Risk Assessment, Travel Advisories & Cancellation Policies

The University of St. Thomas uses US Department of State Travel Advisories and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Health Notices as guidelines in determining whether its students or employees may travel abroad. To minimize health and safety risks, St. Thomas students and faculty/staff who are leading St. Thomas programs must request and receive permission from the university before being allowed to travel to any country for which there is a Level 3 or Level 4 U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory. 

The State Department has four Travel Advisory levels:

  1. Exercise normal precuations
  2. Exercise increased caution
  3. Reconsider travel
  4. Do not travel  

Travel Advisories are issued for every country in the world. The advisories share advice, risks, and actions for U.S. citizens traveling to those countries. There are also some areas within countries that have a higher or lower Travel Advisory than that of the country. The State Department has created an interactive map to make these Travel Advisory designations clear.

The State Department also issues Alerts with specific safety and security concerns within a country, such as demonstrations, crime trends, and weather events.

Travel Risk Advisory Committee  

The Travel Risk Advisory Committee (TRAC) is responsible for reviewing individual and group applications to visit Level 3 and Level 4 Travel Advisory countries and for recommending whether or not to suspend travel already underway in countries where a new Level 3 or Level 4 Travel Advisory is assigned or other safety concerns arise, such as natural disasters, pandemics, and wars or political disturbances. See the GLAS website for more information.

Committee recommendations are sent to the Executive Vice President/Provost for final review and decision making. The Executive Vice President/Provost’s decision is final and not subject to appeal.

If an application is approved, it is done so based on conditions at the time of review. If the country is later assigned a higher level Travel Advisory, the proposal must be reconsidered. If the program repeats in subsequent years and the country remains under a Level 3 or Level 4 Travel Advisory, the program must be re-approved. Moreover, in the event that additional program directors or individual students in the same or other departments seek to travel to the same country for which permission has been granted to another group or individual, they must submit proposals to the committee on their own. Approvals are granted only for particular individual students or groups. Subsequent cases will be considered singularly.  

Who Must Apply

The travel policy applies to all St. Thomas students and employees, whether travelling individually or in groups (study abroad, music ensemble, athletic team, VISION, SJV, student organization, etc.). Individual travelers are responsible for completing and submitting their own application. For groups, the program director is responsible for completing and submitting an application on behalf of all participants. Students with active academic and conduct holds are not allowed to participate in any off-campus program—as per the Office of Student Affairs.

Insurance Requirement

All employees leading student groups and all students whose travel to a Level 3 or Level 4 Travel Advisory country is approved must purchase CISI international health insurance, regardless of any other insurance coverage they may have. Students and employees who will travel in student groups and who complete international off-campus travel registration will automatically be enrolled and charges posted to their accounts. Employees traveling alone may opt to purchase CISI but are not required to do so. 

Financial Responsibility

St. Thomas assumes no responsibility for financial losses that might result from Committee decisions to (1) deny travel to countries with Level 3 or Level 4 Travel Advisories or (2) cancel programs, already underway, in countries for which Level 3 or Level 4 Travel Advisories are issued, or (3) as a result of students voluntarily withdrawing from approved programs in countries with active Level 3 or Level 4 Travel Advisories.

Cancellation Policies 

These programs are managed by St. Thomas, typically with St. Thomas faculty as program director(s). 

Should a St. Thomas program be cancelled due to a Level 3 or Level 4 Travel Advisory that is issued for a country in which students are preparing to study or travel (i.e., not yet departed):  

  • Students will be reimbursed any recoverable costs. Note that this means students could incur a financial loss. 

  • Students will be advised on whether they may apply for or be able to participate in another suitable program (depending on time until departure, etc); or, 

  • If another program is not feasible for students seeking to earn academic credit abroad, they will be advised on registering for St. Thomas courses on campus. 

Should a St. Thomas program be cancelled due to a Level 3 or Level 4 Travel Advisory being issued for a country in which the program is already taking place:  

  • Students will be given assistance in arranging departure from that country (may be to a third country). Students may incur costs associated with this change in travel plans. 

  • St. Thomas will refund any recoverable costs to the student. Note that this means students may incur a financial loss. 

  • St. Thomas will make every effort to arrange for the student to complete the requirements for earning academic credit for the program, if applicable, but this is not guaranteed. 

  • The University has no responsibility or liability for a student who remains in the foreign country after receiving notice of St. Thomas’ cancellation of the program. 

Should a student choose to withdraw from a St. Thomas program in a country for which a Level 3 or Level 4 Travel Advisory has been issued, or withdraw from a program in a country for which no Level 3 or Level 4 Travel Advisory has been issued and about which the student has concerns, but St. Thomas does not cancel the program: 
 
* The student is subject to the cancellation fee schedule published for that program. Note that this means the student may incur a loss. 

These programs are managed by an outside organization or institution with which St. Thomas is affiliated for the purpose of its students studying and/or traveling abroad. 

 
If St. Thomas withdraws its approval of a program in a country for which a student is preparing to study due to the issuance of a Level 3 or Level 4 Travel Advisory:  

  • The student is subject to the policies of the program organization/institution regarding cancellation and reimbursement of any payments or deposits; students may incur a financial loss. 

  • Office of Study Abroad will advise and assist the student in finding another suitable program if time allows, or; 

  • Office of Study Abroad will advise the student on registering for St. Thomas classes. 

If St. Thomas withdraws its approval of a program in a country for which a student is currently studying due to the issuance of a Level 3 or Level 4 Travel Advisory:  

  • The student is subject to the policies of the program organization/institution regarding cancellation and reimbursement of any payments; students may incur a financial loss. 

  • St. Thomas will offer advice on arranging departure from that country (may be to a third country). Student may incur costs associated with change in travel plans. 

  • The student is subject to the policies of the program organization/institution regarding reimbursement of any recoverable costs and the possibility of completing the requirements for earning academic credit for the program. Note that students may incur a loss and/or may not be able to earn credit (full or partial). 

Quarantine Requirement/Exclusion from Campus

In addition, if any of the above cancellation situations are due to a pandemic or epidemic in the country of study, and if a St. Thomas community member returning from those countries has had a known risk of exposure and is determined by medical screening that quarantine is warranted, that individual will not be allowed on campus (of any one of the St. Thomas sites – St. Paul, Minneapolis, or Rome) for a period as determined by the current medical guidelines.