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GEO Program Policies

Please read the policies regarding off-campus study at Lake Forest College. If you have any questions or concerns, contact the Global Engagement Office.


In addition to the requirements set by each specific program, Lake Forest College has its own eligibility requirements before allowing our students to study abroad for credit.

To be eligible to participate in an off-campus program, students must meet the following requirements:
  • Be in good academic and disciplinary standing, with no serious or sustained academic or disciplinary issues
  • Maintain a minimum of a 2.5 GPA
  • Have spent at least one year on the main campus of Lake Forest College. (Transfer students must spend one semester on campus before participating in an off-campus program)
    • Students may not participate in an off-campus program in their first semester back after a Leave of Absence, Judicial Suspension, or Medical Withdrawal.
    • Depending on the office budget, students applying to study abroad during their second year may only be eligible for exchange programs, not direct.
  • Meet all College deadlines for applications and pre-departure materials
  • Demonstrate the maturity, independence and readiness to participate in a program off-campus, as shown by approvals from the academic advisor(s) and offices in Student Affairs

Each individual program may have its own GPA, language, coursework, or level-in-school requirements.  Students must meet the requirements of both Lake Forest College and their host program; being deemed eligible by the College does not guarantee a student will be accepted by a host program or university.

Some programs may have a minimum number of participants before the program will run.

Still others may need to be reviewed each year for safety reasons due to their locations and/or government warnings, and will only be approved on a conditional basis but require final review and approval from President Schutt. Lake Forest receives daily updates on health and safety concerns around the world.  Should a country seem unsafe or have a travel warning for an area at Level 3 or 4 issued by the United States Department of State, President Schutt will review the program to determine if a student will be allowed to participate.Contact the Global Engagement Office for more information on safety concerns.

A student that is currently under disciplinary or academic probation, or will be under probation during any portion of their off-campus program, is not eligible to study off-campus.  

Late Applications

Late applicants who do not meet campus deadlines may still be allowed to participate in ISEP Exchange programs or Lake Forest College in the Loop, if approved by the Global Engagement Office.


Appeal Process

Students denied participation on academic or conduct grounds may petition the Academic Appeals Board to consider their case.  The Academic Appeals Board is unable to consider cases of students denied by non-Lake Forest program hosts.

Approval by the Academic Appeals Board (AAB) is required if:

  • You do not meet eligibility and program requirements by the time of participation (NOTE: Each program may have eligibility requirements beyond the 2.5 required by campus. The AAB cannot overrule requirements by a third party.)
  • You have selected a summer program not on the approved list.  This will also require GEO Committee Approval.  (Approval for a semester program not on the approved list requires an appeal to the Curricular Policies Committee, and takes a bit longer.)
  • You will be participating in an off-campus program as a first semester sophomore or during your final semester
  • You intend to earn credit from an internship on an off-campus program before you achieve junior status
  • You intend to earn credit from direct enrollment in a non-U.S. institution (including Canadian universities) that are not through ISEP or another pre-approved program
  • You intend to participate in more than 2 semester-length off-campus programs (not including the Loop)
  • You intend to complete more than three total terms off-campus (ie, 2 semesters off-campus, plus 2 semesters in the Loop)

GEO will send all student applications for an appeal to the AAB. Your academic advisor must also send the AAB a written statement of support. You must copy the Coordinator of the Global Engagement Office on all emailed appeals.  If an AAB approval is needed, you will not get approval from GEO unless AAB also approves of your participation.

An appeal to President Schutt is needed if a student intends to study in a location where there is an active Travel Warning. 

Program Participation
Limits on Off-Campus Terms

Students may participate for credit in a total of two semester-long programs chosen from our list of 200+ programs in 70 countries, but should keep this information in mind:

  • The Lake Forest In the Loop Program is not included in this limitation. Students may go on two semester-long off-campus programs and still remain eligible to participate in one term in Lake Forest In the Loop. Alternately, the student may participate in two semesters in the Loop and one semester on a different approved program. The total amount of programs completed is not to exceed three semesters, with no more than two semesters in a single program.
  • One of the two non-Loop semesters MUST be an Exchange program.
  • If a student has a truly compelling reason to study off campus for a third semester in a program other than Lake Forest College In the Loop, the student may petition the Academic Appeals Board (AAB) for permission. The student’s advisor(s) must approve of this plan in order to move the application to the AAB. The College does not favor such petitions, however, and the AAB will very rarely approve one. 
Outside Programs

Students that wish to participate in a program not on our approved list must appeal to the Global Engagement Office. These applications will only be reviewed if allowed by the overall College budget, and the budget of the Global Engagement Office. This is not guaranteed to happen each year, and it is not anticipated that the budget for the 2020-2021 academic year will allow for outside applications.

To lodge an appeal, students must currently be in good judicial standing, and meet the current eligibility requirements set by Lake Forest College.

The appeal must show that the outside program is fundamentally different than those offered in the current portfolio (i.e. not in a current country/city that is already represented, or offer a completely different type of coursework than currently represented among the entire portfolio), and must outline:

  • Strong academic justification for choosing an outside program versus an existing Lake Forest-approved program
  • Academic rigor and quality of the program
  • Appropriateness of the student’s plan to his/her overall academic plan/major
  • Strength of student’s preparation at Lake Forest College
  • Level of cultural immersion or integration in the host country, and, where applicable, linguistic immersion

If reviewed by the Global Engagement Office, the application may be approved, if the Committee would consider adding this program to the approved list.  Further approval from the College’s Curricular Policy Committee may be required, depending on the program sponsor. If added, the student would pay their normal Lake Forest tuition + a program fee, and financial aid would be transferable to the new program.  If denied, the student would not be able to transfer their aid or bring credits back for that particular program.

Behavior on Off-Campus Programs

Students are held to the Lake Forest Student Code of Conduct, as well as any conduct codes of their host program, while off-campus. Students that break rules on their program will face a conduct hearing, either while abroad or upon their return to Lake Forest.

Ineligibility to Participate in Off-Campus Programs

Students may be declared ineligible in the application process to participate in a study abroad program based on recommendations of their academic advisor or the Dean of Students Offices. Most often, if this occurs, it happens during the application process in either Stage 1 or Stage 2.

Students should note that all approvals to participate in an off-campus program are conditional on the basis that a student must remain in good academic and judicial standing.  Should a student go on academic or disciplinary probation at any time before or during their off-campus program, or if the Dean of Students Office believes that the student should no longer participate, any approval will be rescinded.

Students declared ineligible to participate in an off-campus program will be removed from the roster.  Students will be responsible to their program host(s) for any withdrawal fees, and may lose non-refundable deposits, airfare costs, or other cancellation costs.  The College will not refund or reimburse students for these or other costs.  

Participation in a program without approval from the Global Engagement Office, or while ineligible to study off-campus, will mean that any credits earned on the program will not transfer to Lake Forest, and financial aid will not be applicable to the program.  

Credits earned while ineligible for off-campus programs will not be posted to the transcript once a student returns to good standing.  However, once in good standing, that student may choose to apply for an off-campus program to take place in a future term.

Academic Workload

Students must remain full-time students while participating in an off-campus semester program, which is the equivalent of 3 Lake Forest credits, up to 4.5 Lake Forest credits.  Falling below 3 credits will mean that the student is not eligible to receive aid.  Taking more than 4.5 credits will result in additional overload fees.

Students should note that they may be taking more or fewer courses than they do on Lake Forest’s main campus.  This can mean as few as 2 “tutorials” at Oxford, or as many as 10+ short courses in Japan.

See the Registrar determine the equivalent number of credits for your programs of interest.


Pre-Departure Orientation

All Lake Forest students participating in an off-campus program must participate in the mandatory pre-departure orientations.  One session is done online, and can be completed at any time before the start of finals.  The other session is in-person, taking place once per semester.  Failure to participate in orientations makes a student ineligible to participate in an off-campus program.


Course Approvals

All students must get their courses approved before departing on an off-campus program.  These must be turned into Off-Campus Programs before the last day of the semester prior to the term abroad.

A student’s academic advisor must approve all courses so that they can ensure that a student will stay on track to graduate on-time.  Advisors may approve courses to count for graduation or general education credit.

A department or program chair must sign off on all courses that are to count for a major or minor.

Requesting Accommodations

Students accepted to study away programs who are requesting accommodations must be registered with either the Student Center for Health and Wellness or Disability Services on Lake Forest’s campus.


Program Cancellation

Certain Lake Forest programs may have a required minimum number of students before the program will run.  In most cases, that number is 10 students.  Program sponsors such as ISEP, ACM, and others may have their own program minimums.

Lake Forest receives daily updates on health and safety concerns around the world.  Should a country seem unsafe or have a travel warning issued by the United States Department of State, President Schutt will review the program to determine if a student will be allowed to participate.

Generally speaking, students will be allowed to participate in a country that has a Level 1 or Level 2 advisory level from the US Department of State.  (Countries may have different levels by region, province or state, and this will be taken into consideration.)  Countries with a Level 3 advisory (Reconsider Travel) will require approval from President Schutt.  Students may not travel on Lake Forest sponsored or approved programs, whether for credit or non-credit, to countries with a Level 4 advisory (Do Not Travel).  The Coordinator of the Global Engagement Office, the Dean of the Faculty, the Dean of Students, and the President may review these standards for individual programs based on information from trusted safety experts and sources.

If a program must be cancelled before departure due to failure to meet minimum enrollment or concerns over safety issues abroad, the Global Engagement Office will work with a student to find a suitable alternative.  

Students should work with their own program provider, if not Lake Forest faculty-led, to determine the cancellation policy to understand what happens if a program is cancelled before a program begins or during a program.  Students may want to work with an insurance provider to help with travel costs, and Lake Forest will assist students in obtaining credit, when possible.

Credit and Transcripts

Students must complete all requirements from the Global Engagement Office, including pre-departure course approvals and returnee surveys, in order to have their grades earned off-campus to appear on their Lake Forest College transcript.  Students who fail to do this before the next term starts may find that they do not have enough credits to be eligible to receive financial aid.

Program Credit

Students will earn Lake Forest credit for all programs included on the College’s approved list of affiliated off-campus study programs.  

For Lake Forest program courses taught by Lake Forest faculty, the grades will appear on the transcript and count toward the GPA.  These courses include College faculty-taught courses in the Loop and the Lake Forest College Border Studies program.  Students may opt with Lake Forest’s Office of the Registrar to take these courses as Pass/Fail.

For all other courses/programs on the approved list of affiliated off-campus study programs, the course titles and grades will appear on the transcript, and be considered Lake Forest credit.  (EXCEPTION: Chinese Government Scholarship - see below.) However, the grades will not count toward the GPA except for Dean’s List and honors calculations.  Students may not opt to take these courses as Pass/Fail through the College, but may elect to do so if allowed by their host program.  Not all host programs allow Pass/Fail, and students should confirm with their departmental advisor at Lake Forest to determine whether their department will accept Pass/Fail courses toward the major or minor.

Participants in any other programs, including summer programs and the semester-long Chinese Government Scholarship, will earn transfer credit for courses completed with grades of C- or better. All programs must be approved by the College before transfer credit can be earned; certain programs may have been pre-approved for transfer credit and students can consult with the Global Engagement Office for details.  Course titles and grades earned for transfer credit will appear on the College transcript, but those grades will not be calculated in the GPA except for honors calculations.  Transfer credit is not eligible to count for Dean’s List.

Grading Policy

Different host institutions or countries have different grading policies than those at Lake Forest College, and that the College is not able to change your grade.

Students cannot choose to withdraw from a course after the grade has been received, nor ask the Registrar to not post one of the courses.  

The College cannot change student grades received on outside programs to Pass/Fail.

Costs and Financial Aid

A student receiving financial aid (scholarship, grant, loan) at Lake Forest may be able to use that aid for an approved semester off-campus program.  (See NOTES below regarding tuition remission plans, if applicable.)

Students may carry financial aid to a TOTAL of two semester programs, not including Lake Forest College in the Loop. Such aid is guaranteed ONLY for Lake Forest-branded, ACM, and programs on the affiliated off-campus study programs list. However, if a student participates in two semesters, one of those semesters MUST be an Exchange.  

Students who earn credit from an approved off-campus program and whose financial aid has been applied to that program may not drop—in whole or in part—any such credit without also fully reimbursing the College for all aid transferred to that program.

Students intending to participate in a semester program not on our affiliated program list will not be able to transfer their aid.  A student may file a petition for a non-affiliated semester program to be granted transferability of credit and/or aid. If approved, the student will pay Lake Forest tuition and a program fee before aid can be transferred.  Petitions will only be reviewed if allowed by the overall College and OCP budgets, and are not guaranteed to be granted. 

THERE IS NO LAKE FOREST FINANCIAL AID FOR ANY SUMMER PROGRAM. Some outside providers or national competitions may provide financial assistance for summer programs. Contact the Global Engagement Office for assistance with your applications.

Tuition Remission Exchange Program (TREP) 

If you attend Lake Forest College under the Tuition Remission Exchange Program (ACM schools only), your full tuition benefit will apply only  to participation in programs found the “Programs We Offer” page.  Please see the Financial Aid Office to determine level of coverage, and your anticipated out-of-pocket costs.

Council of Independent Colleges Tuition Exchange Program (CIC TEP)

If you attend Lake Forest College under the CIC TEP program, your full tuition benefit will apply only to participation in ISEP Exchange programs and Lake Forest College in the Loop. On average, there are over 150 ISEP Exchange programs offered each semester in locations across the world including London, Tokyo, Johannesburg, Sydney, and Buenos Aires.  ISEP Direct programs and other non-exchange programs are not covered by CIC TEP benefits.

While in the Loop, students must take Lake Forest faculty-taught courses, either on the Lake Forest campus or taught at the Flats.  Courses taught at partner institutions are not covered by CIC TEP benefits. If students wish to take a course at a partner institution through the Loop program, they would be responsible to pay that institution directly and show evidence of payment to the Center for Chicago Programs before moving into The Flats.

Please see the Financial Aid Office to determine your anticipated out-of-pocket costs.

Other Non-LFC/ACM College Benefits

If you are a dependent of a Lake Forest College employee and believe you are eligible for other non-LFC, non-ACM benefits, please contact the Director of Financial Aid, Jerry Cebrzynski, to verify such eligibility.

Global Engagement Office


Stuart Commons
Middle Campus


Alexandra Olson
Coordinator of the Global Engagement Office
Schedule an appointment
Stuart Commons, Room 200

Kathy Barnett
Global Engagement Assistant
Stuart Commons, Room 117