-SJU fees, such as housing costs or airfare. Many programs have published information on their websites for future students. If you are not sure how to contact a program representative, the CIP will be happy to assist. 

If my fall 2022 semester abroad program is cancelled, or I voluntarily withdraw, are there on-campus housing options for me?

SJU has a two-year residency requirement; first and second year students, and some transfer students, are required to live on campus.  This requirement is waived for students participating in SJU study abroad programs for only the semester they are abroad.    
 
On-campus housing will be available  for students who sign  a 2022-2023 Housing Agreement. If your Fall 2022 program is suspended after University review in June, you will retain your space in campus housing for the Fall 2022 semester.
 
If Fall 2022 travel is approved and you choose to move forward with your study abroad experience, your space in on-campus housing will be released for the fall semester.  You will be housed on campus for the spring semester, though potentially not in your original housing assignment. Should a student withdraw, or should a study abroad program be cancelled, the University will make every effort to house students on campus if availability allows. 
 
Students who have not signed a 2022-2023 Housing Agreement should discuss availability with the Office of Residence Life.
 

Who can I contact about study abroad and COVID-19?

CIP Staff can be reached at studyabroad@sju.edu or 610-660-1835 Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm. After business hours, on holidays and weekends call SJU Public Safety at 610-660-1111
 
Please note that this page will be updated frequently as new information becomes available. All are encouraged to refer back regularly for the latest information. 

What resources does SJU recommend for reliable updates regarding COVID-19?