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Frequently Asked Questions

We highly encourage you to set up an appointment with our office to get one-on-one advising.  We can help you determine which options are the best for you, and help you explore those options more in-depth.  You can always call (907.474.6516) or e-mail (

What is the difference between Exchange and Study Abroad?

The main difference between exchange and study abroad is who you pay your tuition to. With Exchange programs (including north2north) you pay a flat number of credits at your regular rate (resident, non-resident, WUE) and some fees to UAF. With study abroad, you are paying a program provider or the university/institution directly for tuition. No matter which program you participate in, housing is always paid to the host.

What is north2north?

Students who choose to participate in north2north Exchange have the opportunity to focus on issues relevant to the North and to northern populations! north2north is the mobility program of the University of the Arctic, an international network of circumpolar institutions. The Study Away office does have a specific scholarship available for students to participate in north2north programs, and you can receive up to $2,500 a semester for your study away program!

What is the difference between Host (Plan A) and Home (Plan B) for the National Student Exchange?

With the Host plan, you pay all of your tuition and fees, plus any other items pertaining to your exchange, directly to your host institution. Tuition is charged at the in-state rate in your host state/province on a credit per credit basis.

Students on the Home plan pay a flat-rate of 15 credits and all student fees you typically pay (like the consolidated fee and technology fee) to UAF at the normal rate of tuition you pay (resident, non-resident, or WUE). All other fees, such as housing and specific course fees, are paid to the host.

I am an international student at UAF (F-1); Can I study away?

Yes! Though there are some additional things you need to consider. Please set up an appointment with the ISSS office to discuss your options.

I am a graduate student; can I study away?

Yes! Though our options for graduate students are not as numerous as for undergrads, we still do have plenty of options available! Please email Nicole to discuss your options.

I am from UAA or UAS; which programs can I participate in through UAF?

Please see our information page for UAA and UAS applicants.

Which option is cheaper?

It depends on a variety of things. Exchange (or Home Pay with NSE) is not always the cheaper option, though from the first look it might seem so. We suggest setting up an appointment with our office to talk about things to consider when planning your time away.

How long can I go?

It depends on the programs you are interested in. Most programs allow you to go up to a year at maximum, though you can go on multiple programs to extend your time away. Our office has no limits for how many programs students are able to participate on. Programs are available for as little as one week, to as long as an academic year. In addition, students can participate in both NSE and international programs if they like.

How will my grades/credits transfer?

Grades from your program will come in as the equivalent letter grade (A-F) as it appears on your host transcript. All classes taken on a program through UAF Study Away will come back to your UAF degree and transcript in some way (students complete an Advising Agreement to determine how they come back). If nothing else, classes will count as elective credits, but if the course is similar enough to one offered at UAF, it may come back as that UAF class. All grades and credits will come back to UAF as resident credits and be calculated in your GPA.

Who can be used as an academic reference?

For Academic References, you may ask the professor or instructor from any class you have taken, or the TA from a lab. These should be individuals who have taught you in classes at UAF, if possible. High school teachers do not qualify. The Supervisor reference can be from a supervisor from a job, your academic advisor, or another university instructor.

You should NOT use a personal/family friend as a reference even if they are a supervisor.

If my reference doesn't complete my recommendation by the deadline, what do I do?

The most important information to complete by the deadline are the questionnaires, learning content, materials and signature documents, and any assessments. You must also make sure that you REQUEST a recommendation before the deadline. Recommenders do not get locked out of the system on the deadline, as students do, so they have a little leeway to get the reference in after that date. Recommenders should get their references completed for students as soon as possible after the deadline, though receiving it before is always much more appreciated! If a reference does not respond within a week after the deadline, please request a reference from a new individual.

I have been on an exchange or study abroad program before. Do I have to redo my whole application?

We are glad to see you again! If you want to participate in another program, please DO start another application in the system with the appropriate term. You do not need to request references, but you should complete the rest of the application as requested.

Will I still be eligible for the PFD?

If you participate in a program approved through the UAF Study Away office, you will remain eligible for the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend. To document eligibility for your PFD, you will need to submit an Education Verification Form (scroll down the alphabetized list) in addition to the regular PFD application materials the year(s) following your time away.  This additional documentation is especially important for participants in the NSE program on Host Pay!

Instructions for completing the Education Verification Form:
Print this form out, fill in the "Students" information, and sign it.  Then, either fax it to the UAF Registrar's Office (1-907-474-7097), or scan and email it to registrar@uaf.eduThe Registrar's Office must have your signature and your social security number in order to process this form. Be sure to fill out the form for the correct calendar year!

After processing the form, the Registrar's Office will send it directly to the PFD Division Office in Juneau unless you indicate in writing to have the form sent elsewhere. If you have any issues with your PFD being approved, please let the Study Away office know and we can produce a memo for your PFD application.
NOTE: The Registrar's Office is only able to verify your dates of enrollment at UAF, not at your host institution.

Am I required to purchase insurance?

UAF requires all students going abroad to have health insurance coverage.   Students on International or north2north Exchange or NSE students to Canada, you must purchase the student health insurance coverage through a UAF-approved provider. Some domestic NSE campuses require incoming students to purchase their health insurance, regardless of whether you already have coverage.

If you are a Study Abroad student with one of our approved providers, your program provider will provide insurance coverage as part of your program price.

Be sure to verify the length of coverage and make other arrangements if you plan to travel outside of those dates.

Can I use my Spouse/Dependent Tuition Waiver to study away?

You may use your Spouse or Dependent Tuition Waiver on any program where you are paying UAF tuition. This includes international or north2north exchange programs only, or NSE programs on Home Pay.