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Student Success Center

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Interested Students

The exchange program offers students a unique opportunity to experience other cultures and perspectives while pursuing their educational goals.

The University of South Carolina will end its membership in the NSE program on June 30, 2023. Therefore, we are not accepting any applications for NSE exchanges for 2023 or beyond.



To be eligible, students:

  • Must be enrolled as a full-time undergraduate at USC-Columbia
  • Must have a cumulative 2.75 GPA the semester prior to exchange
  • Must be in good standing academically, personally, and financially (e.g., no conduct/disciplinary/academic integrity issues)
  • Cannot exchange within the first 30 credit hours of college
  • Cannot exchange within the last 30 credit hours of degree completion (without special permission)
  • Must submit a completed application, pay a non-refundable application fee, and participate in an interview to be approved
  • Must complete a variety of items AFTER placement is made, including, but not limited to: all required paperwork, a pre-departure orientation, confirm their financial aid requirements with the financial aid office, maintain a blog, complete a financial planning appointment, participate in a survey and returning interview, and other items as they may arise.
  • University of South Carolina students cannot exchange within the state of South Carolina

The University of South Carolina will end its membership in the NSE program on June 30, 2023. Therefore, we are not accepting any applications for NSE exchanges for 2023 or beyond.

Academic Departmental Approval

The NSE College Approval Form is required for application completion. The College Approval Form must be completed by your home academic unit and requires signatures from your academic advisor and your academic dean (or whoever the dean designates). You should fill out the top part of the form and then email it or print and drop off to your academic advisor. Ask your academic advisor who should sign for the dean, it differs by academic unit. Once the form is complete and both signatures are obtained, please scan and upload the document to your online NSE application. Please note that the Special Enrollment Request Form (SERF) does not need to be turned in until later.


The NSE application requires one official recommendation on behalf of the student applying for exchange. Students may ask for a recommendation from a USC faculty or staff member, a current or recent employer, a high school teacher/guidance counselor or someone who supervised the student in a volunteer role. This can also be submitted as an attached letter of recommendation. Recommendations by friends or family members will not be accepted. Questions can be directed to  

The person giving the recommendation can submit the Recommendation Letter online. 


Your resume helps Student Success Center staff understand your community involvement, interests and work history. You are strongly encouraged to work with the Career Center to create or update your resume.

Personal Interview and Application Fee

Once your application is submitted, our staff will contact you to schedule an interview and provide a link to pay the $250 NONREFUNDABLE application fee.

Outgoing USC students pay tuition and fees to USC, but pay room and meals at the host campus, along with any other special academic fees or general services not covered under the host school tuition and fees. This is referred to as HOME payment on the NSE website, it may also be called Plan B on the website. Please note USC students are NOT allowed to participate in HOST payment (Plan A).

Since you will be paying tuition to USC, the financial aid and scholarships you receive at USC may still apply. Students are encouraged to talk to the USC financial aid office to ensure that their personal financial aid package will work with the NSE program.

A one-time, non-refundable application and processing fee of $250 is due to the University of South Carolina with your application. 

Some institutions will assess a NSE program fee while some institutions require an application fee given to the host university. Make sure you know what additional fees are required when you are researching schools. You can find this information on a school's profile page or on the NSE website.

If you are considering exchange, it is crucial that you think about what courses will transfer back to USC and meet often with an academic advisor. Research course options during the application process, as availability varies from institution to institution: 

Speak with Your Advisor

Talk with your advisor about how NSE will fit into your degree program before submitting the application. After being accepted into an NSE school, you should speak with your advisor again to fill out a Special Enrollment Request Form (SERF).

Be flexible about the courses you want to take. You can view availability in the NSE Directory and in the exchange institution's course catalog. For grades to transfer back to USC, you must send your transcript from the exchange school to the USC Registrar.

Check Accreditation

Certain colleges and schools at USC have additional accreditation from associations in their academic area. If you are a student in one of these colleges or schools and would like to take major classes while on exchange, the school you are interested in must also have the same level of accreditation.

Please note that lists are subject to change and all accreditations should be verified by an academic advisor. If you are interested in receiving an approved school accreditation list, please contact us at 


Grades Transfer 

If you have completed the steps above and have approval through your academic department, you can have credits and grades transferred back to the University of South Carolina.

Students with disabilities should contact the NSE Office at the potential host school about what options and processes are in place to assist them with their needs.

The National Student Exchange offers a number of special exchange opportunities. 
Explore the NSE website for more details  

Spanish Immersion Experience

Improve your Spanish while you take in the area culture at a number of schools in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. No passport is required and the currency is the same. You will need approval from a Spanish instructor at USC and you may be required to take a language proficiency test.

A minimum of 4 semesters of college Spanish is suggested.

French Immersion Experience

If you want to advance your skills with the French language, consider studying in Quebec, Canada. You will need a valid U.S. passport and approval from a French instructor at USC. You may also be required to take a language proficiency test.

A minimum of 4 semesters of college French is suggested.

Honors Exchange

The honors courses that you take at other institutions will transfer back to the University of South Carolina if you are enrolled in the honors program at USC. If you are interested in honors exchanges, contact the Student Success Center.

RA/RM Exchanges

You need to be a RA/RM at USC for a year prior to going to another school. RA/RMs must complete an application process at the institution they wish to attend. RA/RM exchanges are not available at all institutions. Interested students interested should contact the Student Success Center. The deadline for this program is usually in November, so plan early. 

Full-time international students at USC can participate in NSE! In addition to understanding how the program works, international students need to note a few extra requirements:

  1. Please note on the school's NSE profile page if they accept international students on HOME payment (also called Plan B). This can be found on the "Conditions" tab of the school's NSE profile page.
  2. In addition to noting if the school will accept international students, international students should also note the TOEFL score requirements on the "Conditions" tab of the school's NSE profile page.
  3. Have a conversation with International Student Services at USC and see if they have any concerns or tips for you when it comes to participating in NSE.

NSE schools that will host international students can be found HERE.

Remember USC participates in HOME pay only!

Students can go on exchange with a friend as a Linked Exchange. Students participating in a linked exchange must be a student at USC OR another NSE member school. 

To participate in a linked exchange, complete the application process as listed above, but note the following:

  1. Look at schools that have an "Excellent" or "Very Good" chance of placement. These schools are more likely to be able to accept a linked set.
  2. Both applicants need to list the other student as their "exchange companion" in the application.
  3. Both students must include the same time period for exchange on their application.
  4. Both students must list the potential schools in the exact same order on each application.

For students that elect to exchange to an NSE school in Canada or a U.S. territory it is important to note that USC requires a few extra steps. Students will need to enroll in a special insurance program for these locations, similar to Education Abroad. This is typically $180 and is added to your USC bill for the semester of exchange. The NSE team will guide students through the process for this once a placement is made.

A valid passport is required for exchange to Canada. A passport is not required for exchange to a US territory, but it is suggested in case of nearby travel.

For students interested in Canada, they can also look at the Killam Fellowship. This fellowship does require an early deadline and National Fellowship and Scholars Program can assist students with this Fulbright application.

Q- Can seniors participates in exchange?

A- Typically, yes! USC has a rule that students must spend their last 30 credit hours (senior year) on campus. However, many students have gone on exchange in their senior year. Students should talk with their academic advisor about participating in NSE their senior year. Typically it requires a waiver from the academic unit giving the student permission to exchange their senior year.

Q- Can I go on exchange in the summer?

A- Yes! Not all schools offer a summer exchange. Students can see a list HERE. Remember USC only participates in HOME payment (also called Plan B). Typically, students only take 1 or 2 courses while on exchange in the summer, not 4-5 courses like the fall or spring semesters. Students pay USC per credit hour during the summer and the time period is usually Summer I (late May to early July) or Summer II (early July to early August). Students should talk with the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships to see if their financial aid package will work in the summer. 

Q- I have a question about something at another NSE school I am considering, can I reach out to that school?

A- NO! Interested students from USC should NOT reach out to potential NSE program at another school until a placement has 100% been made. The placement process is a blind review and NSE coordinators should not have contact with potential students until a placement has been made. If you have questions about this, please reach out to your USC Home Campus coordinator. Once a placement has been made and the PAF form signed, it is very appropriate to talk to your host NSE coordinator.


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