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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the eligibility requirements?

    Any student who is enrolled full-time and be in good standing with UNC the semester prior to exchange is eligible. In addition, students must have an overall GPA of at least 2.5 and have completed 24 credits before exchange.  Some exchange schools require a higher GPA.

  • Is UNC a Plan A or Plan B school?

    UNC is a Plan B school only, thus you can only choose other Plan B schools.

  • How much will it cost to participate in the NSE?

    Students must pay a one-time application fee of $300. This application fee is non-refundable. Tuition and fees are paid to UNC, so you will continue to pay your current tuition rate and fees. Housing, meals, books, insurance (only sometimes), etc, are paid at the host school. Costs associated with enrollment in certain courses at your host campus may have fees associated with them. NSE students on exchange are responsible to pay these fees when applicable (i.e. lab fees, art and photography supplies, field studies, etc.)

    View Costs

  • Do I have to enroll full time at the host school?

    Yes. UNC students are expected to maintain full-time status at the host school for the entire duration of exchange. You must be a full-time student to be eligible for financial aid.

  • Can I use my financial aid to help pay tuition and other costs?

    Yes. UNC students who receive financial aid at UNC may use this money to help pay for tuition and other associated costs such as meals and housing. Students that receive scholarships from private sources should contact the sponsors to confirm that the money can be used for an exchange. When completing your FAFSA, students should enter UNC’s school code.

  • Can I participate in an NSE exchange AND a study abroad?

    Absolutely! We've had multiple students who have enjoyed various combinations of NSE exchange, international exchange, and short-term programs throughout their UNC career.

  • Can I go on an exchange with a friend?

    Yes! NSE makes it easy with the "linked students" option. As "linked students," two or more individuals are either all accepted or all rejected from various campuses. One of the best parts of the "linked students" option is that linked students don't have to be from the same home university. Do you have a friend from high school who went to a different university? Both of you could do an NSE exchange to a third campus and study together!

  • Can I exchange to a school on a quarter-system?

    Yes, though with some qualifications. The easiest way to exchange to a quarter school is to go for the entire year. Because UNC's semesters are 15 weeks long, UNC mandates that you must receive at least 15 weeks of instruction per UNC exchange period (this has to do with financial aid, course transfer, and full-time status). Since quarters are only 10 weeks long, you will have to exchange for at least two quarters. This is only feasible during UNC's spring semester as quarter schools offer winter and spring quarter during that time.

    Fall quarter only exchanges are not possible.

  • What should I consider when choosing an exchange campus?
    • What do I hope to gain from the exchange experience educationally and personally?
    • Are the classes I take while on exchange flexible? (Being dependent on a specific course/s for graduation is not a good idea)
    • When is the best semester to go on exchange?
    • Will participating on exchange delay graduation? If so, is that a problem?
    • How will specialized or unique course offerings at the host campus enhance my academic program and career objectives?
    • Is the host campus significantly different from the home campus to make it an interesting exchange?
    • Is the host campus on the same academic calendar as my own? (If you are moving between quarter and semester calendars, you should plan for an academic year exchange.)
  • Do I have to live on campus?

    Some schools require you to live on campus, while other schools have limited on-campus housing availability to NSE students.  A few campuses have no on-campus housing.  You should check out each schools profile on the NSE website to determine housing options.

  • Does every U.S. university participate in NSE? 

    No. There are nearly 200 participating schools throughout the United States, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

    See Participating Schools

  • How do I apply for participation in NSE? What are the deadlines? 

    Students who want to apply for NSE must meet with and NSE Coordinator in the CIE's Study Abroad & Exchange office and pick up an application. The application deadline is February 20th the year preceding the exchange.

    Most students are "placed" at their host schools at the annual Priority Placement Conference in March. At this conference, NSE coordinators from around the country meet to place students for the entire upcoming school year. This means that students who want to study away during the 2013-2014 school year are placed in March 2013, etc. While it is possible to secure a placement outside of this conference (called a "post-conference placement" in NSE lingo), we highly recommend you aim for the conference as approximately 30% of schools are no longer available after the conference.

    If you cannot meet the priority placement schedule, don't fret! We place students throughout the year as "post conference placements." These placements are handled on a rolling, case-by-case basis depending on availability. Stop in the CIE office to find out more about open schools.

  • How do I register for classes at the host school and for the semester I return home?

    Once a student is placed at the host site, the host school NSE Coordinator will send additional application materials, class registration forms, housing applications and any other paperwork needed for enrollment. Once the material is received, the students must follow time schedules and guidelines for registration issued by the host school.

    Each campus works a little differently. Some offer NSE students priority in registration. Others do not. The best way to see possible courses is to browse the member campus pages. Most campuses have a link in the bottom left corner to their course catalog. This is a great place to start.

    You will schedule your UNC courses for your return in the same way as current UNC students. The only tricky part will be remembering the time zones between your host campus and UNC!

  • Will the courses I take at my host campus transfer back to UNC?

    Yes, all academic courses taken at your host campus will transfer back. Courses will appear as transfer credits, which do not impact your GPA. However, you will need to earn an equivalent of a C- or better in order to receive transfer credit.

    As part of the advising process, the NSE Coordinator will talk about how courses will transfer back as UNC credits, including major and LAC requirements.

  • Can I work while exchanging at another school?

    Yes, but we advise students to not depend on jobs to fund an exchange. We cannot guarantee that you will find a job or that it will pay you enough to meet your expenses. However, one of the benefits of doing an exchange through NSE versus other study abroad/exchanges is that you are able to work. Some students like to take advantage of the location of the host school and look for future employers.

  • How long can I stay on exchange and can I extend my exchange?

    Students can exchange for one year. That means 1 Fall and 1 Spring semester with a summer session. You may extend your exchange as long as you do not go over the one year limit.

  • When will I find out that I have been accepted to a host school?

    The UNC NSE Coordinator places and accepts students at an annual NSE Placement Conference in mid-March. After the Coordinator returns from the conference, he/she will contact students with their placements.