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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 indepth.  You can always call (907.474.6516) or e-mail (

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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. IPI 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 Plan A and Plan B for the National Student Exchange?

With Plan A, 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 Plan B pay a flat-rate of 15 credits and all student fees you typically pay (like the SRC fee, Health Center fee, ect.) to UAF at the normal rate of tuition (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 our 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 though 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 plan B 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. Students who want to participate in the National Student Exchange have up to one year to exchange, though they can split their semesters between two different universities or over different academic years (i.e. you can take a semester though NSE, come back to UAF, and then go on another semester through NSE at a future time. IPI has no limits for how many programs students are able to do internationally. 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 transfer?

Yes! All classes taken on a program through IPI will come back to your UAF degree and transcript in someway (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.

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 recommender.

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. The only items you will need to complete are the Signature Documents, the host university information, and the visa information (if international). You can also complete the special circumstances if you need as well.

Will I still be eligible for the PFD?

If you participate in an IPI-approved study away program (including internships and independent programs), 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 Plan A!

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.
NOTE: The Registrar's Office is only able to verify your dates of enrollment at UAF, not at your host institution.

How do I know what Insurance option to choose?

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 provided by one of our approved providers: Gallagher Koster Gold Plan or LewerMark: Gold/Platinum with Evacuation Rider .   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 international or north2north exchange programs only, not on study abroad programs.  You may also take advantage of the waiver with an NSE exchange by participating on Plan B