Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad (6th ed., 2020)

The Forum on Education Abroad is recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission as the Standards Development Organization (SDO) for the field of education abroad. As such, it is The Forum’s responsibility to monitor changes in our field of professional practice and maintain, update, and promulgate the Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad according to the needs of our field.

The Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad can be used as a tool to:

  • guide program development,
  • evaluate program quality,
  • advocate for resources and support,
  • train new professionals,
  • educate stakeholders such as parents, faculty, students, etc.,
  • establish and maintain respectful, sustainable relationships between partners.

While these Standards represent consensus in the field of education abroad at the postsecondary level, other constituents may find the Standards useful for informing their own practices. These groups may include primary and secondary educators providing education abroad programs to their own students and institutions and organizations offering education abroad programs for participants from countries other than the U.S.

Download the Standards

Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad, 6th Edition (PDF)


Prompts for Self-Assessment (PDF)


Translation: Estándares de Buena Práctica en español (PDF)

Know the Standards

The number and order of the clauses that follow do not imply hierarchy, importance, or a suggested order of operations. Use these Standards holistically.

1. Scope

2. Normative Reference

3. Terms and Definitions

4. Guiding Principles

4.1. Mission and Goals
4.2. Collaboration and Transparency
4.3. Ethics
4.4. Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

5. Administrative Framework

5.1. Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines
5.2. Financial and Human Resources

6. Student Learning and Development

6.1. Before Program
6.2. During Program
6.3. After Program

Meeting the Standards

Throughout the Standards, use this guide established by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), to understand the expectations set by each clause:

  • shall indicates minimum requirements
  • should indicates recommendations
  • can indicates further possibilities for improvement

Supporting each Standard are:

  • Fundamental elements: A dynamic web feature defining essential terms throughout the Standards;
  • Prompts for Self-Assessment: These prompts are designed to allow you to self assess your current practices and identify any gaps to be in conformity with the Standards.
  • Member Resources: Resources featuring best practices, keyed to the Standards. These examples are vetted by The Forum’s Standards Committee, and are made available exclusively to Forum members,
  • Standards Guidelines: Guidance that contextualizes various specific areas of education abroad practices, particularly where these practices may differ from the same practice in the home campus context.

Standards Development

Our process for developing and updating standards prioritizes the core principles of due process for standards development as identified by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI): Openness, Lack of Dominance, Balance, Coordination and Harmonization, Consideration of View and Objections, Consensus Vote and Appeals. Persons directly or materially affected by the Standards have the opportunity to have their voices heard in the important process of Standards Development.


Learn More about Standards Development


Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad (5th ed., 2015)

If you are currently enrolled in the 5th Edition of the Professional Certification Program, you can access the member resources by clicking on the button below.


5th Edition


Please note that you must continue to reference only the 5th Edition of the Standards when submitting your certification assignments.