National Student Exchange

The National Student Exchange (NSE) is a program for undergraduate exchange within the United States and Canada. Instead of crossing oceans, NSE students cross state, regional, provincial, and cultural borders. The changes seen in attitudes, understanding of other people in other settings, maturity, risk-taking, and decision-making are similar to the experiences of students who study outside of North America. The application process includes at least the following minimum eligibility criteria established by NSE:

  • Full-time enrollment;
  • Cumulative 2.5 GPA; and
  • Good standing (academic, personal, and financial).

All EIU students meeting these criteria are eligible to apply.

Alignment with University Goals

Participation in the National Student Exchange encompasses academic, personal, and intercultural learning objectives. Students will learn the content of the discipline within the context of another institution and its culture, a process which will not only broaden their skills, but also raise their awareness of cultural differences.

Students participating in the National Student Exchange develop skills aligned with University goals of improved writing, speaking, critical thinking, and citizenship.

Students participating in the National Student Exchange will develop their writing and speaking skills by undertaking coursework at a pre-approved NSE member school (Writing, Speaking).

Education at another institution will expand students’ horizons, inviting them to think critically about their national, cultural, and disciplinary assumptions as they explore diverse perspectives (Critical Thinking).

Studying outside the state of Illinois will also enhance students’ understanding of national and international issues. Students will serve as ambassadors of their state and of EIU, challenging them to understand more deeply their role as citizens (Citizenship).

"NSE helped me to become more independent and more confident ... I got to chart my own course, experience things that were completely new, and to have an experience that was my own.  NSE helped me understand what I want to do with my life."

- Mr. James (Joe) Astrouski on his experience at Keene State College


Participation and Information

If you are interested in studying away from the university for a semester, or a year, or have additional questions about the National Student Exchange, please contact the Honors College and Dr. Tom Spencer at or 217-581-2017.

Additional information may also be found on the website for the National Student Exchange, at