Frequently Asked Questions

Credit Transfer & Transcripts

FUNDING

GENERAL

Health & Safety

HOUSING


Do I have to pay additional fees for a transcript?

One official transcript from each institution you attend is included in your program price. You may request additional transcripts for a fee by completing the Additional Transcript Request Form or emailing Transcripts@ceaStudyAbroad.com.

How long will it take to receive my transcript?

CEA's financial clearance and transcript release processes may take up to 90 days after your program's end date.

How do I find out my grades? Will I know my grades before my transcript is sent to my university?

If you take courses at a CEA Study Center, you may view grades via your MyCEA Account throughout the duration of your program. Check your grades regularly and discuss any questions with your faculty or CEA staff.

If you take courses at partner universities, discuss grade-related questions with your instructors while you’re abroad. If you have questions, CEA on-site staff are available to assist you.

IMPORTANT: We recommend saving copies of all submitted coursework, course syllabi, and grade information for all courses completed during your study abroad program. Your home university may need records of your work to determine course equivalencies, or in the event of a grade-related question or appeal. Keeping records of your work will help facilitate successful transfer of credits.

How do I know if the credits I take abroad will transfer to my home university?

The transfer and application of academic credit is ultimately decided by your home university. To assist in this process, we provide detailed course descriptions, contact hours, syllabi, and recommended credits for individual courses on our website. CEA Admissions Counselors and Site Specialists are available to answer questions regarding credit transfer. Work with your home university to understand how credits may transfer.

I'm taking classes at a partner university. Will my transcript be in English?

Some partner universities issue transcripts in English and some do not. CEA includes an English translation template when mailing transcripts issued in a foreign language. CEA does not act as an official translation provider, so the English translation template will not include your personal information or grades. The English translation template is designed to be used as a guide for your home university as they evaluate your transcript. Your official transcript will be accompanied by a CEA cover letter explaining key academic information, including the grading scale used by the partner university, recommended letter grade equivalencies, and program information. Some U.S. universities may require you to have your transcript evaluated by a foreign credentials evaluation service.

Where will you send my transcript?

Most students release their official transcript to their home university when they apply to CEA. You can check to see if you've done this by looking at your To Do List on your MyCEA account. If you see "CEA Transcript Release" on your To Do List, please complete and submit the Transcript Release Form to us before you go abroad by emailing Transcripts@ceaStudyAbroad.com.

Can my transcript be expedited?

Please allow a full 90 days for CEA to mail out your transcript. Transcripts from partner universities may take 2–3 months to arrive at CEA.

Why aren't my grades showing up on my transcript?

Your home university will evaluate transfer credit and update your academic records following its own policies and processes. This may take an additional 1–2 months. Discuss processes with your Study Abroad Office or Registrar before you go abroad to better understand this process.

Will my credits from abroad impact my GPA at my home university?

It is up to your home university to determine how courses will transfer to your academic record. Most universities transfer in credits and count them toward your overall academic record, including GPA. Some universities may list classes and grades taken abroad on your academic records, but do not factor these transfer credits into your GPA. Be sure you understand your home university’s policies before you go abroad.

What should I do if I think there’s an error on my transcript?

Contact CEA to let us know what the error may be. We will help ensure transcript information is accurate or facilitate a transcript review, if needed. If you believe there is an error in your final grades, you will need to provide additional information to support an academic records review. For courses taken at a partner university, CEA defers to their established academic policies and processes. CEA has a Grade Appeal Policy for courses taken at CEA Study Centers. Grade appeals are time sensitive and should be handled immediately following the completion of your program to be considered admissible. Contact your Site Specialist to discuss any questions or concerns about your grades or academic records.

I'm transferring universities or applying to graduate school programs. Will I need to submit my study abroad transcript?

Most universities and graduate or professional (law, MBA) programs require you to submit a copy of all transcripts and credits taken during your university career, including those during a study abroad program.

How can I request additional copies of my transcript?

Complete and submit CEA's Additional Transcript Request Form to request copies of your transcript. Please note:

  • Transcripts from partner universities may take up to 90 days to process
  • Transcripts from the University of New Haven may take up to 3 weeks to process
  • Please do not request additional transcripts or submit payment until your program has ended
  • CEA must receive payment for additional transcripts before they can be sent

Does CEA offer financial aid?

We do not offer financial aid; federal financial aid must be processed through your home university. We are happy to apply funding you secure toward your program costs. We do offer $2 million in CEA scholarships and grants each year.

Will my home university let me use my financial aid to study abroad with CEA?

Some universities have specific rules about using financial aid for 3rd party study abroad providers. Speak to the Study Abroad Office or Financial Aid Office at your home university to determine if you can use financial aid for studying abroad with CEA.

I have already completed my FAFSA. Now that I have decided to go abroad, do I need to complete a new one?

No. You only need to submit one FAFSA per financial aid year.

Does CEA have a Title IV Code that I can use on the FAFSA?

No. CEA has no Title IV code; all federal financial aid must be processed through your home university.

Can I use a CEA partner university’s Title IV code on my FAFSA?

No; you will be enrolled through CEA, not directly enrolled at our partner universities. All federal financial aid must be processed through your home university.

Can I get more financial aid if my study abroad program costs more than my home university?

You may be able to receive more financial aid once you’re enrolled with CEA to study abroad. Federal law states that financial aid can cover all "reasonable" costs for a study abroad program. CEA will provide you with sample program budget  that you can share with your home university’s Financial Aid Office to determine if any adjustments to your current financial aid award are possible.

My final payment due date is getting close, but my home university has not distributed my financial aid yet. What do I do?

It may be possible for your Financial Aid Office to estimate your award, especially if you have received Financial Aid in the past. Ask your Financial Aid Office to complete a Financial Aid Disbursement Form, using estimated amounts, and return it CEA before your final payment due date. When your award is finalized, your home university will need to complete another Financial Aid Disbursement Form with the actual amounts.

Can I use a 529 plan to pay for my CEA study abroad program?

529 plan rules vary by state; research your individual plan’s requirements.

What Financial Aid forms do I need to turn in to CEA and when?

If you are receiving financial aid of any kind, you must submit a Financial Aid Disbursement Form and a Consortium/Contractual Agreement (if required) to CEA no later than your final payment due date.

My home university is a “direct bill school;” what does this mean?

In most cases, if your home university has a Direct Bill Agreement with CEA, you will pay the cost of your CEA study abroad program to your home university, and they will forward the funds to us. In some cases, your home university may require you to pay certain costs, such as the Confirmation Deposit. Your CEA Admission Counselor will be able to help you determine if your school has a direct billing agreement.

I won’t receive my financial aid disbursement until after I’m already abroad; how do I make a payment to CEA?

You have three options: 1) Ask the Financial Aid or Bursar’s Office at your home university to make out a check to CEA or a family member, who can then pay CEA. 2) Make arrangements for someone to deposit the check into your bank account in your absence; leave a post-dated check in the amount of the payment and have someone submit it to CEA for you. 3) Grant someone (usually a family member) a Temporary Power of Attorney; this form can usually be obtained from your Study Abroad Office and must be notarized. It grants the right to sign your loan check, deposit it in your bank account, then write CEA a check for payment.

Who can apply for CEA scholarships?

Eligible candidates have completed a CEA program application and submitted all required materials by the deadline.

How are CEA scholarship recipients chosen?

If you meet eligibility and scholarship eligibility requirements, CEA’s interdepartmental selection committee will review your application using a point system based on a pre-set application rubric. In most cases, we notify applicants of their award status 30-45 days after submission. We review applications on a rolling basis; incomplete applications will not be considered.

How many scholarships are available?

A limited number of scholarships are available; the total number of scholarships awarded each term depends on the quality and quantity of applications.

Can I apply for more than one scholarship?

You may apply for one merit-based or diversity scholarship and one financial need scholarship per term.

What information will my financial aid and study abroad offices need?

Your home school and CEA may sign a written agreement (Consortium/Contractual Agreement) that CEA submits once you’re accepted into a study abroad program. CEA provides a program cost breakdown so your university can review your CEA budget and determine how much financial aid you’re eligible to receive.

What is a Consortium/Contractual Agreement?

A Consortium/Contractual Agreement is a written agreement between your school and CEA that allows for financial aid processing. Consortium/Contractual Agreements contain information about your study abroad program including dates, location, associated costs, number of credits, and enrollment status. Find Consortium/Contractual Agreement forms at your school’s financial aid or study abroad office.

Are 1098-T forms issues for tax purposes?

CEA does not issue 1098-T forms. If your home school bills program fees—particularly the tuition portion—your home school issues 1098-T forms.

How do I update my FAFSA for my term abroad?

If your home school approves your CEA program for credit transfer toward your degree and you plan to apply for federal financial aid, work with your school’s financial aid office to update your FAFSA. If your home school does not approve your CEA program for credit transfer toward your degree and/or will not enter into a Consortium/Contractual Agreement with CEA, you will not be eligible to apply federal funding to your CEA program. In that case, current federal loans may go into early repayment status while you are abroad.

Does CEA have a U.S. Department of Education (DOE) School Code?

No. CEA is a study abroad organization, rather than an accredited U.S. institution of higher education.

What should I use to fill in the School Code section of my FAFSA forms?

Visit fafsa.ed.gov/FAFSA/app/schoolsearch to find your home school’s code; confirm this code with your financial aid office before completing your FAFSA. Note: Use your home school’s code on your FAFSA, even if the overseas university associated with your CEA program has a school code.

What is a Master Promissory Note (MPN)?

The MPN is a binding legal document that you sign when you receive federal student loans. MPNs can be used for multiple loans and up to 10 years; they include the terms and conditions and explain your rights and responsibilities as a borrower, so it’s important to read and save your MPN.

How do I apply for a Direct Loan?

Direct Loans are generally included as part of your financial aid package; apply by filling out a FAFSA.

How much will I be awarded?

Your school determines the loan types and amount you’re eligible to receive, based on factors such as annual loan limits, your year in school, your dependent status, and the information you provide on your FAFSA.

How do my parents or I apply for a Direct PLUS Loan?

Apply online at StudentLoans.gov. If your home school isn’t listed, ask your financial aid office for instructions.

How much money can I borrow?

Direct PLUS loan amounts are based on the cost of attendance of your home school minus other financial assistance received. Study abroad programs may cost more than the cost of attendance at your home school; let your financial aid office know so they can request a higher loan amount.

When does repayment begin on the Direct PLUS loan?

Your Direct PLUS Loan enters repayment once your loan is fully paid out. Parent borrowers may contact their loan servicer to request a deferment; interest will accrue on the loan during the deferment. Your loan servicer will notify you when your first payment is due.

How and when will I receive my financial aid?

Your home school will apply your loan funds to your tuition, fees, on-campus housing, and other charges, then disburse any remaining funds to you to help pay for educational expenses. Your school will disburse your aid in at least two payments over the academic year.

What is a consortium?

A Consortium is an agreement between your home university and CEA. Consortium agreements offer protection for your home university with regard to the federal laws that govern financial aid. Not all universities require a consortium agreement, and some schools may have a separate contractual agreement for non-Title IV institutions. Check with your Study Abroad Office or Financial Aid Office to determine if your home university requires this agreement; if so, they can provide you with the form. You fill out the student portion, then submit the form to CEA. We will complete the form and return it to your home university.

What is CEA Study Abroad?

CEA stands for Cultural Experiences Abroad. We are a higher education study abroad organization. Our programs are designed for U.S. and Canadian students who wish to go abroad for a summer, semester, or academic year and gain credit toward their undergraduate degrees.

Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to study abroad?

We offer study abroad programs to college students enrolled in U.S. and Canadian institutions. To be eligible for a CEA program, you must be a U.S. or Canadian citizen; if you hold citizenship in another country, you must be enrolled full-time at a U.S. or Canadian university to qualify.

Do you offer programs for high schoolers or for graduate students?

We focus primarily on undergraduate studies and do not offer specific high school or graduate programs. You must be a high school graduate to study with CEA. All credit earned is undergraduate credit.

Is there a minimum age requirement?

You must be at least 18 years of age and a high school graduate to study abroad with CEA.

Does CEA offer internships?

We offer internship opportunities in multiple cities.

Does CEA offer scholarships?

We offer a range of need-based, merit-based, and diversity scholarships for students accepted into CEA programs.

What's included in the price of the program?

In most cases, program prices include tuition and fees, standard housing, transfer credit, overseas staff support, pre-departure information, airport welcome reception, on-site orientation, immersion activities, excursions, cultural engagement opportunities, volunteer opportunities, and superior customer service.

Do I need a passport to study abroad?

You must have a current passport. Most of our international partner universities must receive your passport information at least 45 days before classes begin. Apply for or renew your passport as soon as you think you'll be studying abroad, as the process can take several weeks. We recommend that your passport be valid for at least six months after your program’s end date.

Do I need a visa to study abroad?

In many cases, the answer is yes. Requirements vary depending upon nationality, duration of stay, and other factors; it is your responsibility to research and obtain the documentation required for entering and studying in a country within the timeline designated by its government. Your CEA Site Specialist can help you through the visa application process.

What are CEA’s application deadlines?

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, assessed as they arrive, and accepted after eligibility is verified. Each program has an “apply-by” date and maximum capacity; once reached, further applications are not accepted. Spaces in CEA programs cannot be guaranteed until you submit your program confirmation.

Will my credits transfer?

You are eligible to earn academic credits toward your degree or graduation requirements while studying abroad; however, you must discuss the credit transfer process with your study abroad or academic advisor at your home university. In most cases, you’ll need to get credits pre-approved. CEA supports this process by offering course descriptions, syllabi, and a devoted team of advisors designated to helping your school understand more about CEA programs.

How many classes will I take?

On average, semester students take 4-5 courses and summer students take 1-4 courses. During the semester, you must take at least 12 credit hours to be considered a full-time student. Summer students are required to take at least 3 credits, and may be able to add additional classes depending on the program structure and duration.

Where will I go to school?

CEA offers three program options:

  • CEA Study Center – Our Centers include our own facilities, faculty, staff, and curriculum, all approved by our School of Record, the regionally accredited University of New Haven (UNH). Your credits and transcripts will be issued by UNH.
  • Partner University – Our carefully chosen partners are local universities in host cities, where you’ll take classes with local and/or other international students. Classes are taught by the partner’s faculty and your transcript will be issued by the partner university.
  • Hybrid – If you choose a hybrid program, you’ll take classes at both a CEA Study Center and a partner university. UNH will issue one transcript for courses completed at the CEA Study Center; you'll receive a second transcript for courses taken at the partner university.

What type of housing will I live in?

Program prices include a standard housing option, which may include apartments and residence halls; however, options vary by location and session. Additional housing options (for example, a homestay with some meals included) are often available for an additional fee.

Do you offer homestays?

Many of our locations offer homestays as a standard housing choice or as an option for an additional fee. Living with a local family is a great way to practice your language skills and learn more about the culture, which provides a more authentic experience.

Can I room with my friend?

You may request to room with friends by selecting the same housing type and request and confirming each other as roommates. Although we do our best to honor preferences, we can’t guarantee requests; the sooner you fill out your Housing Preferences Form, the more likely we’ll be able to accommodate your requests.

Is a foreign language required?

While some CEA programs and courses require foreign language proficiency, we offer programs for students who do not wish to take a foreign language course and/or have no previous experience with a foreign language.

What will my schedule be like?

Academic schedules vary by program and classes are offered at various times throughout the day.

Will I be taking classes with other CEA students or can I take courses with local students?

It varies by program. If you’re taking classes at a CEA Study Center, you’ll be with other CEA students from universities across the U.S. At partner universities, you may attend class with local and/or other international students, in addition to CEA students.

Can I travel in my spare time?

Absolutely! We encourage you to explore your host country and surrounding areas. We recommend waiting to make any outside travel plans until after you arrive to ensure your travel dates don’t conflict with planned CEA excursions/activities or course commitments.

How will CEA contact me if there is an emergency?

CEA requires as part of the Program Participation Agreement that all students to have a working phone number—that is not dependent on WiFi to receive calls—available to CEA staff for emergency contact purposes. You may choose to secure a cell phone before you leave for your program or once you arrive at your study abroad destination. Once you’re on-site, CEA staff will share information about local cell phone options. We encourage you to research your options.

Is it safe to study abroad?

CEA staff closely monitor the current conditions at all CEA program sites and around the world. We conduct orientation sessions that include safety information and local-specific tips, and have an established emergency plan that that enables CEA staff to make safety decisions. You are encouraged to research your destination and be informed about location conditions and culture. While CEA provides information and support on-site, it is ultimately your responsibility to follow suggestions/guidelines and use common sense to protect your own health and safety.

What’s done on-site to ensure student safety?

Staff at the CEA Home Office communicate with CEA international staff, all of whom are familiar with our emergency procedures. On-site CEA staff hold regular meetings with CEA students, remain in contact with local police agencies, and assist in registering all CEA students with the local U.S. embassy or consulate.

Does CEA cancel programs in the event of an emergency, such as a natural disaster, terrorist attack, or pandemic?

In order for a program to be canceled, the U.S. Department of State would have to issue a travel warning stating that Americans should not travel to the host country.

Does CEA have an emergency evacuation plan? Under what circumstances would CEA evacuate students?

This is a worst-case scenario and an unlikely event. However, if the need to evacuate arose, CEA on-site staff would arrange evacuation of students and staff in coordination with local authorities and the directions of the U.S. embassy or consulate in that city. CEA’s action plan would depend on the specific situation and the safest method of travel for the students. CEA's U.S. Home Office and international staff would work closely to execute the emergency plan.

If there’s an emergency situation while I’m abroad, could I withdraw from my program and receive a refund?

As stated in CEA's Refund Policy, once a program begins, refunds are not granted for meals, housing, tuition, CEA-sponsored excursions, or transportation unused by students because of absence or any other reason.

If CEA cancels a program due to a Travel Warning, accepted applicants are given the choice of (1) deferring to a future program session; (2) switching to a different CEA program site; or (3) receiving a refund of recoverable fees less the $95 application fee, confirmation fee, and any expenses already incurred on behalf of the student at the time of the event.

Should I worry about being the target of anti-American actions while abroad?

Using common sense, keeping a low profile, avoiding public demonstrations, dressing to blend in, speaking softly, avoiding overt displays of American patriotism, and staying away from locations often associated with Americans (like McDonald's or Hard Rock Café) are all strategies to help alleviate this issue. The U.S. Embassy and CEA advise that you avoid all public demonstrations that bring attention to political or religious preferences. CEA staff provide location-specific information during pre-departure and on-site orientation to help you make informed choices.

Who can I talk with at CEA if I have safety concerns?

CEA advisors are available to talk with you and your family about safety concerns. Please call 800.266.4441.

Are housing options comparable to those in the U.S.?

The life you’ll discover abroad will differ from the life you’re used to back home—embrace it! Some common differences you may encounter include:

  • Dishwashers are not common; prepare to wash dishes by hand
  • Clothes dryers are rare; clothes are often hung to dry on a line
  • Think small; rooms, closets, kitchens, and homes in general tend to be smaller abroad than in North America
  • Your bed will most likely be a single-size or a bunk bed
  • Air conditioning is not available in many housing options, markets, stores, etc.
  • Walking and using public transportation becomes a common (and enjoyable) part of your everyday life

Are housing options similar in every CEA destination?

Similar, but not the same. Each CEA location has different housing options, ranging from apartments and dorm-style rooms to homestays and residence halls.

How are roommates selected?

We use a number of factors to make roommate assignments, including student profiles and roommate requests; we work to place students with others who are a good “fit,” from personality and outside interests to study and sleep habits.

How do I indicate my housing preferences?

You’ll complete an online Housing Preferences Form that includes personality/lifestyle questions and allows you to request roommates and indicate any special requests. While CEA tries their best to honor housing preferences, we cannot promise or guarantee preferences. Housing preferences are considered final after the housing application closure date.

Are single rooms available?

Single rooms may be available in certain cases, depending on location and special needs; however, such bedrooms are rare and may only be available upon request (additional charges may apply). If you have a medical condition that warrants a single room, please notify your CEA Site Specialist immediately and indicate this request in the housing application.

I don’t know anyone and am nervous that I will feel alone. How do I meet other CEA students?

Many CEA students travel abroad without knowing anyone—you are not alone! You’ll have numerous opportunities to meet other CEA students, including orientations and tours during the first week, weekly cultural activities, sporting events, and other local events we encourage students to attend. CEA also offers Facebook groups so you can meet other students before your program starts.

What will my commute to class be like?

CEA housing options are scattered throughout host cities, helping you immerse in local culture! Most likely, you’ll use some form of public transportation to get to and from class. All CEA housing options are safe and within easy access to public transportation. Expect a commute time of anywhere from 20-50 minutes to get to class; exact timing depends on location and method of transportation.

Does all CEA housing have Internet?

Internet is provided in CEA housing but the bandwidth, connection speed, and connection methods may be different than you’re used to. Additionally, wireless internet might not be as readily available in all locations. Internet strength and speed differ between and within housing options. For example, in some apartments, you’ll have internet access from your common living area but not from your bedroom.

What are the differences between housing kitchen types?

  • Equipped/Full Kitchen: a fully-equipped kitchen with a sink, pots, pans, cups, dishes, utensils, stove, oven (in most cases), a refrigerator, and storage space. Although you can expect to have kitchen supplies comparable to North American standards, kitchen space is limited, appliances tend to be smaller, and cookware is basic.
  • Kitchenette: a small space with a sink, dishes, cups, utensils, a microwave, mini-oven or hot plate, small storage area and, in most cases, a small refrigerator.
  • Limited: a small space with a sink, some dishes, cups, and utensils. In homestays or residencias, there may be limited hours/resources available to students as the host family may provide some of the meals.

What if I have a housing maintenance request?

Let your local CEA staff know as soon as possible – email them or stop by the local CEA office. On-site staff is there to help you when you encounter any concerns with your housing, and will try to get things fixed as soon as possible. Keep in mind that there are peak times (e.g. shortly after all students arrive for the new semester) when local staff may be handling many requests, so please be patient. The processes for repairs differ by housing option and by city.

What kind of safety precautions should I take when living in CEA housing?

Your best resource for keeping safe is using common sense.

  • Keep your doors locked at all times and use BOTH locks.
  • Close windows and blinds and lock all doors when leaving your housing and before going to bed.
  • Don’t let strangers follow you into your building and do not prop doors open for friends.
  • Be observant and aware of your surroundings; call the police if you think you’re being watched.
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