Home > Policies > Program Cancellation
What circumstances would cause Lehigh to cancel a short-term summer or winter program abroad?
A decision to cancel a program would be made after careful consideration of all available information, and would be informed by conversations with faculty program directors, staff at hosting/partner institutions in-country; U.S. embassy officials in-country, and the Study Abroad Office's assessment of current and anticipated events.
Those events include (in no specific order): a declaration of war by the U.S. against the country where the program is located or an adjacent neighbor; declaration of war by a third country against the country of the program's location; significant terrorist activity in the program city or country; protracted or indefinite closure of the host institution(s); inability of the local support staff to organize and carry out an academic program outside the host institution(s); disruption of public utilities and/or services; wide-spread civil unrest, violence and/or rioting; a declaration of martial law in the program city; recommendation of suspension/cancellation by the faculty program directors in-country; a significant health threat; a natural disaster or other catastrophic event; and/or travel warning and /or specific directive by the U.S. State Department and / or U.S. Embassy.
Additionally, programs may also be cancelled prior to departure due to insufficient enrollment, or in the event the program directors are unable to run the program (for example, because of personal health issues).
What are the academic and financial consequences of the cancellation of a short-term study abroad program?
In the unlikely event that such a cancellation should occur, either before or after departure, causing no academic credit to be awarded, full refunds will be made unless the cancellation is due to factors (political, natural, technological, for example) beyond Lehigh's control, in which case Lehigh will be able to refund only uncommitted and recoverable funds. Lehigh would examine the possibility of bringing the program back to campus in some way, to prevent loss of credit for participants. If Lehigh terminates a program early, but makes arrangements for students to earn full or partial credit, the refund amount would reflect this.
What happens if an approved semester/yearlong program is cancelled?
Unfortunately, for many reasons it would be difficult for students to return to campus after the end of the drop/add period, or, except in exceptional circumstances, to get credit through work with Lehigh faculty. External programs' refund policies vary widely, and Lehigh would attempt to help students receive reasonable refunds, however Lehigh would not be able to refund non-recoverable funds. The Financial Aid Office is required to follow federal guidelines in determining refunds to federal sources. The staff of the Financial Aid Office would work with any such student receiving financial aid to attempt to arrive at the best possible solution. Students are advised to inquire about the refund policies of external programs prior to enrolling.
Can I return home mid-program if current events make me nervous?
Lehigh students abroad always have the option of returning home, however it is not possible to enroll in on-campus courses after the end of the drop/add period.
What are the academic and financial consequences of withdrawal after the program starts, even if the program continues to operate?
While wishing to remain sensitive to individual students' concerns, Lehigh's practice is to work with the objective information provided by the sources listed above. Therefore, a student's decision to withdraw from a program which continues to operate will result in a loss of tuition and fees paid, as well as a loss of credit not completed.
Can I withdraw from a program for which I've signed up , but not departed , even though it continues to run?
The refund policies of external programs vary greatly, and students may be liable for deposits and expenses incurred on their behalf. In the case of Lehigh-run programs, students are liable for all expenses incurred on their behalf, and deposits are not transferable or refundable.
Where can I get more information about world events that may affect my experience?
The Study Abroad Office receives regular security updates from the U.S. Government, as well as from several foreign governments, and is happy to discuss your concerns about health, safety, and security around the world.