Hawaii Waterfall

National Student Exchange Important Information

What is National Student Exchange?

National Student Exchange (NSE) is a network of over 180 colleges and universities, mostly public, which allows students to supplement their curriculum and life experiences across the United States and at certain institutions in Canada. Experiencing different settings and living in different geographical regions, students can investigate a potential graduate school, broaden their personal horizons and expand their curricular options. Partner schools are located throughout the United States, including Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands and in some Canadian provinces. Schools in Puerto Rico provide instruction in Spanish and certain schools in Canada provide instruction in French, allowing foreign language majors opportunities to enhance their skills.


By participating in a study away program through NSE, Montclair State University students can explore different regions of the United States and Canada. You will

  • Broaden your personal and educational perspectives
  • Experience new cultures without leaving North America
  • Explore new areas of study and courses
  • Experience life in a different region of the United States or in Canada
  • Learn from different professors
  • Meet new people and make new friends
  • Acquire life skills that will enrich you personally and professionally
  • Become more independent and resourceful
  • Explore graduate school options
  • Explore future employment options

NSE programs in the United States allow students to study “abroad” without a passport and without traveling overseas. Students return home from an exchange program 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.

Application Deadlines

Fall, Following Spring or Full Academic Year

  • February 15

Students who apply by this deadline will receive priority placement consideration to their first, second, and third choices for the following Fall, Academic Year, and next Spring.

OIE strongly encourages students to apply before the February 15 deadline.

Spring of Current Academic Year

  • November 1

Students may submit an application before November 1 for placement Spring semester placement during the current academic year. Placement options will be limited as only some schools will have spaces left for Spring.

  • 2.5 GPA*
  • Full-time degree-seeking Montclair State University sophomore, junior or senior**
  • Transfer students must have completed at least one semester at Montclair State
  • No current action on your disciplinary record
  • No incomplete grades from prior terms
  • No pending legal judgments
  • No outstanding financial obligations to Montclair State University

*Some NSE programs may require a higher GPA or may require a certain level of language proficiency in order to be eligible for the program.

**Montclair State University policy states that a minimum of 32 credit hours of the total required for the baccalaureate degree must be completed at Montclair State University.  The final 24 credit hours required for graduation must be taken at Montclair State University and cannot be acquired through transfer.  A study abroad applicant who wishes to waive the final 24-hour residency requirement to participate in a study away or study abroad in their senior year must indicate this request on the “Request For Work At Another Institution” form and request a signature from an Academic Advisor in University College.

Language Proficiency

The language of instruction at all NSE campuses in the United States and most universities in Canada is English. The language of instruction at all NSE campuses in Puerto Rico is Spanish. Students must be able to read textbooks, understand lectures, take part in classroom discussions, do written work, and take examinations in Spanish. Students exchanging to campuses in Puerto Rico must demonstrate Spanish proficiency at the home institution during the application process through an interview with a faculty member or administrator preferably whose first language is Spanish. The language of instruction at some campuses in Canada is French. Students must be able to read textbooks, understand lectures, take part in classroom discussions, do written work, and take examinations in French. Students exchanging to a Francophone university must demonstrate French proficiency on the home campus during the application process through an interview with a faculty member or administrator preferably whose first language is French.


All students must pay a non-refundable $150 application fee in order to submit their applications for review. This fee must be paid, regardless of placement.

Montclair State students participating in NSE programs will pay Montclair State University for flat rate tuition and mandatory fees and will pay the host institution for their housing, meal plans and any course-related or mandatory fees.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Students participating in NSE programs are able to keep all applicable federal and state financial aid except Federal Work Study. New Jersey State aid cannot be used for an NSE program.

Financial Aid will be credited to your Montclair State student account.

Make sure you check the NSE website for additional scholarship eligibility.

Receiving Credit

You must be a full-time student at your NSE host institution, registering for 12-18 credits in order to participate and to maintain your financial aid and academic standing.

Students may earn Montclair State University credit upon successful completion of their study away program. Credit can only be earned if a student receives the equivalent of a C- or higher in their classes. No classes may be taken pass/fail. Once the official transcript has been received from the host institution, the Office of International Academic Initiatives will send it to Registrar. The Montclair State University transcript will indicate “National Student Exchange” with a comments section with the names of the classes, grades and credits earned.  Grades will appear on the transcript but will NOT be counted toward your Montclair State GPA.

Selection Process

The NSE Directory and the NSE Coordinator in the Office of International Academic Initiatives will provide information on schools, locations, descriptions and any restrictions at the host institution. It is important to note information in the NSE Directory about payment plans. Be certain to select schools that also utilize Home Institution Payment (“Plan B”). Be sure to check which majors are closed to NSE exchange students, whether the school has campus housing and whether it requires you to live on campus, whether they require a meal plan purchase, and any other limitations. Some schools are more competitive than others (such as Hawaii) so choose several places that work for you personally and academically. Montclair State does not choose which students a school accepts; we can only help you choose wisely and advocate on your behalf. Once complete applications are approved by the Office of International Academic Initiatives, students will be nominated to their first, second and third choice NSE institution.

Advising appointments with the NSE Coordinator are required.

Visa (for Canada programs only)

Students who participate in a program in Canada through NSE may be required to obtain a visa to enter and study there.  It is very important that you understand the visa requirements for your specific program. Therefore, you are advised to take the following steps as you apply for and make arrangements to participate in your study abroad program:

  • Check with your NSE host institution to get detailed instructions regarding requirements.
  • If a visa is required, gather all requested documents, materials and information.
  • Request any necessary letters or documents from the Office of International Academic Initiatives and your host institution.
  • Make an appointment for an interview at the Consulate as soon as possible (if required)

Do Not Wait! Please begin exploring visa/resident permit requirements as soon as you know where you are going.

Placeholder Course

Students will be enrolled at Montclair State University in a full-time enrollment placeholder course for the term they are away. The placeholder course will also ensure you are billed for tuition and fees by Montclair State.

This course will appear on the transcript to maintain full-time University enrollment while the student is away. Once the host institution transcript is received and processed, the transfer courses will also appear. The placeholder course will also remain on the transcript.