Student Non-Credit Bearing College-Sponsored Travel

Students who are traveling on a college-sponsored trip (e.g., funded or arranged by Amherst) are expected to read closely the information and recommendations below, and they are responsible for any policies and protocols required for travel.

This page informs students about the college's travel policy, recommendations for planning travel, and FAQs. Please complete any necessary steps at least four weeks in advance of travel.

Steps for Planning Your Trip:

  1. Consult with your sponsoring department about your travel itinerary.
  2. For individual travel, students must read and sign the standard travel waiver. All waivers require a wet signature so please print and sign these forms. Return them to your sponsoring department. For faculty or staff members organizing a group to travel, the employee must complete an online waiver through Five College Risk Management.
  3. Read the college’s student travel policy (below). If you must petition the college’s travel policy, please complete the travel petition form four weeks in advance of travel.
  4. Read the trip recommendations and FAQs below and consult with your sponsoring department about finalizing your trip.

Travel Policy for College-Sponsored Programs

Students traveling on college-sponsored trips* in countries that have significant political unrest, a natural disaster, or other country or region-specific disturbance should carefully consider the risks with their families and in consultation with official sources of travel information such as the U.S. Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The highest travel warning for the U.S. Department of State is "Level 4: Do Not Travel" and the highest travel health notice for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is "Level 3: Avoid Nonessential Travel."

In instances where the college sponsors travel to areas with a Level 3 or Level 4 State Department travel advisory and/or Level 3 CDC travel health notice, the college may require students to take additional steps (in addition to completing the college’s international travel waiver) before receiving funds to study or travel or before being enrolled in Study Away Placeholder Course for a semester abroad. For example:

  • For students receiving sponsorship (e.g., funding and/or credit) to areas where there is a Level 3 travel advisory by the U.S. State Department and/or a Level 3 travel health notice by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the college requires an additional special waiver to be signed by both the student and the student’s parents/guardians.
  • Travel to countries or regions under a Level 4 travel advisory issued by the U.S. State Department is presumptively ineligible for college sponsorship. Sponsorship to travel to areas where there is a Level 4 travel advisory is permitted only if an exception is granted by the Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty. 
  • Students interested in traveling to countries with an overall Level 1 or Level 2 advisory that have a region within the country at Levels 3 or 4 travel advisory and/or Level 3 travel health notice must follow the protocol for travel to Levels 3 or 4 travel advisories and/or Level 3 travel health notice only if they wish to travel to those higher risk regions.

The responsibility to assess the safety of a student’s proposed trip remains with the student -- in consultation with the student’s family -- at all times. The college may, in its sole discretion, sponsor programs to areas with Level 3 or Level 4** U.S. State Department travel advisories and/or Level 3 travel health notices by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The college’s decision to sponsor travel to areas with Level 3 or Level 4 travel advisories and/or Level 3 travel health notices is not an endorsement of the safety of the area or of a student’s specific plans.

The college may decline to allow a student to study abroad for credit (and financial aid) transfer and/or may prohibit a student from receiving funds to study or travel on a college-sponsored trip in a particular country. Students who nonetheless choose to study abroad or travel to that country or region may not transfer credit or financial aid or other college funds and would need to take a personal leave from the college or travel independently in order to participate in the program.

*College-sponsored trips are either funded (in full or in part), arranged by, and/or awarded credit by the college.

** The travel policy and petitions are reviewed by the international risk management group. Members are: Provost and Dean of Faculty Catherine Epstein, Chief of Staff in the President's Office Kathleen Pertzborn, Associate Provost and Associate Dean of Faculty Pawan Dhingra, Director of Emergency Management Matt Hart, Director of Media Communications Caroline Hanna, Director of Immigration Services Hanna Bliss, Director of Global Education Janna Behrens, Assistant Director of Global Education Chelsi Colleton. 

Information for Student Independent Non-credit Bearing College-Sponsored Travel

Students traveling with college funds or on a trip arranged by the College are strongly advised to follow the advice and read the FAQs below. 

Trip planning recommendations

  • Know the COVID and other health risks from the CDC and recommendations for travel in light of these risks.
  • Know travel restrictions and entry and exit requirements by reviewing COVID information from U.S. embassies abroad. Be sure you have the proper travel documents, e.g., valid passport, visa if necessary, from the U.S. State Department country profiles
  • Students who are U.S. citizens should register their trip with the U.S. Embassy Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at Students from other countries should consult with their home country embassy for a similar program.
  • Consider where you will be conducting your work or attending your conference. Are the facilities open? Have operating hours changed? What health and safety measures are being taken? What cleaning measures are in place? 
  • Develop contingency plans. What happens if the facility where you intend to work is no longer open, has reduced capacity, etc.? What if you test positive prior to departure, what is your isolation and quarantine plan and how will you access health care? What if you have to stay for an extended period? Can you stay in your accommodations or will you need to book new ones? 
  • Confirm your health insurance covers you in your destination and learn how you have any medical bills paid. If you are required to pay out of pocket and seek reimbursement from your health insurance provider, do you have funds you can access to cover medical expenses?
  • Research various modes of transportation at your local destination including to/from the airport and local travel. What safety precautions (e.g., masks, social distancing) are being followed? Reconfirm flights as airlines have made adjustments to scheduled flights in recent months.
  • Understand your accommodations and what health and safety measures are in place. Are your accommodations shared or private? Will you be able to isolate or quarantine in these accommodations if necessary?
  • Consider whether you want to purchase trip insurance and, if so, what kind. Learn about different options, costs, and policies at
  • Develop a communications plan, one that does not rely exclusively on one mode of communication such as WiFi. 
  • Students traveling on college-sponsored travel must register their trip in the Amherst College Travel Registry. Log in with your Amherst credentials and create a "Side Trip."
  • Students, faculty, and staff traveling on college-sponsored travel automatically have access to AIG Travel Guard, an emergency medical assist benefit. While there are pandemic exclusions, there are services provided that could be beneficial to travelers. See the policy and how to contact AIG online

FAQs for Non-credit Bearing Independent Student College-Sponsored Travel