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Policies


Program Policies
The policies below are summarized. For more detailed information on the policies and terms of American Councils for International Education Language Programs, please contact Outbound staff at outbound@americancouncils.org.

1. Admissions Policy
2. Student Conduct Policy
3. Academic Program and Policy
4. Attendance Policy
5. Final Grades
6. Payment Policy
7. Refund Policy
8. Independent Travel Policy

Admissions Policy
Admission to all American Councils Programs is competitive and is based on language ability, academic record, personal essays, and references. An outside panel of language professionals reviews applications and selects the finalists. American Councils Outbound staff may interview applicants as part of the admissions process. Selected applicants will be contacted by telephone to schedule interviews. Acceptance into the program is conditional on the applicant’s continued ability to meet eligibility requirements. These requirements include mandatory attendance at the pre-departure orientation in Washington, DC, timely submission of all forms to the American Councils Washington office, and compliance with American Councils visa regulations. American Councils reserves the right to withdraw acceptance to the program if an applicant suffers a severe drop in GPA, is the subject of legal or disciplinary action, or fails to maintain American Councils confidence that she/he will be successful on the program.

Student Conduct Policy
American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS requires that participants comply with a Personal Conduct Code. Participants risk immediate dismissal from the program, loss of academic credit, revocation of visa and early return to the United States should they: behave in a way that endangers or impairs the abilities of other students to participate in the program and/or American Councils staff to meet their responsibilities to the group; violate host-country law, university rules, visa regulations or travel policies; possess, manufacture or distribute drugs; consume a level of alcohol that might cause physical injury, arrest or detainment; and/or fail to abide by academic policies outlined below. Participants should understand that they are subject to the laws of the country they are visiting. In many cases laws in Eurasia are much stricter and the penalties for violating them are much stronger. All participants are expected to comply with the host country’s laws as well as the policies of American Councils for International Education.

Academic Program and Policy
All aspects of the academic program are monitored by American Councils-appointed staff. All American Councils program participants are registered for academic credit at Bryn Mawr College. Graduate students receive the equivalent of 15 academic hours for one semester of study, 30 hours for the academic year, and 10 hours for the summer program. Undergraduates receive the equivalent of 16 academic hours for one semester of study, 32 hours for the academic year, and 8 hours for the summer program. It should be noted that although participants are studying on an American Councils program, they will be enrolling as students at a local university. Therefore, participants should be prepared for classroom conditions that may be very different from of those of U.S. universities and teaching methods that differ considerably from those of many American faculty. Participants should remain open and receptive to the reality of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In many ways, the quality of each participant’s academic experience will depend on his/her ability to accept cultural differences gracefully, his/her willingness to participate earnestly in classes, and his/her desire to form productive friendly relations with instructors.

Attendance Policy
American Councils for International Education and Bryn Mawr College require that participants be present for all classes and group meetings, as well as excursions (for certain programs). Excused absences include those due to observance of religious holidays and illness, but it is the participant’s responsibility to alert the Resident Director as soon as it becomes evident that a class, meeting or excursion will be missed. Habitual tardiness and unexcused absences will result in grade reductions or other disciplinary actions.

Final Grades
Final grades will be determined in Washington by the American Councils Office of Russian and Eurasian Programs. In doing so, the Office considers the grades awarded by instructors as well as evaluations and comments of the Resident Director and in-country staff. Therefore, participants should not assume that the grades his or her teachers announce in class will be the final grades – they may be adjusted as necessary to reflect the student’s overall participation in the American Councils program. Many factors can affect grades – readiness to speak the target-language outside of the classroom, participation in weekly excursions, and overall effort put into coursework are of particular significance. If a decision to change a participant’s grade is made, it should come as no surprise; students will have received clear verbal or written warnings from the American Councils staff before such a measure is taken. Should a participant be dissatisfied with his/her final grade, he/she should contact the Outbound staff in the Washington office.

Payment Policy
A $500 non-refundable program deposit and a $250 non-refundable visa fee are due to secure placement on the program. The deposit and visa fee due date will be specified in the acceptance letter. After a student has accepted a placement on an American Councils program, invoice will be issued and sent either to the participant’s permanent address or to their home institution if payment is arranged directly through the participant school. Payments must be postmarked by the due date indicated on the invoice. Late payments will be subject to a late payment fee as follows:

Days after the payment due date Late payment fee
Less than 14 days $200
More than 14 days $200 plus 0.01% per day of the unpaid balance for any day after the 14th day

Participants may elect to pay by credit card. However, please note that they will be charged an additional 3% transaction fee. To set up a payment by credit card, please call our office at 202-833-7522.

Academic year students may choose to pay the program cost in two installments: fall semester cost by the invoice due date and the remainder at least 14 days before the beginning of spring semester. Participants may petition American Councils in writing to establish a payment plan at least 14 days before the invoice due date. Participants must demonstrate financial hardship or other circumstances which would make it difficult to pay the invoice by the established deadline. If a payment plan is approved, a missed deadline in the payment plan will be subject to the same late payment fees as outlined above. Please note that American Councils has individual financial agreements with a number of US universities and it is student responsibility to check with the study abroad office on the university payment policy. If a participant is responsible for only a part of the program cost, he/she will be subject to the same late payment fees as outlined above.

Refund Policy
N.B. All programs are considered to start on the first day of pre-departure orientation.

Withdrawal before the program starting date
A non-refundable deposit of $500 and non-refundable visa fee of $250 are required to hold your place on the program. If written notification of withdrawal is received before the program starting date, American Councils will refund all program fees except for the following:

Days before starting date Fee
More than 30 days $750 (program deposit and visa fee)
Less than 30 days $750 (program deposit and visa fee) plus 25% of the program cost

In cases where program deposit, visa fee or 25% of the program cost has not yet been received by American Councils, these fees will be due. In the case of withdrawal by an American Councils financial aid recipient, all financial aid received must be returned to American Councils within 14 days of the withdrawal notification.

Deferral before the program starting date
A non-refundable deposit of $500 and non-refundable visa fee of $250 are required to hold your place on the program. If written notification of deferral is received before the program starting date, American Councils will refund all program fees except for the following:

Days before starting date Fee
More than 30 days $750 (program deposit and visa fee)
Less than 30 days $750 (program deposit and visa fee) plus 25% of the program cost

In cases where program deposit, visa fee or 25% of the program cost has not yet been received by American Councils, these fees will be due. The non-refundable deposit of $500 and 25% of the program cost may be applied towards future participation on an American Councils study abroad program within the next 11 months. Participants who defer acceptance to a program will be sent an American Councils Deferral Credit Form. This form outlines the amount paid by the participant toward his/her initial program and must be returned to American Councils when the participant is ready to confirm participation in a program for a new term. The Deferral Credit Form must be returned along with a written request for reactivation of the application by the appropriate application deadline. In the case of deferral by an American Councils financial aid recipient, all financial aid received must be returned to American Councils within 14 days of the deferral notification.

Withdrawal on and after the program starting date
A non-refundable deposit of $500 and non-refundable visa fee of $250 are required to hold your place on the program. If written notification of withdrawal is received on or after the program starting date or if a confirmed participant does not notify American Councils in writing of his/her withdrawal and does not attend the pre-departure orientation, American Councils will refund all program fees except for the following:

Days after starting date Fee
On starting date $750 (program deposit and visa fee) plus 50% of the program cost
Less than 14 days $750 (program deposit and visa fee) plus 50% of the program cost
Between 14 and 28 days $750 (program deposit and visa fee) plus 75% of the program cost
More than 28 days No refund

In cases where program deposit, visa fee or the appropriate percentage of the program cost has not yet been received by American Councils, these fees will be due. In the case of withdrawal by an American Councils financial aid recipient, the financial aid will be pro-rated based on the amount of time a participant is enrolled in the program. All funds exceeding the pro-rated amount must be returned to American Councils within 14 days of the withdrawal notification.

Independent Travel Policy
As a participant in this American Councils program, you may travel independently within the host-country. If you intend to travel independently, please plan a careful budget and bring additional money, as such travel can be expensive. In addition, please keep in mind the following rules concerning independent travel:

  • Before traveling independently you will need to submit a travel request and have received prior approval for your trip. Independent travel requests should be made at least 10 days in advance.
  • Participants are not allowed to leave the host country to travel independently except in the event of an emergency. This policy is strictly enforced.
  • Students are not allowed to miss classes to travel independently.
  • You may not travel to any area deemed unsafe or off-limits by the US or the host-country government. The American Embassy or Consulate can provide information about areas for which travel advisories have been issued.