Frequently Asked Questions for Stony Brook Students

Q: What are the basic requirements to be eligible for NSE?
A: You must be a full time matriculated undergraduate student at Stony Brook for at least two consecutive semesters immediately preceding the exchange and have a cumulative grade point average of 2.5.   You must complete the application, which includes personal information, two references, academic advising forms, and a personal statement about why you want to go on exchange.  A meeting with the coordinator is mandatory.  There is a non-refundable placement fee that will be expected once you have been accepted into the program by the coordinator.

You must be a student in good academic, social, and financial standing at the University (that is, not under any investigation or sanctions either in the student judiciary or the residence halls and not have an outstanding balance).

Successful applicants must demonstrate adaptability and motivation and be a good representative of Stony Brook University.

It is important that you attend one of the information sessions to find out more details about the program from the coordinator.

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Q: What is the deadline for the application?
A: The application deadline is February 14th for exchange the following fall and/or spring semester.  This deadline gives you the greatest options for placement at the annual March conference.

Any applications after the placement conference in March will be considered a late placement and severely decreases your options because many schools close for placement at the conference.

Late placement deadlines for Stony Brook students are noted on the application.

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Q: What if I miss the application deadline?
A: If you miss the deadline for conference placement you will have to wait until after the conference to speak to the coordinator about a late placement for the following Fall and/or Spring.  Take note: more than half the schools close at the conference and are not open for late placement.  The coordinator can tell you which schools are available on which plans.

If you want to submit a late application for the next Fall and/or Spring semester the coordinator can be contacted April 15 – October 1.  It is in your best interests to contact the coordinator sooner rather than later.

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Q: What are Plans A and B all about?
A: These plans refer to which school you pay your tuition and fees.
Plan B means you pay your tuition and fees to Stony Brook University (as if you were taking classes here).  Except in the rare instance, it is expected that Stony Brook students will exchange out on Plan B.

Plan A means you pay the AWAY school (the host school – the one you are going to) tuition and fees at their in-state rate.  

Room and board and any other direct costs to attend school are paid to your host school.

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Q: What about financial aid?
A: All federal aid programs are available on both Plans A and B.  That is, if you are eligible for Pell, SEOG, federal loans, etc. you can receive them on Plan A or B.  You will not be eligible for college work study while on exchange.  However, you can still work at a non-work study job.

New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) is available on Plan B only, if you are certified eligible for TAP.  That is because you would be paying a NYS school (in this case Stony Brook).  It would also be available if you exchanged to another NSE school in New York State on Plan A (again, you would be paying a NYS school).

Stony Brook students apply as usual for financial aid through our financial aid office.  You do not apply to the host school for financial aid.  We have a liaison counselor in the financial aid office who deals with NSE students on a personal basis.  This saves you the extra administrative and bureaucratic work involved in dealing with another financial aid office.

If you are a recipient of a Stony Brook University scholarship, in all likelihood you may use it towards Plan B exchange.  However, it is best to check to make sure this is the case.

If you are a recipient of a private scholarship or any other outside funding source, you will have to check with that agency to find out their requirements for its use.

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Q: What happens to the credits that I take while on exchange?
A: All credits that you take while on exchange are treated like any transfer credits.  With appropriate evaluation and approval, they may be counted towards DEC, electives, upper division and/or major or minor credits.  The only requirement that NSE transfer credits cannot fulfill are residency credits.

The courses that you take on exchange will neither appear on your Stony Brook transcript nor will the g.p.a. that you earn with those courses effect your Stony Brook g.p.a.  HOWEVER, your official transcript from your host school will be an important and integral part of your educational record and WILL BE RELEVANT when you apply to graduate or professional school or if you are asked for all your transcripts for a job or other reason.  Your Stony Brook transcript will record that you went on NSE and from which school your credits are being transferred.

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Q: Can I go anywhere I want to?
A: Currently, Stony Brook does not participate in the Study Abroad or International Exchange Programs available through NSE.
Otherwise, any of the schools in the program (with the above exceptions) are open to you.  The coordinator will discuss your choices with you in order to optimize your placement into your first or second choice school. 

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Q: How long can I exchange for?
A: You may go on exchange for a semester or an academic year.  Some schools (very few) allow a summer exchange when it is attached to a preceding spring or a following fall.

Some schools prefer year long exchanges. 

You may go to a quarter system school for either the full academic year or for the equivalent of our spring semester (i.e., winter and spring quarters at the host school).  You may not go to a quarter system school for just the fall quarter.

You can even go to one school for the fall and another for the spring!

The longest period of time you may be on NSE is the equivalent of one calendar year (twelve months).  This does not have to be continuous; you may exchange for a summer, fall and spring in different years and on different campuses.

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Q: When is the best time for me to exchange?
A: Although you may go on NSE any time after your first full time year at Stony Brook, there are advantages to waiting till at least your second semester sophomore year, or your junior or senior year.  As a first year student, you will have only just begun to adjust to your new environment.  If you then go on NSE, you’ll have to do that all over again in a new place; and, then return to Stony Brook and reconnect.  If you wait a while, you will have more experiences and wider networking here to return to and you will probably have an easier time adapting to another new environment away.

If you are in a highly structured program (e.g., an engineering program), it might be to your academic benefit to go out earlier rather than later, when the course schedules are less rigid in your major.

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Q: Can I go on exchange with a friend?
A: We call these “linked exchanges.”  Linked exchanges are accepted or denied by the host school as if they were one student.  Thus, if another school for some reason (e.g., housing issues) can’t take the two of you, neither is accepted.

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Q: Where have Stony Brook students gone on NSE?
A: Oh!  The places you’ll go!  Among the schools that Stony Brook students have chosen include: the two universities in Hawaii (Manoa and Hilo), Alaska, Minnesota, Florida International, California (Humboldt, CSUN, CSULA, Sonoma, Chico, San Bernardino), UMass, Amherst and Boston, Rutgers, Northern Arizona, Towson, Alabama State, Western Washington, Grambling, Hunter, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, Idaho State, LSU, South Carolina, Tennessee, UNLV, New Mexico, Virginia Tech, Winthrop University, Northern Colorado.

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Q: When do I find out if I have been placed at one of my choices?
A: As soon as the coordinator returns from the placement conference in March, you will be notified.  A meeting will be held and certain important paperwork will have to be completed in order to complete the placement process.

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Q: Do I have to enroll as a full time student at my host school?
A: Yes! You must be a full time student while on exchange.

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Q: How do I register for classes at my host school?
A: After conference placement you will be given a form to sign indicating your acceptance or declination of your placement.  Material will be sent to each student from your host campus that will explain all the details of enrollment, registration, housing, etc.  There are no general rules that cover all campuses.  Some schools have you register on the web, some by phone, some by the coordinator, some have you register when you arrive on their campus.

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Q: Does this program allow me to establish residency at the host school?
A: No. Students participating in NSE are considered visiting students and cannot establish residency at the host school.  If you decide to transfer to the school, you will be charged as an out-of-state student.
If you do decide to transfer, then you are subject to all the requirements of that school and may lose credits, etc.  The NSE program is NOT a transfer program.  You will lose all benefits of being a Stony Brook student.

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Q. How do I know what courses I may take at my host school?
A. There are two aspects to this question:

1. First, as part of your decision-making process, you should go to and look for your major or minor, or area of interest and see which schools offer courses in those disciplines for NSE students. Alternatively, if you know the school(s) you are interested in you can see if they offer courses in the area you want to pursue. Not all courses are open to NSE students.

2. Second, you will need to check with your academic advisor or major/minor advisor to see if courses will transfer for what you need (major courses, upper division, electives, DEC). This step is actually part of the application process.

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Q. I’m interested in a Canadian school.  What do I have to know?

A. Almost everything you need to know, in general, about exchanging to Canada is on the NSE national website and also in the hard copy of the NSE “Directory of Exchange Opportunities.”  You will be considered an international exchange student and you will have to comply with all Canadian federal and university-specific requirements.

All NSE procedures for Stony Brook students will be the same (e.g., exchange on Plan B, courses will be evaluated for transfer credit, financial aid will be administered in our Financial Aid and Scholarship Services office, etc.).

If you plan to exchange to a campus in Canada you need to know that Canada has two official languages: English and French. All NSE members in Canada, with the exception of the Universite de Sherbrooke and Universite du Quebec a’ Montreal, teach in English. Students for whom English is not their first language may be asked to demonstrate English proficiency through submission of TOEFL or other test scores.

The language of instruction at the Université de Sherbrooke and the Université du Québec à Montréal is French. Prior to placement, you must demonstrate French proficiency by interviewing with a faculty member or administrator who teaches French at Stony Brook.  Additional testing may be administered by the Universite de Sherbrooke.

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Q: Are there student discount airfares available?
A: Here are a few websites that might be useful when you are searching for lower airfare rates for your trip to your host campus.

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