Fall 2021 FAQs

Fall and Academic Year 2021 Applicants

We know that many students and their families have questions about the status of fall 2021 and academic year 2021-22 study abroad programs. We hope the information below will help answer your questions as you make plans for the fall semester and beyond. Please email your study abroad advisor at any time with specific questions.  

Special Note: This webpage is for students who plan to participate on a program offered through the UNC Study Abroad Office (SAO). However, the information does not pertain to Carolina Global Launch students. This page was last updated on January 25, 2021. 

Decisions about Program Viability 

According to UNC System guidance, UNC-Chapel Hill is prohibiting University-affiliated travel outside the state of North Carolina. Exceptions to this travel restriction can only be made by the UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor or Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost. Current travel guidelines are detailed on the UNC Global website.   

The Study Abroad Office will seek exceptions to travel restrictions by country on the basis of global public health indicators; the ability of U.S. travelers to enter and depart the host country; availability of commercial flights; public health protocols, access to local health care, student support services at the program site; and other relevant factors. 


February 10Early deadline for students to apply to fall or academic year 2021-22 programs where host institution or organization’s deadline is April 1 or earlier. 

April 1Final deadline for students to apply for fall and academic year 2021-22 programsrolling program acceptance decisions. 

April 30SAO submits request for limited exceptions to travel restrictions for approval by the Chancellor or Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost. 

Week of May 10: SAO notifies faculty and students of approved countries and programs. 

May 25SAO notifies students of study abroad scholarship awards.  

June 1:  Deadline for students to commit to fall and academic year programs, including any students who are rerouting from a cancelled program. 

June 14: Registration begins for the UNC placeholder courses for study abroad for fall and academic year students. 

JulyFinancial aid packaging and billing for fall and academic year students. 

*Programs will be continually evaluated based on the program viability criteria listed above and may be cancelled at a later date for reasons such as: 

  • Travel restrictions that prevent students and/or faculty from entering the country 
  • The program host is unable to meet expectations for public health protocols, student support, and program modifications 

Frequently Asked Questions

Our study abroad advisors and financial aid advisor are currently taking appointments via Zoom. Please reach out to an advisor to schedule a one-on-one Zoom appointment by visiting https://studyabroad.unc.edu/advising-events/. 

You can complete your entire application online, but we are still available to advise you through a Zoom appointment. You can make a virtual appointment with an advisor by visiting: https://studyabroad.unc.edu/advising-events/. 

Yes. Once you’ve selected a program, please email your study abroad advisor or abroad@unc.edu with your name and PID to let us know which program you are applying to, and we will transfer your application fee to that program. 

Yes, please open a new application. If you previously opened an application to study abroad, your advisor can review application items that may be transferable and work with you on items that may need updating.    

Email your study abroad advisor or abroad@unc.edu and let us know how we can help. 

Scholarships that were previously awarded cannot be transferred to Fall 2021 programssince available scholarship funding varies from cycle to cycleThe Fall and Academic Year 2021 scholarship cycle is November 15, 2020 -February 10, 2021. To be considered for scholarships for Fall and Academic Year 2021, you will need to answer applicable scholarship questions in the regular program application.  

Applications are open from November 15 to February 10. At this time, the Study Abroad Office is committed to running as many Fall 2021 programs as possible.  

We will take into consideration the cancellation of your 2020 program when making admissions decisions for study abroad programs. 

Some programs may adjust things such as program start and end dates. We will update online program brochures to reflect changes of which we are notified. 

If you apply to study abroad, your study abroad advisor will be in regular communication with you and will notify you of any changes that are made to your program. 

If the program is cancelled during the application phase (November 15-February 10): 

Once you submit your applications to study abroad, the $50 application fee is not refundable. However, if your program is then cancelled and you wish to study abroad in a future term instead, we can apply the $50 application fee to a future application. 

If the program is cancelled after students have been accepted and have signed the Study Abroad Contract: 

After you are accepted to study abroad, and you have signed the Study Abroad Contract, you should be aware of the following financial obligations:  

Administrative Fee:  The administrative fee is non-refundable and will be charged to a student’s account only after committing to a program. Please note that you will remain responsible for the administrative fee if you decide to withdraw from the program. 

However, the Study Abroad Office will return the full administrative fee if the program is cancelled by UNC or the host organization before the program start date.  

For detailed information about the Study Abroad Administrative Fee, please visit https://studyabroad.unc.edu/unc-study-abroad-fee/  

Tuition & Fees/Program Costs: We will work with partner institutions and organizations abroad to refund partial charges when possible. Once the program has begun, most program costs are not recoverable, including tuition and program fees. Please review the Study Abroad Office cancellation and withdrawal information at https://studyabroad.unc.edu/cancellation-withdrawal-information-and-refunds-for-unc-study-abroad-programs/  

Housing: If you pay housing costs out of pocket and a program is suspended early, you should request prorated refunds from the housing agency directly. If housing costs are included in the study abroad program costs, the Study Abroad Office will request a prorated refund on your behalf. Some (but not all) study abroad partner organizations are able to prorate housing costs and offer partial refunds if the program is terminated before the original end–date.  

GeoBlue fee and health insurance: You will receive a refund of the Blue Cross Blue Shield GeoBlue insurance fee based on the date you return to the U.S., if you return before the original program end-date. Upon their early return, U.S. citizens and international students who have a visa to resume studies at Carolina mid-semester become eligible to obtain the Blue Cross Blue Shield Student Blue health care available to Carolina students. 

Deposits paid to host organizations/program providers: Students should contact the provider for options. Any refunds will be at the discretion of the provider. 

If a program is cancelled before its expected start date (for example, because borders remain closed), we may be able to switch your application to another program in the same term (as space and external deadlines permit). If we are unable to find another suitable program, you may defer to a future study abroad term or withdraw your application. If you do not switch to another program, and choose to withdraw your application, you may enroll in UNC courses during the typical enrollment period. 

UNC Study Abroad strives to minimize any academic impacts related to program cancellations. Whether  you receive course credit will be based on the following: 

  • the program in which you are participating,   
  • the type of credit you are pursuing,  
  • the timing of the cancellation,   
  • options for continuing coursework remotely, and   
  • timing relative to your program dates and on-campus enrollment.   

The Study Abroad Office and Academic Advising will work with you individually to help you stay on track for graduation. 

All Fall 2021 study abroad programs will have a plan for students to be able to complete the semester remotely if needed. In some cases, you may study remotely while remaining in the host country. If you depart the host country before the program’s scheduled end date, and if you successfully complete coursework remotely, then credit will be awarded just as if you had remained on-site. The UNC Study Abroad Office will help advise you if this transition occurs. 

The Study Abroad Office will notify students’ emergency contacts if a program is cancelled only after it has begun. If the program is cancelled prior to the start date, the Study Abroad Office will communicate directly with students, and we encourage students to share information about their study abroad programs with their families. In any situation in which students are capable of making their own decisions, communicating, seeking medical care and making travel arrangements, students will decide whether to notify their emergency contact of changes to their programs. The Study Abroad Office may reach out to emergency contacts if there is a real or perceived health or safety emergency while the student’s program is in progress. Any communication with emergency contacts will be subject to a student’s consent on file or if otherwise permitted by law. 

Yes. GeoBlue Health Insurance covers COVID-19 testing for individuals displaying symptoms, and your host organization/institution and GeoBlue can direct you to local medical care. GeoBlue provides 24/7 health insurance assistance. You may review the full insurance policy details in the HeelsAbroad application system.