National Student Exchange

  • Have you dreamed about spending a semester or academic year in an exotic location? Would you like to get up every morning and experience the mountains of Montana, the deserts of New Mexico, or the beaches of Florida? If so, you should think about becoming involved with the National Student Exchange (NSE), a program at IUP for undergraduate exchange within the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, and Canada.

    National Student Exchange (NSE) photographic map of the United States

    NSE Application Now Online! IUP students interested in the NSE program can fill out the preliminary application online prior to meeting with Jan Shellenbarger, the program coordinator.

    NSE students study for a semester or full academic year at another NSE college/university. The experience allows students to continue their studies while living in a different geographical region and broadening their personal, educational, and cultural perspectives. Most IUP students who participate want to experience somewhere different from where they grew up, while others want to check out another university or region for future graduate school or employment.

    For inquiries about the National Exchange Program, please contact Jan Shellenbarger, NSE coordinator, at or visit our office in Pratt Hall, Room 302 to schedule an appointment. Priority deadline for fall 2020 and/or spring 2021 will be mid-February 2020.

    Jazmyn Mason, a sophomore in the IUP Kopchick College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, attended the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs for an academic year.

    Being a part of the National Student Exchange was the best decision ever! I had the pleasure of attending the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. It was all thanks to Jan Shellenbarger. She was with me every step of the way. I was in her office talking about the process, and how nervous I was to leave my home school all the time! She was so helpful, and comforting, I really can't imagine I would have applied for the program without her support. I'm glad Jan was always available to meet or by phone to answer any of my questions. I met so many awesome people, some of which are now life-long friends for sure! It was great to see a new school, but also a new state. The school offered so many outdoor activities, we even got money on our account FOR FREE, just for being in the NSE program for such activities. Leaving was the hardest part, but I will always be grateful for this unique opportunity.

    Courtney Roszak, a junior journalism student, came to IUP for fall 2015 from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

    Being a part of National Student Exchange is a terrifying, yet exciting experience and journey. This fall semester I have had the privilege to attend Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and I can honestly say that this was the best choice of my college career. Throughout my semester at IUP I have been able to take new and exciting classes that are not offered at my school in Wisconsin. I have met numerous people who I will forever hold memories with and whom I know will be lifelong friends. Jan Shellenbarger has been a huge help in my semester on exchange, as a coordinator she has gone above and beyond making sure I am comfortable and happy here. Being in the NSE program been an amazing opportunity for me, and I know when December rolls around, leaving IUP is going to be difficult.

    Remember to review the information below, including the Frequently Asked Questions and the National Student Exchange website, before printing the application. Once you have reviewed the material and know this is the program for you, please contact Jan Shellenbarger at 724-357-2235 to schedule an appointment.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    (or “Almost everything you need to know about the National Student Exchange before filling out the application and submitting a registration fee!”)

    How many universities are involved?

    Almost 200

    Where are they located?

    All 50 United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands and Canada

    What is the registration fee?

    $300 (paid through Marketplace) and due at time of application

    When is the registration fee due?

    The fee is due when the application is finalized after meeting with NSE coordinator.

    What is a "Plan A" university? 

    You would pay tuition to your host school. 

    What is a "Plan B" university?

    You pay tuition to IUP as you would normally do. 

    What are your chances of placement?

    Each university indicates your chances for Plan A & B:

    • Excellent: accepts nearly all (96-100%) qualified students
    • Very Good: accepts 76-95% of qualified applicants
    • Good: accepts 51-75% of qualified applicants
    • Limited: accepts fewer than 50% of qualified applicants

    Are there any IUP requirements?

    You must have at least a 2.5 GPA or higher and be in good standing with IUP (i.e., no financial obligations such as fines or holds on your account, no judicial proceedings.)

    Do my credits transfer back to IUP?

    Yes, your credits, if approved through Transfer Admissions, transfer back to IUP, but your GPA remains the same. 

    Application Information

    If this sounds like the type of program you think you would enjoy, please contact Jan Shellenbarger at or 724-357-2235. For more information, please visit the National Student Exchange website.

    Pay your NSE application fee online through IUP Marketplace. Payment is due when you submit your application.