Based on new CSU policies, questions raised during a recent international audit in the CSU (and at CSUN), and other questions and issues that have arisen over the past few year, from here forward at CSUN international travel/study courses (including both credit and noncredit courses) that involve any form of international travel will follow the CSUN international travel/study procedures attached.
CSUN international travel/study courses will also include both state-funded and self-support (or grant funded or donor supported) offerings that include any form of international travel. Whether the international travel component of the course in question is required of all students enrolled, required of only some, or optional for all — any course that includes any international travel for some students or all, optional or required is now a CSUN international travel/study course and must follow the guidelines below. Courses that included optional or required international travel cannot be categorized as field-trips or services learning or the like they are categorized in the CSU world as international travel/study (which in the CSU world is a component of "study abroad" and subject to those policies) and must follow the procedures below.
International Travel/Study Courses
What is an International Travel/Study Abroad Course?
Any CSUN course (credit or noncredit – state-funded, self-support funded,
grant funded, or any other funding) that involves some or all of the enrolled
students traveling to an international location (even if the student or students
in question have options other than international travel for meeting course
requirements and even if the students in questions are paying for their own
international travel) must be planned and approved by following all of the
processes outlined below. CSUN credit or noncredit courses that involve
travel to an international site for some or all students are international
Travel/Study courses and can never categorized as field trip courses or
service learning courses or the like.
Developing an International Travel/Study Course Proposal
If a department believes a proposed travel/study abroad program has strong potential, the
department assigns a faculty member to develop a proposal for the travel/study abroad
course. The proposal activity should occur at least nine (9) months before the proposed start
date of the course. The proposal must include the following considerations and requirements
(see ATTACHMENT A for a summary of the distinctions of travel/study courses offered in the
Summer Session or as noncredit self-support):
1. Destination Travel Advisories.
Before planning any international travel/study abroad
course, the faculty member planning the course shall collaborate with the Department
Chair to determine if the planned travel destination is on the CSU or Federal list of
locations to which travel is prohibited. No travel/study abroad course will be approved
if the planned destination is on the prohibited list. Further, some locations my not be
prohibited but may be listed as “high risk.” International travel/study courses that
include a high risk destination may require additional approvals, longer review times,
and higher levels of insurance in keeping with CSU international travel risk
requirements. Early conversations with CSUN’s Office of Insurance and Risk
Management are required for anyone considering a travel/study abroad program that
involves a destination listed as “high risk”. Several resources to assist in identifying
which countries/destinations are considered high risk can found on the US State
Department Travel Warning List (http://travel.state.gov) and the CSUN Insurance and
Risk Management website (http://www-admn.csun.edu/risk/).
Planning and Approving International Travel/Study Courses
A detailed syllabus for the course including learning goals and the role
travel/study abroad will play in achieving those learning goals. NOTE: All international
travel/study courses must have at least one meeting in a classroom setting before the
travel takes place to cover travel orientation as required by CSU policy and to ensure
that students have an opportunity to complete the appropriate forms in the packet.
3. Course Materials.
A list of proposed course materials (may be part of the syllabus)
including required books.
The intended participants (i.e., students in a particular major, students at
a particular level, students who have completed particular preparatory courses, or the
Proposed minimum and maximum enrollments (must be 15 students or
Information on the proposed instructor(s). The proposal should include a
title and bio for any full-time CSUN faculty member and curriculum vitae (CV) for any
proposed instructor who isn’t a full-time CSUN faculty member. If the enrollment group
is 20 or less, one instructor is considered appropriate; if the enrollment group is over
20, it may be appropriate to budget for a graduate student or other instructional
assistants. CV’s for any graduate assistant or other instructional assistant should be
included in the proposal.
7. Travel Itinerary.
The proposed travel itinerary in detail, including the travel agency the
department intends to use to make the travel arrangements. The itinerary shall
include proposed dates, the address of proposed accommodations at each site/stop
during the trip, stops, sites to be visited, and modes of ground transportation. NOTE:
Developing the proposed itinerary may require a preliminary conversation with a
University approved travel service. Under no circumstances, shall any contracts be
signed or commitments be made until the proposal has all needed approvals as
outlined below. Contact the University’s Accounts Payable office for a list of
recommended travel service organizations by visiting their website (http://wwwadmn.
A preliminary budget that is all-encompassing of the travel/study abroad costs
and includes a calculation of all student fees over and above the course fees (use the
budget form attached). This would include costs for air travel, accommodations, all
required course materials and textbooks, estimated daily costs for meals and other
incidentals, ground transportation, admission to museums, and the like. Expenses
must be in keeping with CSU and CSUN travel policies (i.e., travel must be economy
class, accommodations should be reasonably priced, daily per diem for instructor at
university standard daily rates or below, and the like). NOTE: The final budget is only
possible when travel bookings have been paid and confirmed by students.
Since Summer Session and travel/study abroad courses have many non-standard
features and are not part of requirements for a degree, the University is generally not
obligated to provide disabilities services or translation services in support of these
programs. Those preparing a proposal may wish to confer with Disabilities Services
for the latest policies. Any costs for such services incurred by the travel study course
cannot be built into the budget or included in course fees and the sponsoring
department would have to reimburse those providing the services from either the
department, college trust or foundation account funds (state funds cannot be used to
provide support for self-supported courses). The proposal should include the results
of the discussion with Disabilities Services so that those reviewing the proposal will
have a clear understanding of obligations and their limits.
9. Student Travel.
Students will be expected to book and pay for their own travel in
keeping with the arrangements made with the travel service six weeks before the
planned start of travel. This will avoid students making non-refundable travel
arrangements that will help the University ensure that the minimum enrollment levels
are being met in an effort to offer the course.
10. Insurance and Risk Management.
Consult the University’s Insurance and Risk
Management office for additional information (http://www-admn.csun.edu/risk/).
To obtain the Chair’s approval, the course proposed should be important to the department
and its students, makes a significant contribution to the educational agenda of the
department, and, in that light, worth the extra work a travel/study abroad course places on the
department and/or its faculty.
1. University’s Insurance and Risk Management.
The chair shall send the proposed travel/study abroad proposal to the University’s Insurance and Risk Management
office for review (http://www-admn.csun.edu/risk/). The Office of Insurance and Risk
Management will provide information about the proper type of insurance required and
the respective cost (the cost of which should be added to the travel study budget).
Insurance and Risk Management will also be able to identify any other risk issues or
contractual concerns associated with the proposed travel study. The
report/recommendations from Insurance and Risk Management shall be added to the
2. Department Chair:
Following the review by the University’s Insurance and Risk
Management office, the Department Chair will then have the opportunity to do a
formal review of the proposal. If the Department Chair does not approve the proposed
program, the proposal can go no further. If the Department Chair does approve the
proposed program, written approval from the Department Chair shall be added to the
Once the proposal has written approval by the Department Chair, the proposal
shall then be passed on to the Dean of the college in which the international
travel/study abroad course will be offered for review. The Dean will look for the value
and relevance of the program and weigh it against other obligations of the department
and the college. If the Dean does not approve the proposed program, the proposal can go no further. If, however, the Dean does approve the program, written approval
shall be added to the proposal.
4. If Applicable, Department, College, University Curriculum Committee:
If the proposed travel/study abroad course requires the creation of a new course in the department,
the proposal shall also include the customary written approval of the department,
college, and University curriculum committees. Documentation of those approvals
shall be added to the proposal.
5. Deputy Provost / Dean of Tseng College:
Following all required approvals outlined
above, the proposal shall be sent to the Deputy Provost if it is a course to be offered
in the Fall or Spring Semester and to the Dean of the Tseng College if it is an
international travel/study course to be offered self-support (credit courses in Summer
Session, Winter Term, or noncredit in any term) . At this level, the proposals will be
reviewed for their appropriateness in terms of CSUN funding and international
programs policies. Following approvals from either the Deputy Provost or the Dean of
Tseng College, the department can make firm travel arrangements and lock in costs.
If the international travel/study course is to be offered self-support, the department will
also be required to complete a form to approve the establishment of the proposed
course as a self-support offering.
To ensure consistent records for all CSUN international travel/study abroad courses, a full
copy of the final approved state and self-supported course proposal with budget and all
supporting documents shall be sent to the Deputy Dean of the Tseng College. The full
documents will be scanned and records maintained digitally.
Implementation of an Approved International Travel/Study Abroad Course
The department is responsible for developing a final budget for the course and sending it to
the Dean of the sponsoring academic college if it is a state-funded course to be offered in the
Fall or Spring Semesters.
The final budget shall also be sent to the Dean of the Tseng College at least six (6) months
before the program is to be offered using self-support funding (including programs with grant
funding covering part of the self-support costs). For a self-support international travel/study
course, whereby the final budget varies more than a 10% variance in any category or overall
from the preliminary budget, the Tseng College and the department will need to review the
proposed program plan again in light of changed financial information. The program cannot
be priced or marketed until the department provides a final budget.
The final budget shall include:
1. Instructor compensation, inclusive of salary and benefits. For Summer Sessions,
reference the approved CSU Special Session Salary code 2357, for Winter term
reference the approved CSUN Special Session Salary code 2322, and for
noncredit the compensation varies and is planned as part of the budgeting and
pricing for the program (contact the Deputy Dean of the Tseng College to start
discussions about noncredit international travel study courses).
2. Final costs of economy class airfares for the instructor. NOTE: The cost of
obtaining a visa for travel is not a reimbursable expense according to University
travel policy and, therefore, should not be included in the budget or in
3. Final costs of lodging accommodations and ground transportation for the instructor.
4. Final costs of all reimbursable travel expenses for the instructor, such as per diem,
mileage, etc. (see University travel policy).
5. Final costs of Foreign Trip Insurance (coordinated with University’s Insurance and
Risk Management office).
6. Final costs of other ancillary fees associated with the trip, such as museum
admission fees, etc. NOTE: Only pre-approved ground transportation, admissions,
or other costs directly related to the educational purpose of the course,
identified in the final budgets are reimbursable. Any ground transportation,
admissions, or other expenses added after the course fee has been set are not
7. For self-support international travel/study courses, an additional (in addition to the
direct costs for services associated with the course in question) 11% to 15% in
administrative overhead charges is required for CSU and CSUN services
depending on the year in question and the level of CSUN service charges and CSU
pro rata charges (which change from year to year). This amount will be added to
the final budget by the Tseng College before this extra cost is added to the basic
course fees for a self-support offering. NOTE: The CSU charges an overhead
percentage on self-support programs based on gross revenue. The percentage of
this charge varies year to year. In addition, a self-support travel/study courses,
must reimburse the General Fund for services provided by state supported units
and staff. Said services include the review of materials by the University’s
Insurance and Risk Management, Purchasing and Contract Administration, payroll
processing, and the like.
1. The Department must complete an Approval of Travel Request for all instructor travel
as required by the University travel policy (http://www-admn.csun.edu/travel/). Without
it, the instructor will be traveling without University support and insurance coverage
and will not be able to claim reimbursement or be protected in the event of a negative
2. All travelers are expected to pre-pay for travel expenses and then fill out a claim for
reimbursement of the approved expenses once the travel is complete. The completed
reimbursement claim must be accompanied by all required receipts and expense
verifications. For state-funded international travel/study abroad courses offered in the
Fall or Spring Semesters, the completed reimbursement claim shall be sent to the
MAR of the sponsoring college. The MAR, in collaboration with the Dean and the
Department Chair, will process the reimbursement and forward the claim to the
University’s Accounts Payable office for payment. For self-supported international
travel/study abroad courses offered in the Summer Session, reimbursement requests
and documentation shall be sent to the Office of the Dean of the Tseng College. Once
received, the Tseng College will forward the approved reimbursement claim (if it is in
keeping with the budget) within four (4) working days to the University’s Accounts
Payable office for payment.
1. For state-funded international travel/study abroad courses offered in the Fall and
Spring Semesters, the Department and the Dean of the college sponsoring the
program will establish a minimum and maximum enrollment for the course.
2. For self-support international travel/study abroad courses offered in the Summer
Session, the Tseng College will review the proposed minimum enrollment and confirm
the fee for the course based on the completed form and the final budget. The Tseng
College will provide formal notice to the department if any changes need to be made to
the budget. NOTE: In the self-support Summer Session or Winter Term, no
travel/study abroad program can be offered with less than 15 students.
All travel/study abroad programs must have at least one (1) meeting in a classroom
setting before the travel. At that first meeting, the instructor will distribute a pre-trip
meeting and registration packet to all students, and collect the completed packets.
The packet shall include:
1. Air Travel Informed Consent Form
2. Academic Field Trip Participant List
3. Student Air Travel Voluntary Participation Notice
4. Academic Field Trip Waiver of Liability & Hold Harmless Agreement
As per CSU and CSUN record keeping requirements, the instructor must submit a
copy of all completed forms to the office of the Deputy Dean of the Tseng College as
the designee of the University Senior International Officer. This material will be
scanned and records maintained digitally. The instructor shall retain the originals of
these forms and documents for a period of five years.
California State University, Northridge
Self-Support International Travel/Study Courses: Credit and Noncredit
Features of International Travel/Study Courses offered in Self-Support (CSUN credit courses
in Summers Session or Winter Term and noncredit travel/study courses in any term)
- Funding formulas for self-support credit travel/study courses offered in the Summer Session or
Winter Term are not designed to provide additional administrative support for individual
courses beyond that normally provided for a standard on-campus course. If a department
wishes to undertake a travel study program, the planning work (including travel insurance,
instructional arrangements, and the like) and management of the course before and during the
travel are the responsibility of the department offering the course.
- International travel/study credit courses offered in the Summer Session may be eligible for financial aid if the student in question is a CSUN matriculated student in a state-funded degree program.
- Instructor compensation is in keeping with the approved CSU Special Session Salary code2357 for Summer Session and 2322 for Winter Term. For payroll purposes, information on thestatus of the proposed instructor(s) shall be included with the bio and/or CV (i.e., full professor,associate professor, assistant professor, instructor, etc.). Full-time faculty is subject to policies governing extra service compensation for Fall/Spring semester (i.e., the 125% overload limit rule). If a faculty member plans to lead a trip in summer and wishes to be paid extra service, he or she must avoid any other extra service assignments during the Spring Semester to avoid exceeding 125% of load in a single term. Compensation for noncredit courses is not governed by bargained salary schedules and is planned as part of the overall program budget for the offering in question.
- For international travel/study courses to be offered self-support credit or noncredit, the Tseng College will develop a program description based on the proposal material provided. This will be used to announce the course in standard publications for the term in question. Any other marketing to departmental or other CSUN students is the responsibility of the sponsoring department. All such announcements shall be based on the description of the program with costs and registration information as it appears in the official publications for Summer Session,as well as, a detailed estimation of all the costs to the student over and above the course fees.
- The Tseng College will provide all the support services including handling registration for the program.
- The Tseng College will set a registration deadline at least two (2) months before the planned travel. The deadline allows time for the course to reach the minimum enrollment required (15or greater) before students book travel six (6) weeks in advance of the start date. Students will be able to register, online. . If the course is cancelled, students will be notified and they will be refunded for any travel or registration payments made. If the course reaches the minimum enrollment, students will be notified that they can begin to make travel arrangements.registrants can be accepted if the course is at or above the minimum levels by the registration deadline date. NOTE: The registration deadline will also be the deadline for refunds based on unacceptable enrollment levels.
- A self-support travel/study course can have restricted admission if that is a part of the academic plan and approved proposal for the course. In such cases, students will be notified via published and web materials to contact the instructor for a permission number before registering.
- The Tseng College may survey program participants to determine their satisfaction with the program content and travel arrangements. This information will be relevant if the department plans to repeat the same or a similar self-support travel/study course.