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EIU Pine Honors College

National Student Exchange

Program Description and Goals

The National Student Exchange (NSE) is a program for undergraduates attending participating institutions within the United States and its territories, and the provinces of Canada.

Students on NSE spend one or two terms at a single host campus, or one term each at two different host campuses.  Many students who participate in NSE hold one or more of the following goals, for their exchange:

  • To expand personal horizons, by engaging with one or more cultures they had not previously directly encountered. 
  • To grow undergraduate competencies, by taking courses and/or completing minors not available to them at EIU.
  • To investigate graduate school options by attending the very institutions they are considering, or attending institutions within an easy traveling distance.
  • To explore areas in which they have not lived, where others have said job opportunities in their fields are plentiful, to gauge amenities and affordability.
  • To experience what it means to be closer to full independence, by living and studying far from family and friends. 
  • To test the waters of solo travel, before finally deciding for or against a more immersive true study abroad experience.

Students who participate in National Student Exchange develop skills aligned with EIU university goals.  Their horizons are expanded as they explore diverse perspectives and think critically about previously held beliefs regarding the practice of their disciplines, the impact of culture on everyday life, and the role of national identity in international citizenship. 

As at EIU, students’ growth while on exchange is expressed through speaking and writing.  Faculty at their host institutions assess students both formally and informally, and submit course grades that later contribute to students’ cumulative GPAs back at EIU.


Eligibility Criteria

To apply for a National Student Exchange placement, a student must meet the following minimum eligibility criteria required by all NSE campuses:

  • Be enrolled full-time at EIU, for at least two terms prior to the first term of placement.
  • Plan to enroll as a full-time student, for any and all terms of placement.
  • Have earned a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher, at EIU, both at the time of application and at the close of the final term prior to placement. 

     Please note:  Individual institutions participating in NSE establish their own minimum cumulative GPAs.  Though most require only a 2.5, some require a 3.0 or higher. In many instances, students participating on Honors exchange or R.A. exchange are expected to meet higher GPA requirements.  GPA requirements are provided under the “Conditions” tab on each institution’s NSE page.

  • Have maintained good academic, personal, and financial standing at EIU.
  • Plan to maintain good academic, personal, and financial standing at any NSE host campuses attended.
  • Be prepared to cover all expenses associated with the proposed exchange, in full and in a timely manner.


Application Process

If you are currently considering a placement for FA18 and/or SP19, you will want to schedule an informational appointment with Ms. Sara Schmidt, NSE Coordinator for EIU.  To schedule that appointment, please e-mail Ms. Schmidt at or leave a message for her at (217) 581-2017.  She will begin keeping appointments, for placements in FA18 and/or SP19, on 8/28/17.  She will hold her final appointment, for placements in FA18 and/or SP19, on 1/26/18. 

When you meet with Ms. Schmidt, she will review with you:

  • The application process
  • Your preferences for host campuses (if yet known)
  • What happens after you are placed, from preparing to leave to preparing to return

Deadlines to submit an application for an outgoing placement are as follows:

  • EIU ceased accepting late applications for outgoing placements, for FA17, on 6/1/17. 
  • EIU will accept late applications for outgoing placements, for SP18, until 9/15/17. 
  • EIU will accept applications for outgoing placements, for FA18/SP19, until 2/12/18.

Placements are typically made during the NSE placement conference; the conference takes place within the first two weeks of March. Waiting to apply until after the conference significantly increases the likelihood of either non-placement or placement with a “last choice” institution.


Online Resources

For information about institutions participating in National Student Exchange, please see the NSE website, at

Related Pages

Contact Information

Sandra and Jack Pine Honors College

Pemberton Hall South
600 Lincoln Avenue
Charleston, IL 61920
(217) 581-2017
(888) 440-4664
Fax: (217) 581-7222

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