In an email to students, the University of New Hampshire’s Global Education Center announced their decision to cancel all fall 2020 study abroad programs in accordance with their International Travel Risk Policy.
“It is with sadness and disappointment that UNH is announcing the cancellation of all student international travel programs and experiences for the Fall 2020 semester in accordance with our International Travel Risk Policy. The U.S. State Department Global Health Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel remains in effect due to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Applications for January and Spring 2021 remain open with the hope that education abroad programs can resume next year.”
Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), the United States Department of State updated their Global Health Advisory to Level 4, encouraging individuals to refrain from any and all international travel.
According to UNH’s International Travel Risk Policy, student travel is prohibited in areas the U.S. Department of State deems a Level 3: Reconsider Travel or a Level 4: Do Not Travel.
This decision comes following the university’s decision to cancel all summer study abroad programs as well. Many international borders remain closed, with most rejecting tourist and student visas for international travelers.
According to UNH’s Global Education Center, 25 students are impacted by this decision for the Fall 2020 semester.
Despite the Global Education Center canceling international travel for students, Study Away U.S.A. programs remain open and available for students to participate.
The Global Education Center has delegated numerous responsibilities to program providers in dealing with students who have been impacted by this decision. Students are urged to contact their Approved Program providers in order to request a refund for their deposit.
According to the Global Education Center’s landing page, students are urged to speak with their advisors about their course requirement eligibility if their experience was cut short or canceled. Students are not guaranteed to satisfy their course requirements should they be restricted from the full study abroad experience.
“Please discuss your individual situation with your Academic Advisor, IA Advisor, Language Advisor, or Honors Advisor.”
As COVID-19 cases were on the rise in early 2020, the Global Education Center recommended that students register for classes at UNH in the fall in the event that their study abroad programs get canceled to ensure academic continuity. For students who did not do this, they must register and find space in available classes. Students will now have to wait until July 8th in order to register for courses, as the announcement came after the May 4th deadline for regular registration.
Applications for study abroad for January term and spring 2021 remain open, however the university continues to monitor and assess the pandemic, and will adjust accordingly.
Beth Kilinc, the administrative director for education abroad at the Global Education Center was asked how drastic the financial impact of the cancellation of Study Abroad would be to UNH.
“This decision was determined by UNH policy, U.S. Dept. of State Travel Advisories and travel policies of other countries. Finances were not a factor.”
The Global Education Center did not disclose the impact on finances for the University.
According to The New York Times, by July 1, the European Union is slated to reopen its borders as the spread of COVID-19 has slowed dramatically since March.
Officials continue to debate on what travelers should be accepted abroad. One such list in consideration would ban Russian, Brazilian, and American travelers, citing their failure to contain the spread of COVID-19. Should the European Parliament vote to restrict American travelers, it could prove problematic for future Study Abroad Programs at UNH. The list is said to be revised every two weeks based on data from the respective countries.
This benchmark is based on the average number of cases per 100,000 citizens in the EU, which is 16. The United States currently sits at 107.
According to a report from The Washington Post, seven states have reported their highest number of hospitalizations since the pandemic began. The United States is beginning to see a rise in COVID-19 cases across the nation, which could severely impede international travel for students in the future.