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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


How is financial aid handled and how much will my program cost?
What should I do if a language professor is unable to fill out a recommendation for me because they no longer teach on campus?
Do I have to list specific courses in my 4 year plan? or How do I fill out the Proposed Courses form if courses aren't listed for my program?
How are credits handled?
Do the AP credits I transferred have any affect on my off-campus study credits?
Can I change my proposed courses?
Can I change the semester once I am approved?
Can I change my program after I am approved?
Can I study off campus for a year?
Can I study off campus for the summer?
Can I study off campus as an international student?
Will I need a passport or visa?
How should I obtain a parent/guardian signature for forms?
How will I register for classes while I am off campus?
What are my storage options while I am off-campus?

Am I allowed to study on a program that is not on the approved program list?

An Alternative Program Petition may be submitted.

How is financial aid handled and how much will my program cost?

Read information regarding financial aid, merit aid and billing of program costs under Tuition and Aid.

What should I do if a language professor is unable to fill out a recommendation for me because they no longer teach on campus?

Select another professor you have taken coursework with and send it to them.  Please note the name of the language professor and that they have left in the comments field of the email request.

Do I have to list specific courses? or How do I fill out the Proposed Courses form if courses aren't listed for my program?

Courses vary from year to year and may not be available for you to complete the form.  Ask your adviser to approve a tentative OCS course-plan. General courses may be listed such as English Seminar. Specific courses can be chosen when the schedule of courses is published. You may need to list Senior Seminar if specific courses aren't available.
   
Your academic adviser and the Off-Campus Study Board must approve any changes you make to your course-plan after receiving approval to study off campus.  We suggest working out an agreement in advance with your adviser on acceptable sorts of substitute courses you could take if your first choices are not available or conflict with others.  In this section, you may list both first-choice and alternative courses, putting an asterisk (*) by approved alternatives .  

Approval for any changes in course-plan can be made by contacting your adviser by email (copying the ocs@grinnell.edu on the message). If the course change is acceptable to your adviser, the OCS Office will check with the Registrar to verify the course is transferable to Grinnell (liberal arts course equivalents). Request approval for any changes from your original plan to guarantee Grinnell credit. The Registrar may deny any unapproved credit transfers.

How are credits handled?

Read about course credits and grades under Policies.

Do the AP credits I transferred have any affect on my off-campus study credits?

The 24 credit maximum of AP credits do not affect the transfer of your off campus study credits.

Can I change my proposed courses?  

 Approval for any changes in course-plan can be made by contacting your adviser by email (copying the ocs@grinnell.edu on the message). If the course change is acceptable to your adviser, the OCS Office will check with the Registrar to verify the course is transferable to Grinnell (liberal arts course equivalents). Request approval for any changes from your original plan to guarantee Grinnell credit. The Registrar may deny any unapproved credit transfers.

Can I change my semester once I am approved?

Appeals may be made to the OCS Board with a valid academic reason from your academic adviser.  In some years the numbers of students applying may not allow changes in semester to be made. Contact one of the OCS Directors by email.

Can I change my program after I am approved?

Yes, it is possible to change to another approved program. New applications materials will need to be submitted for review by the OCS Office.
• academic rationale for the program and change
• a list of proposed courses and updated 4 year plan approved by your academic adviser(s)
• a new waiver form signed by your parent(s) or guardians 

Can I study off-campus for a year?

There are currently four programs on the approved list that are a year by design; ACM Japan Study, Hamilton in France, London School of Economics and College Year in Athens. Petitions may be made for a full year off-campus.

Can I study off-campus for the summer?

Yes, however, the Office of Off-Campus Study does not manage summer study and financial aid does not transfer to summer programs. You may be able to transfer credits if approved by your academic adviser or department and meet the guidelines established under Transfer Credit. The office is unable to advise regarding summer programs.

Can I study off campus as an international student?

Yes, we encourage ALL students to participate in Off Campus Study. Whether you will participate in a U.S. based program, or an international program (which might require an additional immigration-related actions on your part) it is important to research these issues well in advance. U.S. based programs require compliance with SEVIS address reporting and internship authorization, for example. International programs require advance planning to insure your lawful travel to and entry of the OCS country, as well as your lawful return to the U.S. In addition to working with OCS staff and program providers, please visit the Office of International Student Affairs, and review their handout: F-1 International Travel, Internships, and Off Campus Study.  (International students who hold a visa status other than F-1 can also consult with the OISA.)

Will I need a passport and/or visa?

If your off campus study program is not in the United States, and you are a U.S. citizen, you will need to apply for or you may need to renew your passport. Passports typically need to be valid for 6 month's after a program's end date. Most answers to questions, such as fees or processing times, can be found on the U.S. Passports & International Travel site. Locally, the Grinnell Post Office (641-236-5353) provides in person passport application services. In addition to the application, you will need a certified copy of your birth certificate or a previous U.S. passport, proof of identity such as a driver's license, two official passport photos and a payment method. It is recommended you apply as soon as you are able.

Visas grant permission to reside in a country where you will be studying for a certain length of time. Visa requirements and fees vary from country to country. Your program will provide you with information once you send in your deposit confirming your place. In most cases, visa stamps are obtained by sending your passport to the embassy or consulate of the country where you will be studying. Please take this into consideration when you are making travel plans before your program begins that will require your passport.

Make copies of your passport and visa page and keep them separate from the originals. Leave a copy with family or relatives as a precaution. Safeguarding your passport is essential while you are travelling.

How should I obtain a parent/guardian signature for forms?

You can scan and email the form or provide a link. They can print, sign and scan it (a phone app or camera phone may be used) and send it back to you. Faxes may be an option as well. Don't forget to sign the form yourself before you scan it and upload it to your application.

How will I register for classes while I am off campus?

Instructions on how to register while off campus.

 What are my storage options while I am off-campus?

You will receive an email from Student Affairs regarding closing and storage options. Posters will also be available in Residence Halls with detailed information on instructions, available times and costs. You can direct storage questions and concerns to C&K Storage at (641)236-3418.