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International Programs Office

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Information for Parents

The International Programs Office (IPO) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is pleased to be able to send your son or daughter abroad in the coming semester or year. We believe that you can be proud of his/her desire to experience another culture and embark on this exciting journey.

Studying abroad in college is perhaps the most important adventure your son/ daughter will experience. As parents, your support is important throughout the entire process. Ultimately, the responsibility of studying abroad rests on the student, and at IPO, we expect students to manage the entire process on their own to get the most out of the experience. We are available throughout the process and upon their return to UMass. 

This website is filled with information about applying and going abroad, preparing and financing the program, and thinking about a successful return home.

Bills and Financial Aid

UMass Amherst Programs require payment of a $600 non-refundable deposit due once your student has been accepted by UMass to study abroad. Your student will receive a bill for the deposit as well as the entire program, and a copy will also be mailed home. The deposit amount is credited to your son or daughter's account and will lower the total due on the date indicated for final payment. Please note the items this bill covers. For many programs only an academic fee to cover tuition and fees is paid to IPO.  Housing, RT airfare, and other costs are often separate. Check the specific budget for your son or daughter's program. Estimates for other costs are provided separately and can be found on each program page under "Program Costs," as soon as this information is available. Ultimately, the bill (minus deposit) will be listed on your student's Bursar's account for the semester abroad. This "Exchange" fee will not be broken down on the Bursar's bill but you can find the cost breakdown on the IPO Program-specific website under "budgets" for each semester. Additional costs are revealed, both those billed through the Bursar's as well as estimates for those expenses not billed through UMass.

Partner Programs (non-UMass, approved programs) also require a non-refundable deposit soon after notification of program acceptance. It is important to understand the deadlines and payments required by the Partner Program. Your student is expected to read all materials in acceptance packets. IPO staff are available to help answer any questions about these programs or required materials. Once your student has submitted all required paperwork to IPO and checked on their SPIRE account to make sure there are no academic or financial "holds", the only fee listed on the Bursar's bill is generally the Education Abroad Fee. Your student will be making arrangements to pay the Partner Program directly as UMass does not make payments to Partner Programs.

Education Abroad Fee. There is a $750 UMass Amherst Education Abroad Fee for all students participating on UMass and Partner Programs for a semester or longer.  There is a $250 Education Abroad Fee for short-term Partner Programs. This fee, along with required forms and documents on file with IPO will assure the following: maintenance of fulltime UMass student status while on approved program abroad; SPIRE remains active; Fin Aid can be applied to overseas program; pre-approval of courses toward the UMass degree program; transcripting; grades and credits will be interpreted and applied to the UMass transcript upon return. In addition, students are provided with ongoing advising throughout the process. Pre-departure orientations are offered the semester before studying abroad. All UMass Amherst students are also covered by UMass International Travel & Emergency Insurance while participating on an approved, overseas program. 

Financial Aid. For information on how Financial Aid can be used for studying abroad, visit the Financial Aid Office website. If your student receives any financial aid (loans, waivers, scholarships), they must attend ONE financial aid meeting to learn how their aid can be used to study abroad. Once your student completes all the requirements listed on their IPO online checklist/account and submit all the paperwork required to the Financial Aid Office and the student's aid package is determined, financial aid may be used toward paying for studying abroad. Important information is provided at the Fin Aid Meetings. Parents are welcome.

Bursar's Billing or Partner Program Billing. Full payment of the bill is due as stated on your bill unless your student has arranged a payment plan. If financial aid awards do not cover the full amount of the bill, the difference must be paid by the deadline stated on your bill. Many students must consider "Alternative Loans," as well as notifying a Program Provider with documentation on any Financial Aid to be received toward the study abroad semester. The UMass Financial Aid Office and Partner Programs work together in documenting financial aid. For more information, go the the Financial Aid Office website and make sure your student attends one of the Financial Aid Study Abroad Workshops.

For all UMass Amherst program payments, including deposits, checks can be made payable to "University of Massachusetts Amherst" and mailed  or dropped off at:

William S. Clark International Center
467 Hills South
111 Thatcher Road, Ofc 2
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003 USA

Questions regarding bills and financial aid can be directed to Kate Smith at 413.545.2710.


IPO is proactive in making sure your student will be safe while studying abroad. For more information, see links below. In the unlikely event of an emergency, please contact UMass International Programs Office 413.545.2710 or after hours contact Campus Security at 413-545-2121. Explain the need to contact someone in IPO.


UMass Amherst requires that all students maintain some form of primary medical insurance coverage valid in both the U.S. and host country before, during and after the education abroad period.

Additionally, the University has purchased an international travel insurance package which provides coverage and services to UMass students participating in university sponsored and approved international study abroad programs and faculty, staff and volunteers on approved international travel for university business.  For more detailed information on health insurance, see links below.



Your son or daughter will participate in pre-departure orientation sessions at UMass before leaving.  Sessions are conducted by IPO staff. Some orientation sessions include  UMass international students here on exchange as well as students who have returned from abroad. We discuss many aspects of practical planning and adjustment and go over the procedures and information they receive from the Program Advisor or the Program Handbook. In light of current world conditions, we will emphasize the need for careful consideration when making travel plans, the importance of clear and regular communication with family and sensible tips on safety - all of which have long been a regular part of our orientations. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.


Length of Stay and Examination Policy

Students must take all examinations as scheduled by their host university/college. Special assessment arrangements for visiting students are not acceptable on a routine basis. Semester students are expected to stay through the maximum period possible (i.e. to the end of exam period in May, June or July) and take all exams offered to less than full year students.

Culture Shock

Nearly every participant in a study abroad program undergoes some form of culture shock, with vastly different manifestations. Whether your son or daughter is a letter-writer or uses email or the phone, you will undoubtedly notice traces of it in his/her communications. Everything is rosy and wonderful, or everything is just awful ?with no middle ground?for the first several months. It is only after real adjustments have been made that the student becomes able to assess things in perspective, seeing both the good and the bad aspects of life in a foreign country. Some students use their parents as sounding boards for new ideas during the year, and actually feel that the semester away brings them closer. In any case, contact with you is apt to be very important to your child while s/he is away. If at any time you feel that s/he is in a genuinely bad situation, please notify us as soon as possible so that we can take steps that may be available to us to alleviate the situation.

Additional Links


This page is maintained by the International Programs Office 
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Last modified 04/11/2014