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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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Read information regarding financial aid, merit aid and billing of program costs under Tuition and Aid. Need-based aid, merit aid and Questbridge funds are portable. Students approved for Off-Campus Study programs who wish to receive aid must go through the same financial aid process as students intending to remain on campus. All financial aid deadlines and requirements still apply. 
Courses vary from year to year and may not be available for you to complete the form but you should be able to access courses offered in the past and use those as a preliminary plan.  Your academic adviser(s) will need to review your tentative OCS course plan as part of your application. General courses may be listed such as English Seminar. You may need to list Senior Seminar if specific courses aren't available. Specific courses can be chosen when the schedule of courses is published.  
   
Your academic adviser(s) must approve any changes you make to your course plan after receiving approval to study off campus and the OCS office should also be notified.  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.  On the OCS Proposed Course form, 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 ocs@grinnell.edu on the message). If you have any questions or concerns about the course not being considered a transferable liberal arts course based on Grinnell's curriculum, please send the OCS Director a syllabus for review by the Office of the Registrar. Request approval for any changes from your original plan so that you remain eligible to transfer the credit back to Grinnell. The Registrar may deny any unapproved credit transfers.
The 24 credit maximum of AP credits does not affect the transfer of your Off-Campus Study credits.
The advising process is designed to help you determine the best semester for you to study off campus and changes are discouraged. If you have a compelling reason for seeking to change terms, contact the OCS Director. Approval emails from your academic adviser and a parent/guardian will be required if the change is permitted.  In some years the numbers of students applying may not allow changes in semester to be made.
The advising process is designed to help you determine which program will be the best fit for you and changes are discouraged. If you have a compelling reason for seeking to change programs, contact the OCS Director. The following will be required if the change is permitted:
• 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 
There are currently two programs on the featured list that are a year by design; ACM Japan Study and the London School of Economics. Petitions may be made for a full year off-campus on other programs by the November 15 deadline.
Yes, however, the Office of Off-Campus Study does not manage summer study and financial aid does not transfer to summer programs because Grinnell doesn't have a summer term. You may be able to transfer credits if approved by your academic adviser or department and the courses meet the guidelines established under Transfer Credit. The office suggests students consider summer programs run by current partners on our featured list. We are happy to meet with students seeking advice.
Yes, we encourage ALL students to participate in the Off-Campus Study. Whether you will participate in a U.S.-based program, or an international program (which might require an additional immigration-related action 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 ensure your lawful travel to an 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). We encourage international students to reach out to the embassy of the country they would like to study in to find out details as well as the program for more information. 
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 months 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 but you must schedule an appointment. 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. Grinnell's Institute for Global Engagement provides reimbursement for the first time U.S. passport holders. Find out the details in GrinnellShare (Login required).

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.

Note: If your visa requires a letter to show proof of enrollment at Grinnell please email registrar@grinnell.edu with your name, program name, and program dates.

Photos: 
Local choices for photos include Cory Hall Photography and the Post Office. Both require appointments to be scheduled by phone. You can also find and download a photo app for visas or passports and then have the photos printed at the Kodak Kiosk at Premier Printing on 4th Ave downtown or the Walmart photo center, if acceptable to the relevant Embassy. Be sure to check sizes for visa photos on Embassy websites.

Additional information is available under our Travel Resources section.
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.
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. Information on storage is available on the website.
An Alternative Program request must be submitted and approved.
Please email registar@grinnell.edu with your name, complete program name, and dates. Allow at least 3 days for processing.