Global Programs announces cancellation of fall education abroad programs

June 08, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — University leaders have made the decision to suspend all fall 2020 semester-long study abroad programming.  This decision in no way reflects what Penn State’s plans for residential instruction are for the fall semester, which is to be announced by President Eric Barron on June 15.

This decision, which has been made following a considerable amount of information-gathering and careful thought, is heavily based on safety considerations. A number of factors that played a critical role in the University’s decision include:

  • International travel advisories.
  • Potential health risk to self and others.
  • National travel regulations and immigration support.
  • Academic and program modifications.
  • Financial and planning issues.

Students who applied for education abroad programs for the fall 2020 semester will have their applications deactivated and the education abroad fee waived. If a student wishes to defer their application to another semester, the Education Abroad office in Global Programs will work with students to make that happen.

Students for whom the lack of study abroad during fall 2020 represents a significant interruption to their academic progress toward their degree (e.g. may not graduate on time or be able to meet degree requirements) may file a petition for an academic exception to continue to pursue study abroad in the fall.  A successful academic petition to Education Abroad in no way signifies that a student will ultimately be permitted to study abroad in the fall, as a secondary health and safety petition will also be required and reviewed by the University’s international restricted travel committee.

Penn State highly values the academic and personal growth opportunities study abroad presents to its students, furthering the global engagement mission of the University. The Education Abroad staff, as well as faculty collaborators, continue to assess and plan for study abroad opportunities in the future when these programs can be offered with certainty. In the meantime, Global Programs works to assist the University community in expanding global engagement opportunities for all students. 

For more information regarding this decision, contact Brian Brubaker, director of Education Abroad, at  


Last Updated June 08, 2020