Forum Response to COVID-19: Advocacy, Programs & Resources

The Forum has been working diligently to provide support and resources to colleagues during these uncertain times. To date, we have published Guidelines for Conducting Education Abroad During COVID-19; initiated a tool to track program cancellations; offered a complimentary membership opportunity to individuals who have experienced COVID-19-related job loss; conducted numerous webinars focused on COVID-19 response; pivoted an on-site conference to a virtual format to allow for colleagues to connect and engage in critical discussions; and developed additional financial and program-related resources. We have advocated and will advocate on behalf of education abroad and the professionals in our field as the crisis continues to unfold.

Last Update: September 23, 2021

Contribute to the COVID-19 Archive Collection Efforts

We’re currently collecting any and all COVID-19-related materials to become a part of the AIFS/AIFS Foundation Education Abroad Special Collection, maintained by The Forum and housed by the Waidner-Spahr Library of Dickinson College. These materials will document COVID-19’s effects on the field of education abroad since December 2019 and are being archived so that international education professionals and scholars can learn from this period in our history for generations.

Please share anything related to COVID-19 and how it has been impacted your work, including:

  • Policies and procedure updates related to, e.g., health and safety, academic continuity, program go/no-go and contingency plans, etc.
  • Program materials, brochures, handbooks, course syllabi, etc. for in-person, hybrid, or virtual programming taking place during the pandemic
  • Internal and external communications
  • Notes and meeting minutes; webinar recordings
  • Data reports
  • Blogs, newsletters, personal reflections


Submit Materials Now


April 22, 2021: Update on State Department Travel Advisories

The Forum is working with other relevant associations and industry partners to address the State Department’s new process for determining Travel Advisories. In light of the elevation of so many countries to a Level 4: Do Not Travel, we remind members and the field at large to utilize the Guidelines for Conducting Education Abroad During COVID-19 when making decisions and plans for education abroad programs.

Without question, the safety and well-being of students, host communities, and the entire education abroad community is our top priority. The Health, Safety, and Risk Mitigation Section 5.1.d of the document is especially relevant:

Administrative Framework
5.1 Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines
d. Health, Safety, and Risk Mitigation:

  1. Set clear and consistent safety protocols for all personnel and participants.
  2. Establish policies and protocols to mitigate risk to program participants and personnel as well as local communities.
  3. Identify organizational stakeholders to involve in decision-making during policy and procedure development. Build partnerships with other units or offices where helpful.
  4. Seek various sources of information and resources to inform policies and procedures.
    • Look to different sources of expertise on the local level: health boards, legislation, school boards or education ministries
    • Look to different sources of expertise on the national level: national health organizations and travel guidance, e.g., Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or Know Before You Go: Guidance for travel in Great Britain and Northern Ireland; insurance providers; legislation; in-country study abroad associations (e.g.: APUNE, APUAF, ASAPI)
    • Look to different sources of expertise on the regional level, e.g., European Union (EU)’s Centre for Disease Prevention and ControlEUASAAEI, APAIE, AAUCBIEUDUALFAUBAI, etc.)
    • Look to different sources of expertise internationally: WHO, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, experts on your campuses (e.g., epidemiologists and public health experts).
  5. Determine which guidelines will be the ones your organization trusts and follows. Revisit and reconsider previously-held policies, ideas, or “tripwires” in favor of reasonable consideration of prevailing and reasonably predictable conditions across locations where decisions may have impact.

We are all anxious for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic and a return to “normal.” The Forum remains committed to helping our members rebuild and restructure education abroad as we all continue to navigate the twists and turns imposed by the virus.

COVID-19 Program Status Tracker

The Forum is tracking information related to current and future program cancellations in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. We hope this information will be useful to the field as you all work to respond to this unprecedented global situation. We encourage you to submit your programs to be included on the list.

The tracker provides the following information:

  • Program closures/cancellations/moved to remote learning by Universities and Colleges
  • Program closures/cancellations/moved to remote learning by Education Abroad Program Provider Organizations
  • Which programs were not closed or cancelled due to COVID-19 during the Spring 2020 term
  • Which programs are still able to welcome students displaced from programs cancelled in upcoming terms


View the Program Status Tracker


Re-Opening Guidelines Cover of the Guidelines for Conducting Education Abroad during COVID-19. Gloved hands holding a globe over a gray background

The Guidelines for Conducting Education Abroad during COVID-19 are available online, offering insights on how to manage partnerships, prepare students, develop contingency plans, and track changes in COVID-19 risks and safety protocols.

Whether you’ve been running programs in a limited capacity already, are looking ahead to plans to reopen programs in 2021 or need a framework for conversations with campus administrators involved in the decision-making, this resource can help.

Conducting Education Abroad During COVID-19 Webinars:


View the Guidelines


COVID-19 Crisis Recovery Program: Individual Membership Opportunity

To support our colleagues during the COVID-19 crisis, The Forum invites education abroad professionals who have experienced job loss as a result of the pandemic to apply for complimentary individual membership. To qualify, the individual must have been employed by a Forum member institution in good standing at the time of separation, and separation must occur between January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020 for the individual to be eligible. Membership will begin on the date the applicant is notified of acceptance and will continue until June 30, 2021. Additional benefits and services may be available throughout this period, including Annual Conference scholarships, Forum Fellowships, and member rates to attend Forum events and professional development opportunities.


Apply Here


Call for Submissions: Learning from COVID-19

Over the coming months and years, our field will look back on this period in education abroad history to learn from it. As the field looks ahead to recovery and seeks ways to improve upon and perhaps replace established practices, sharing our experiences will be an essential tool for growth.

Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad invites practitioners and scholars of education abroad to submit case studies, think-pieces, and essays related to COVID-19 impact and response for immediate publication.


Find Out More


Responding to COVID-19 Webinars

April 16, 2020: #6 Academic ContinuityWatch the recording | View presentation slides

April 9, 2020: #5 Refunds | Watch the recording | View presentation slides

April 2, 2020: #4 Virtual Exchanges and Summer 2020 (Ideas and Resources) | Watch the recording | View presentation slides

March 26, 2020: #3 Taking Care of Our Students and Ourselves | Watch the recording | View presentation slides

March 19, 2020: #2 Sharing Strategies and Updates (Part 2) | Watch the recording | View presentation slides

March 12, 2020: #1 Sharing Strategies and Updates (Part 1) | Watch the recording. | View presentation slides

Forum Advocacy

March 24, 2020: Virtual Town Hall Meeting, Advocating for COVID-19 Relief Bills | Watch the recording | View presentation slides

March 19, 2020: Call to Action! Contact government officials to request economic aid for international education

March 18, 2020: The Forum signs joint letter to Congress requesting assistance for international educational and cultural exchange community impacted by COVID-19

March 11, 2020: The Forum issues letter to the CDC in response to March 1 guidance

March 2, 2020: The Forum and Pulse issue a joint statement on COVID-19

Forum Guidance

Education Abroad Professional’s Guide to Online Global Learning

Refund Policy Examples for COVID-19-Related Program Changes

State level financial assistance for COVID 19: List by State

PPP Loan Forgiveness

  • Previously, the small business association has provided very little in the way of guidance regarding the inner workings of the Payroll Protection Program’s loan forgiveness. This information provides some important points to keep in mind as well as multiple suggestions that should prove to be helpful when securing the loan.
  • As a non-profit organization, you will have to meet a specific set of criteria in order to be eligible for a PPP loan through The Cares Act. This page compiles questions that you may have as a non-profit borrower as well as answers that should help guide you through the application process. In addition, it covers some of the finer points regarding loan forgiveness and loan deferral, particularly for non-profits.

External Resources

The Forum shares its members’ concerns about the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and the efforts being made to prevent its spread. The Forum encourages members with international programs to familiarize themselves with guidance provided by the CDC and governments abroad. We have provided links below to direct you to the most up-to-date and reliable external resources, and will continue to add to this list as additional resources become available (listed alphabetically).

British Foreign & Commonwealth Office

CDC website


Data 2x: Gender and Data Resources Related to COVID-19

Diversity Abroad: 2020 Snapshot Survey: Student Study Abroad Experiences During COVID-19

Education New Zealand: COVID-19 information for students, agents and the international education sector

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

Federal Student Aid

IIE: COVID-19 Research and Infographics Portal

International SOS

International Transportation Air Association: list of travel and entry restrictions

The Italian Ministry of Education

Johns Hopkins University & Medicine: Coronavirus Resource Center

NAFSA: Coronavirus Critical Resources

NAFSA: Financial Impact Survey

Overseas Advisory Council (OSAC)

Re-open EU: Interactive Tool for Planning Travel in Europe

U.S. Department of State’s COVID-19 Travel Alert

WorldAware COVID-19 Risk Intelligence & Resource Center

The World Health Organization