COVID-19 FAQ

What is BestSemester doing to communicate with current students, parents, and partner campuses?
We continue to provide frequent updates and support to students, parents, and partner campuses via email and this website.

I left my Spring 2020 program early. What is BestSemester’s refund policy?
We refunded all recoverable program costs back to our institutional partners and students. It’s important to note that recoverable costs vary greatly by program, and are the anticipated expenses that we did not incur as a result of concluding the residential portion of our program early. Examples of the types of expenditures that may be included in these refunds are costs for trips not taken, meals not eaten, and other program specific activities that you were unable to experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If we were able to recover housing costs from terminating leases early, or through conversations with institutional partners, then those fees will be refunded back to you as well.

In early June, BestSemester sent you and your campus a refund notice detailing the specific refund amount you are eligible for. All refunds will be returned via the manner in which they were paid (so for most of you, the refund will be paid directly back to your institution). These refund checks were mailed from BestSemester’s DC office on June 5. Please reach out to your study abroad director or billing office for specific information regarding how they will process these refunds once they are received.

What is the plan for your programs for the 2020-2021 academic year?
Due to the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made the difficult decision that we will not run eight of our nine BestSemester programs for the duration of the 2020-2021 academic year. Our Scholars’ Semester in Oxford is offering online tutorial seminars for credit during the 2020-2021 academic year, and is planning to run in-person in Spring 2021. 

The following programs will not run for the 2020-2021 academic year: 
•    American Studies Program 
•    Australia Studies Centre 
•    Contemporary Music Center 
•    L.A. Film Studies Center 
•    Latin American Studies Program 
•    Middle East Studies Program 
•    Northern Ireland Semester 
•    Uganda Studies Program 
 
Is there any chance the Spring 2021 semester will run despite this decision?  
At this point, the only program we intend to run in Spring 2021 is our Scholars’ Semester in Oxford program. We unfortunately do not plan to run any of our other BestSemester programs for Spring 2021.  

Is there a plan to have programs run in 2021-2022?  
Future program activities for Fall 2021 and beyond are still under consideration, and we will be using this next academic year to create a new strategy and vision for our global education offerings moving forward. We encourage you to monitor our website and social media for future programming updates.  

Will my confirmation deposit be refunded? 
Yes, all confirmation deposits that were paid for the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semester will be refunded in full. We ask for your patience as we refund deposits. Once your refund has been processed, it may take a few days for the funds to show up in your account. If you have questions, please contact PayPal directly using the Transaction ID given in the receipt. 

Can I transfer my application to next year? 
Due to the fact that future program activities are still under consideration for Fall 2021 and beyond, at this time you are not able to transfer your application to a future semester. Your current application will be withdrawn by your program advisor. We will be using this next academic year to create a new strategy and vision for our global education offerings moving forward, and encourage you to monitor our website & social media. You will be able to re-apply for a program in the future if the opportunity becomes available. 

How was this decision made? What were the factors?  
We considered a number of factors as part of our decision process, including travel restrictions, health & safety requirements, internship availability, the financial implications of running programs with lower enrollment, and decisions made by many of our campuses to cancel or restrict study abroad for the coming academic year.  

Why wasn’t this decision made sooner? 
We approached this process with the desire to run our programs next year if it all possible. In early March, we convened a task force focused on program planning for 2020-2021, and spent the past three months looking into the feasibility of preserving our programs, recognizing that each of our nine program locations brings unique travel restrictions and health & safety requirements. Ultimately, we unfortunately determined that it was not possible for us to run the majority of our programs for the 2020-2021 academic year in a safe or financially feasible way. 

My school hasn’t cancelled study abroad for the fall/spring. Why did you?  
Each program is impacted by COVID-19 in different ways, including internship availability, travel restrictions, health & safety requirements, or low enrollment due to other institutions cancelling or restricting study abroad. This was a difficult decision for us, made in response to the ongoing impact of the coronavirus, which ultimately required us to make substantial changes to our off-campus study program offerings for the duration of the 2020-2021 academic year. 

What if my school requires me to get intercultural/study abroad credit?  
We encourage all students who were hoping to receive intercultural/study abroad credit through BestSemester to talk to their off-campus/study abroad office to find out what other options are available to them. 

Will my application fee be refunded? 
Application fees are a non-recoverable cost for us since we use a third-party application software. We are unfortunately not able to refund application fees, but as we mentioned above, we are able to fully refund your confirmation deposit.  

I already bought my plane tickets. What should I do?  
Airfare is not included in the BestSemester program fee and therefore we are not able to issue any refunds for airline changes or cancellations. You will need to work with the airline or provider directly on any possible refund. 

I’m graduating in May 2021. Can I participate in one of your programs after graduation as a non-traditional or graduate student? 
We are continuing to explore future possibilities for our programs. We encourage you to monitor our website and social media to read updates as they become available. Some programs, like our Oxford Summer Programme, can accommodate non-traditional and graduate students.  

Why can’t I participate virtually?  
Due to the hands-on, experiential nature of our programs and the specific experiences that come with studying abroad or off-campus, it is generally not feasible for us to run these as semester-long virtual programs.  

Given the unique nature and setup of our program in Oxford, we have found a feasible way to offer online tutorial seminars as part of our Scholars’ Semester in Oxford.