Prior to the establishment of an Exchange Agreement, many factors must be addressed. Matters requiring review are provided below, including guidelines for their inclusion. The Exchange Agreement Worksheet offers a useful reference tool to cross-reference when developing an Exchange Agreement. Additionally, a model template Exchange Agreement is available.
GUIDELINES FOR DRAFTING AN EXCHANGE AGREEMENT
Home Institution: UNC Charlotte
Host Institution: Institution with which a unit of UNC Charlotte seeks to establish an international Exchange Agreement.
Parties: The agreement must accurately reflect the parties to be bound by the agreement. The parties should be listed by their official titles.
Exchange Officers: OIP is noted as the official representative of UNC Charlotte when Student Exchange Agreements are involved; however, a college representative or faculty member may also be identified to assist with the administration of the specific exchange. In the role of “exchange officer” OIP serves as the first point of contact for the institution in terms of official correspondence, managing quota balances, and compliance with university regulations affecting the exchange. A college representative or “faculty champion” also has a strong relationship with the exchange but does not have final authority to authorize a renewal agreement or a modification to an existing agreement. All proposed agreements and modifications must be approved by OIP.
Admission to UNC Charlotte: Students inbound to UNC Charlotte must be admitted as exchange students.
Housing: The most common and preferred housing option for exchange students is on- campus housing. Typically exchange students must search for and pay for their own accommodations.
Quotas: For student and faculty exchanges, the agreement should provide a specific range or “quota” for the number of participants expected. The agreement should describe the quota in terms of the academic calendar and be qualified with specific language concerning the number of semester-long exchanges involved.
Balance of Quotas: The agreement must specify that the exchange will balance in terms of numbers of participants. In most cases, each partner institution should host and send the equivalent numbers of participants each year. If this is not possible, the relationship must balance over its term. Every agreement should include language addressing the mechanism whereby an imbalanced exchange will be brought back into balance. It should be noted that the authorizing college has an obligation to UNC Charlotte to ensure reciprocity over the term of the agreement.
Duration: It is strongly recommended that agreements be of a finite duration. Most agreements are made for a term of five years and pilot agreements for a term of two years.
Degree Status: Generally, exchange visitors do not have the right to earn a degree at the host institution. The agreement should clearly state that participation in the exchange does not in itself entitle the participant to enter a degree program at the host institution. Typically, the visiting exchange students will have the same rights and responsibilities as a regular student in the home institution. In addition, UNC Charlotte students who participate in international exchange programs are required to agree to comply with all University rules, standards, and instructions for student behavior including, but not limited to, those set forth in the UNC Charlotte Code of Student Responsibility and the Charlotte Code of Student Academic Integrity.
Work Plans: Although not always included in the official language of the agreement, the parties’ expectations concerning the participants’ academic plans should be noted. Relevant components might include information regarding the individual’s previous background and training for work in a particular field, course work, the individual’s goal while on the exchange, curriculum vitae, transcripts, and so forth.
Language Ability: The agreement must state the partner institutions’ expectations concerning language preparation. In student exchanges, students inbound to UNC Charlotte must meet our minimum language proficiency requirements. Further, if the proposed partner represents an institution where English is not the language of instruction, then it will need to be clearly stated what the language of instruction is and what the expectation of the language proficiency must be for successful participation in classes.
Tuition: For student exchanges, regular UNC Charlotte tuition must be paid by one outgoing UNC Charlotte student to cover the cost of one incoming visitor. The UNC Charlotte student pays based upon full-time regular tuition and/or registration fees. If the student is a North Carolina resident, then he/she will pay in-state tuition, and if the student is not a North Carolina resident, he/she will pay out-of-state tuition. UNC Charlotte tuition paid for one student (regardless of the student’s academic level and tuition category) covers the instruction costs for one international visitor. All student exchanges are based on semester tuition. Any program-specific special fees must be paid by the exchange student to the host institution.
Access to University Resources: The agreement should describe any rights or limitations presented to participants while at the host institution. In general, “university-wide” agreements limit an exchange student’s access to certain departments and/or classes as would be the case for regular UNC Charlotte students, including access to graduate courses (if an undergraduate student), upper division courses (if exchange student’s level is equivalent to lower-division), and access to courses only when the student has met all prerequisites. An individual entity developing an exchange should not draft an agreement that allows or encourages inbound participants to concentrate on high demand, or impacted, academic course sequences without the express permission of the UNC Charlotte department involved.
Limitation of Financial Commitment: Each agreement should include language limiting the institutions’ financial commitment to available funding and to the agreement’s specific terms.
Stipends/Salary: If any compensation for participants is involved, such provisions must be stated clearly in the agreement. For faculty exchanges, the responsibility for salary support must be addressed as well as the terms of any additional compensation (such as summer salary, funding of fringe benefits, honoraria, or displacement allowance).
Travel: Regardless of whether or not travel is provided as part of the exchange, the question of responsibility for participant travel must be addressed. If any portion of travel (for students or faculty) is to be provided by UNC Charlotte, the provider must follow normal UNC Charlotte travel regulations and purchasing guidelines.
Insurance: All participants, including incoming and outgoing students, researchers, and faculty, must have adequate health insurance that will be active while the exchange takes place.
ADDITIONAL INSTITUTIONAL POLICY/CONSIDERATION
In negotiating Exchange Agreements, institutional procedures, policies, or other special considerations that might affect or shape the exchange’s terms should be taken into account. Several of these considerations follow:
Immigration Issues: Both incoming and outgoing participants typically need visas issued by the host country in order to participate in an exchange program. Visa application procedures can be detailed and often require significant lead time that might affect application deadlines and scheduling. For participants inbound to UNC Charlotte, appropriate documentation will be issued. All questions regarding immigration issues should be directed to the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO at firstname.lastname@example.org) for inbound students and the Office of Education Abroad (OEA at email@example.com) for outbound students.
Administrative support: The unit or units developing an Exchange Agreement are responsible for some administrative support necessary to sustain the relationship. Examples of responsibilities include identifying UNC Charlotte students interested in taking part in the exchange and providing advising to both incoming and outgoing students regarding academic options. OIP will provide administrative support in the form of processing of applications and providing general assistance, including the coordination of information sessions, pre- departure preparation, and assistance in dissemination of program availability.
Review: The agreement must address the parties’ plans for a review of the exchange program at appropriate intervals to assess the extent to which the program has met its goals, the desirability of continuing the program, and whether amendments are advisable. Annual written updates must be shared with OIP each year to support the Annual Exchange Program Review.