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Spring 2020 Program Cancellation FAQ

In addition to the responses provided below to questions received from students studying with the Spring 2020 Rome Program, the most current information related to COVID-19 and study abroad is available here:

  1. Can students earn partial credit if they don’t return to Ames and stay in Europe until May?
    According to university policy, if students choose to stay in Europe, they will be considered as having dropped a full semester of studies as they will not have access to their curriculum the rest of the semester. They cannot receive partial credit. They must complete the requirements of their courses to receive credit.

  2. What if the travel ban happens before students leave on the 6th?
    The date of March 6 is the latest the university recommends returning. We advise rebooking flights and returning as soon as possible, with the goal of Wednesday, March 4, as the latest day to be back in the United States.

    If students are returning in our recommended timeframe, we are partially responsible for the implications of any travel disruptions, quarantines, etc. If students decide to unaffiliate from the university and do something on their own, they will be responsible for the consequences. Our strong advice is to come back ASAP. If a travel ban occurs before their departure, we are all subject to the restrictions imposed.

  3. Can there be a waiver for people to continue school work/study in Rome after spring break?
    All Iowa State University study abroad programs in Italy have been suspended. The decision has been made by the university, and continuing to work/study in Rome after spring break is not an approved option.

  4. Can we get reimbursements for flights back from Vienna as this was a school trip? 
    Due to cancellation of the North field trip and the Roma Tre workshop, students will receive a Ubill credit of 300 euro, or about $340.

  5. Will we get our money back from the Study Abroad Program fees, due to the fact that the program has been canceled?
    Program fees associated with academic instruction will not be reimbursed, as the faculty in Italy will continue to deliver course content remotely to students in Ames.

  6. Can the students stay in Rome/sign a waiver to continue their studies in Rome?
    Although we completely understand the stance of a student who is only partway through their study abroad experience wanting to preserve that experience, Iowa State will not continue to support the credit-bearing portion of that experience in Rome. If students decide to become unaffiliated with the university for the semester and acknowledge that they are traveling as private citizens without the support or oversight of the university, they can do so; however, they will not get credit for the courses they are enrolled in.

    The inverse of this situation is the reason we are asking our students to return. While they are traveling on university-sponsored activities, we have a duty to keep them safe. The university has determined that given conditions in Italy, we cannot continue to meet that duty, and therefore we need to remove them from Italy.

    UPDATE: Students who fail to comply with Iowa State’s request to return home by the end of the week (March 6) risk the following implications:

    – No travel support from Iowa State
    – No guarantee of academic credit
    – Removal from the university’s health and safety insurance
    – Possible complications with student visa status

    (See email from Frank Peters sent 10:04 p.m. CST Saturday, Feb. 29)

  7. If students want to stay in Europe/Italy through spring break, then return to Ames for scheduled classes on March 23rd, can they still get reimbursed for the ticket back home?  
    The university decision has been made. It is not subject to review at this point. Please see the answers above. Iowa State will not reimburse tickets issued for a return flight taking place after the end of this week (March 6) at the latest, with March 4 as highly recommended.

  8. If coronavirus has slowed down, will students be able to come back to Rome after spring break to continue their education in Rome?
    Based on the current and anticipated trajectory of the spread of the virus, it is very unlikely the situation will improve enough to allow for a return to Rome, and we have no plans to provide this option. We are making arrangements for students to finish their studies in Ames.

  9. How will we accommodate students who will need to return to Ames directly from Rome, rather than coming back to campus after spring break?
    We have worked with ISU Housing to accommodate such cases on a case-by-case basis. The university’s Thielen Student Health Center (TSHC) has provided instructions on how to monitor students’ health as they return to the US (see email from Erin Baldwin sent at 8:35 p.m. CST Saturday, Feb. 29).

    Based on recent guidance by the CDC and Iowa Department of Public Health, the university is now requiring students self-isolate for 14 days upon their return (as of March 5). Specific information has been provided to students by TSHC. This involves social distancing, which means remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding local public transportation (bus, subway, taxi, ride-share) and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others. Congregate settings include such settings as shopping centers, movie theaters, stadiums, workplaces, and schools and other classroom settings in which close seating or dense crowds may make social distancing impossible. For health-related questions, email

    The information from the Iowa Department of Public Health also offers guidance for families of students under self-isolation.
  10. Can the students get credited with the amount of money if they don’t use the university housing option? 
    Students securing their own housing will be reimbursed for housing on a prorated basis. Those who accept the offer of university/residence hall housing will have this covered by their Rome housing fee.

  11. Will the students be guaranteed 12 credits when they return to Ames and finish their studies here?
    Yes, if they follow our recommendations and finish the class here.

  12. Do the students have to go to Ames for the full two months once classes start after break or can the class be accelerated?
    The chair of the Department of Architecture is working with the chair of Landscape Architecture as well as the Rome team — Simone, Consu, Matilde and Karen — on alternatives, with an accelerated semester being one of the options. We might be able to provide an intensive version of the second half of the studio course. They will determine what is best for our students and the Architecture/Landscape Architecture curriculum. Our goal is to try to finish the semester on time.

  13. What if a student chooses to remain in Rome, but returns to Ames to start classes after spring break? Will they too be reimbursed for flight? Can they stay in BH Housing?
    We can’t force students to return, but our plan and support (financial and otherwise) will be directed toward returning them home quickly and safely. If students choose to unaffiliate themselves with Iowa State and stay in Italy/Europe through spring break, they may find that travel restrictions prevent them from returning. In addition, when they do return to the United States, the government may require them to self-quarantine for 14 days. This means they may not be able to come back to campus in time to resume their studies in Ames.

    We are not responsible for disruptions or other implications resulting if students choose not to follow the university’s recommendations.

    BH Housing was arranged in conjunction with the study abroad program; now that the program is canceled, they are not able to stay in BH Housing beyond the recommended date of return to the US.

  14. What happens if this student is then quarantined and cannot return to Ames to start classes after spring break? Will they receive partial credit for studies? Will they receive reimbursement?
    That is why we want our students to return to the US as soon as possible. The university can’t guarantee anything if quarantine and/or travel restrictions are imposed. Please refer to #6. This all comes down to a situation where if students work with the university, we are equipped to help mitigate all the implications and complications involved in this decision. There are a lot of unknowns, and there is also great commitment to helping. However, in order to help, students need to be willing to receive that help and that means sometimes meeting us halfway.

  15. Will ISU reimburse the cost difference to change the date for their return flight? Or will ISU fully cover the cost of a new ticket as some airlines may not provide change of date as an option?
    Yes. Iowa State will reimburse date change fees or the cost of a new ticket if rebooking is not possible.

    If rebooking is not possible, students should compare the cost of 1-way and round-trip airfare as sometimes round-trip flights might be more affordable, even though the student would not need the other half. Students could try a variety of return dates and times to see if any of those lowers the cost. We encourage them to find the most cost-effective option that allows them to return by March 4. Delta and American Airlines recently announced flexibility with their flight change fees. United is currently offering flexibility from airports north of Rome:

    Students should only arrange flights to return immediately to the US, with no extended stopovers in another location.

    Upon return, students should submit flight details and receipts to for reimbursement.

  16. Will CISI cover insurance even when students are back home?
    Iowa State has resources for students interested in health insurance coverage after they return to the US through the Student and Scholar Health Insurance Plan (SSHIP). The team in the SSHIP office can assist with both questions and enrollment: (515) 294-4800 or 1-877-477-7485,
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