FAQs for Faculty-Led Programs

Faculty-led programs are complex, given all of the different policies, procedures, practices, and opportunities that they involve. Feel free to peruse the following Frequently Asked Questions for advice. And if you have any questions that you would like to add, just let us know at abroad@ksu.edu or 785-532-5990.


1. Basics
2. Costs and Aid
3. Credits and Contact Hours
4. Deadlines
5. Program Success
6. While Abroad
7. Return


What is a faculty-led program?

A KSU Faculty Led Education Abroad program is:

  • Planned, facilitated, organized, or taught by KSU faculty or staff, and;
  • Faculty or staff member accompanies students on program abroad, and;
  • Participating students enroll in a KSU course (even if non-credit or if some students do not enroll in the course), and;
  • Program and course approved by, and organized on behalf of, a KSU academic department and college

Costs and Aid

What is the average cost of a program?

Program fees generally fall within a range of $2,500 to $6,500. These fees are separate from tuition and fees and any out-of-pocket expenses that you may expect students to incur.

This wide range results from the sheer variety of programs we facilitate; location, duration, excursions, and lodging options may all significantly affect a program’s fee. As a result, program fees for these elements also range quite expansively. That said, we recommend program fees (aside from tuition and fees) to fall within this range in order for students to be able to afford them.

Are students able to use scholarships and financial aid?

Yes, but with some qualifications. For scholarships, students may certainly apply for opportunities through Education Abroad, their department or college, and off-campus. Many standard K-State scholarships also apply to faculty-led programs. Education Abroad even features a scholarship just for faculty-led programs.

For their faculty-led program to qualify for federal financial aid, students must be taking courses full-time for the term in which they seek aid: a minimum of twelve credits for a fall or spring semester and a minimum of five credits for the summer term. Of course, they also have to meet the standard eligibility requirements for aid and apply.

Summer term faculty-led programs pose a special challenge for some students interested in using financial aid. If your program offers four credits or fewer, it alone will not allow students to qualify for aid. Students may enroll in other summer-term courses, however, that allow them to reach the five-credit threshold for aid qualification. As a result, you should not feel pressured to offer a five-credit summer program. Simply recommend to students to enroll in another course, perhaps even a complementary one like an independent study course, that will earn them five or more credits for the summer term.

Credits and Contact Hours

How many credits does my program have to award?

As few or as many as you choose. That said, the number of credits you award has consequences: more credits means a longer and more expensive program, and fewer credits mean less tuition revenue for compensation. Most programs tend to award three credits.

How are contact hours calculated while abroad?

Education Abroad follows standard university policy in considering one credit to equal 12.5 contact hours.

What resources are available to help me build a program?

Many! Start with our Education Abroad staff. We can help give you advice and recommendations on a host of program dimensions, like best practices, provider contacts, and university policies that pertain to your program.

Furthermore, you should consider reaching out to one or more of our veteran faculty leaders. We would be happy to put you in contact with faculty who have successfully led programs in the past and know of opportunities to seize and issues to avoid.

Finally, the leading professional organizations in education abroad, such as the Forum on Education Abroad and NAFSA, offer a wide variety of published and online resources to help faculty build successful programs.


Why are the proposal deadlines so early?

The most time-consuming—and perhaps difficult—part of the faculty-led program process is promoting it to students in order to gain the minimum number you need for it to make. We set our deadlines about a year in advance of your term of travel in order to accommodate enough time to review, approve, and market the program as widely as possible. This timeline is also consistent with the Provost Office's recommendations for best practices regarding faculty-led program promotion. Depending on the proposal, other KSU campus units may also be involved in the work flow process. For example, if your program requires a contract with a 3rd party, that contract must be reviewed and approved by the Office of General Counsel and signed by the Provost. The timeline for this process can span several months depending on the contract, itinerary, and study tour location.

What if I don’t have my proposal ready for the established deadline?

We’re still willing, able, and happy to work with you on a case-by-case basis.

Be aware, though, that late program proposals may run into some troublesome issues: students may not be able to apply for scholarships in time; others may have enrolled in other coursework and are unable to fit your program into their schedule; or vendors may need payments before you develop a final roster of committed students. Depending on your situation, we can help expedite your program as best as we are able.

Program Success

What determines whether a program makes or is cancelled?

The main reason we cancel a faculty-led program is that it fails to garner the minimum number of students it needs to be financially solvent. This number is one that you choose as part of the budget development process in your program proposal, with consultation from Education Abroad.

If your program does not reach its minimum, it is possible to continue the program via other means. For example, your college or department may subsidize the program, or we may find economies in the faculty-leader expenses or compensation structure. That said, we cannot increase the program fee once it is published for student consumption, nor can we significantly alter the program's academic content in order to economize on the budget.

Of course, you can choose to cancel for any number of other reasons, such as an unforeseen international development or illness on the part of the faculty leader. We encourage you to consider a robust contingency plan in advance of your program's approval to avoid last-minute changes to program content or costs.

What makes for a successful program?

We see a small set of positive factors that help ensure a program's success:

  1. Clear, straightforward student learning outcomes that students understand and embrace
  2. Study tour locations, duration, and timing that appeal to student interest
  3. A reasonably affordable program fee
  4. Course numbers that satisfy student major or minor requirements or K-State 8 electives, or are open to students outside of a faculty member's department or college
  5. Proposals submitted prior to our established deadlines
  6. Robust engagement from the faculty, department, and college with students, both in the promotion phase and in the course and study tour execution
  7. Repeat or recurring programs, which usually gain students by word-of-mouth

Why do programs typically fail?

We have identified several issues that often lead to a program's failure to gain student interest:

  1. Miscommunication or lack of clear communication with students and Education Abroad about program details
  2. Proposals that are incomplete or not submitted by the relevant deadline
  3. Courses that are too specific in content to develop enough student interest
  4. Programs that duplicate the content or compete for a similar student audience of another education abroad program
  5. High program fees, or fees that are higher than similar options through other study abroad options
  6. Study tour locations that do not appeal to students or that they (and their parents) may consider risky or unsafe, even if they are not under a U.S. Department of State travel warning
  7. Lack of a clear contingency plan, including the identification of a replacement faculty leader in the event the primary leader is unavailable to lead the program for various reasons (such as personal issues and changes in professional workload)

While Abroad

To what degree do I have to monitor students while on the study tour?

Faculty-led programs are courses, so treat students the same way you do in the classroom. It’s likely you don’t ask about students’ social habits or provide them with over-the-counter drugs in class, so don’t do so abroad. As always, though, if you have reasonable cause to be concerned for a student’s health and safety, you should take the necessary, common-sense steps to ensure his or her welfare. Faculty leaders are, however, the primary point of contact for students during their programs abroad, and therefore must be available to assist with and respond to students as needed or in the event of an emergency.

What is the policy for alcohol use and reimbursement?

According to our Policies and Procedures:

"Kansas State University does not permit the use, possession, or distribution of alcohol during any University-sponsored study abroad program time, unless it is pre-approved by Education Abroad based upon demonstrated educational and cultural benefits to the student(s). Participants shall be allowed to opt out of participation in any such event. Other than these pre-approved events, use, possession, or distribution of alcohol is not permitted during program time and is not a reimbursable expense for the faculty leader. Participants should also inform themselves and abide by the host country’s laws and customs related to alcohol consumption."

In short, you must first seek approval from the Director of Education Abroad if you expect students will engage in relevant academic or cultural activities that involve alcohol and seek to use student program fees for these purposes. Simply email us at abroad@ksu.edu with specific details of these activities and reasoning as to their relevance to your program. Education Abroad only can reimburse alcohol expenses when the director grants this permission prior to the program's study tour.

Is it possible to drive students while abroad?

Yes, although Education Abroad strongly discourages you, all faculty, staff members, and students from driving vehicles outside of the United States while participating in any K-State-sponsored activity. We recommend that you arrange for local drivers in the host country for all non-public transportation needs. If for any reason you, another K-State faculty, staff member, or student chooses to rent or drive a vehicle outside the United States, that individual should secure the appropriate level of automobile insurance.


How do I settle up my expenses once I return?

As you lead your students abroad, be sure to collect and organize all receipts for expenses made on behalf of the group. Once you return to Kansas, submit all receipts together along with any supplemental budgetary documentation to your program accountant or the Education Abroad Advisor who helped facilitate your program. The program accountant will corroborate your expenses with your program budget to ensure that all expenses made while abroad match those expenses for which you budgeted. Education Abroad cannot reimburse you for expenses not listed on the program budget.

It is important that reconciliation of expenses takes place timely. All program receipts, expense ledgers, and documentation of leader reimbursable expenses must be received within fourteen days of the conclusion of the abroad program. Any reimbursements cannot be processed until all program expenses have been settled.