National Student Exchange (NSE)
The National Student Exchange is a consortium of over 180 colleges and universities throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and Canada. Through this academic program, students continue to make progress toward their RCNJ degree while studying at another fully accredited institution. After a semester or year on exchange, students return to RCNJ to complete their remaining degree requirements and graduate.
If it is time to expand your curriculum, strike out on your own, explore new interests, study with new faculty, hear different ideas, make new friends, or create new opportunities, then widen your horizons through the National Student Exchange.
- Broaden personal and educational perspectives
- Experience new cultures
- Explore new areas of study
- Learn from different professors
- Access new courses
- Experience personal growth
- Meet new people
- Make new friends
- Acquire life skills
- Live in a different area
- Investigate graduate schools
- Seek future employment
- Become more independent and resourceful
For many NSE students, the year/semester on exchange is usually the most significant and enjoyable in their academic career. Students return home with a fresh outlook on their education and better able to define academic and career objectives. It is also a time of dramatic personal growth and maturity, particularly for students who have not traveled extensively. Students frequently return from exchange with more self-confidence and independence, greater decision-making skills, better able to take risks, and with a better defined view of their future.
It is not unusual for NSE students to consider, after returning to their home environment, participation in a study abroad program as well as graduate school and employment opportunities outside of their home region. NSE is an enhancement of your undergraduate program, demonstrating to graduate schools and future employers that you have gone beyond the norm.
In order to participate in the National Student Exchange program, a student must meet all of the following eligibility criteria.
- Must be a full-time, degree seeking Ramapo College of New Jersey student with a declared major
- Must be enrolled at RCNJ the semester immediately prior to the intended exchange semester
- All applicants must have a 2.5 cumulative RCNJ GPA (please note some institutions have higher GP A requirements, a student must meet those requirements in addition to the general NSE requirements)
- Must be in good academic, judicial, and financial standing
- Must have a minimum of 32 credits earned at RCNJ
- Transfer students must complete at least one semester (16 credits) at Ramapo College to be eligible
How to Choose a Program
When considering all the options, take the time to think about the following criteria for your NSE exchange program:
Academic – Do they have the courses you need to stay on track with your Ramapo curriculum?
Semester/Quarter – RCNJ only participates with schools that operate on a semester schedule. Quarter school exchanges will not be approved.
Housing – Is housing available on-campus? Will you have to live off-campus? Do you have family/friends that live near the host campus?
Sports/Clubs – Are there chapters of organizations you already belong to that you can join? Are there organizations different from those at RCNJ that would benefit you?
Internship/Volunteer – Check out the options to do an internship or volunteer; whether it is for personal reasons or you want to build your resume, these are great options to do while on an NSE program.
Cost – Plan A vs. Plan B – Which option is best for you? What are the host school costs for tuition and housing?
A full list of member institutions can be found here:
National Student Exchange is run through two financial payment options.
Plan A is when the student pays tuition and fees to the host institution. Room and board are also paid to the host campus. Thus, you would not have a bill at Ramapo College during your NSE term. Financial Aid would need to be filed on your FAFSA under the host institution. Please contact the Financial Aid office with questions as to how to do this.
*If you receive any RCNJ institutional scholarships, you are not eligible to use them on Plan A exchanges.
Plan B is when the student pays tuition and fees to Ramapo College. Room and board are paid to the host campus. Special fees, such as those with labs or orientation programs, are paid to the host campus as well. Financial Aid continues to be applied for and received from RCNJ.
*If you receive any RCNJ institutional scholarships, you are eligible to use those scholarships towards the tuition portion billed to you by Ramapo College but not towards your room and board which is paid directly to the host institution.
There is a non-refundable application fee due with the completed application. Applicants who apply after the deadline are subject to pay the application late fee.
*Applicants are advised to thoroughly research the costs of the campuses they are considering.
For more information contact
Assistant Director of International Education/NSE Coordinator
Roukema Center for International Education, C-213
(201) 684-7463 – phone
(201) 684-7989 - fax
One of the most wonderful things about NSE is that you get to experience how truly diverse culture is in the United States. I think oftentimes people assume that to get that unique cultural experience you have to study abroad in Australia or Africa or Europe, but through NSE I really gained appreciation for how different cultural niches exist within the United States.
I studied in Hawaii, which was an amazing, unforgettable experience. I met people from Texas, Alaska, Colorado, and Idaho (among others) and they each came to the program with their own regional perspectives. It was so much fun to be able to explore Hawaiian culture with people from all over the United States. The music, food, art, customs, and relationships that comprise Hawaiian culture were fascinating to immerse myself in, especially against the backdrop of a Hawaiian sunset.
-Tara Belits, Studied at the University of Hawaii-Hilo, Ramapo College Class of 2011