NSE and Title IV Student Assistance

NSE Policy Regarding Title IV Student Assistance

In accordance with NSE policy, Title IV financial aid is awarded by and disbursed from the institution where tuition and fees are paid.
  • Plan A - For Plan A (the student pays the in-state or in-province tuition and mandatory fees directly to the host campus), aid is applied for and disbursed from the student's host college or university in the same manner as the institution funds its native students.
  • Plan A Exception - While NSE policy requires that students participating in Plan A (in-state or in-province tuition and fees paid by the student to their host campus) apply for, and have their aid disbursed from, their host college or university, a small number of NSE members also fund their own outgoing Plan A students to ensure access to state tuition grants or institutionally-based scholarships. In choosing to fund their outgoing Plan A students, these institutions remain obligated, by NSE policy, to provide Title IV Student Assistance to their eligible incoming Plan A students.
If a campus chooses to fund its outgoing Plan A students, the decision is designated on an annual basis by the home campus NSE coordinator on the NSE Campus Budget Submission Form. This form is completed the summer prior to the subsequent academic year exchange and governs how financial aid will be managed for that subsequent academic year. The decision to fund outgoing NSE students governs all students for that year. The campus may not selectively fund some students, but not others.

See Plan A Exceptions for those campuses that fund their outgoing Plan A students. Host NSE campuses should not process applications for incoming Plan A students from theses universities.
  • Plan B - Plan B (the student pays normal tuition and mandatory fees to the home campus) students apply for, and have their aid disbursed from, their home institution. Plan B students should remain registered at their home institution in an NSE holding course with full-time enrollment.
  • To and From Canada - Students going to or coming from an NSE member college or university in Canada are always funded by their home campus regardless of whether or not the student chooses to exchange under Plan A or Plan B.

NSE Membership Agreement/Title IV Consortium Agreement

When a campus joins the National Student Exchange it signs the NSE Membership Agreement which entitles the contracting institution to membership in, and services provided by, the National Student Exchange in support of the exchange of students by and between its member colleges and universities. In signing this agreement, the contracting institution agrees to be bound by the policies and procedures detailed in the NSE Handbook and summarized in the NSE Terms of Participation (2013).

This form constitutes a consortium agreement by and between National Student Exchange members as it relates to the awarding and disbursing of Title IV Student Assistance. The United States Department of Education (the Department) has determined that the information included in the NSE Membership Agreement meets the requirements for a consortium agreement as provided in the Department's regulations at 34 CFR 668.5(a) Written arrangements between eligible institutions, and is considered to be by and between eligible NSE member institutions. Separate or individual (institution: institution) agreements are not necessary for students participating in the National Student Exchange. See DOE Letter.


NSE uses January 31 as a common FAFSA application deadline for students who have the potential for being placed on Plan A (the student pays the in-state or in-province tuition and mandatory fees directly to the host campus) at any of their selected campuses. Students are instructed to list on their FAFSA application, the FAFSA code for any campus on which they have the possibility to be placed on Plan A. Students should also include the FAFSA code for their home campus in case their NSE plans undergo a change. FAFSA Codes are listed in the Campus Profiles.

Cost of Attendance

Awards, regardless of whether they are disbursed from the home or host NSE member, should be based on a real budget for cost of attendance that includes tuition and fees at the institution where they are paid and on the host campus room, meals, and incidentals; host campus travel; and transportation from the home campus to the host university.

With the exception of costs for transportation to the location of the host campuses, NSE's Campus Budgets detail the real budgets for each of its member colleges and universities including tuition and fees, room, meals, books/supplies, personal expenses, travel, and health insurance. This is designed to assist the home campus financial aid office in calculating real budget figures. For any U.S. student funded by a U.S. home institution budgets must be consistent and in compliance with Title IV guidance.

Financial Aid Contacts

Campus Budgets identify the e-mail address for the financial aid officer at the institution who is most familiar with NSE. More complete contact information for these individuals can be found at Campus Detail Information, scroll down to Financial Concerns, Financial Aid Contact.

Enrollment: Outgoing Students

NSE students should remain in a registration status at their home campus while on exchange. Such enrollment tracks the student through the institution for record-keeping and audit purposes.
  • Plan A (in-state or in-province tuition and fees paid by the student to their host campus) students should be registered in an NSE holding course which generates no bill for tuition/fees, but continues to tie them to their home institution.
  • For Plan B (the student pays normal tuition and mandatory fees to the home campus), a full-time registration satisfies the requirements for Title IV Student Assistance so that aid can be released to the student consistent with native students on the home campus. Most Plan B campuses create a 12 15 credit hour NSE holding course.

Enrollment: Incoming Students

NSE expects NSE participants to be enrolled full-time while on exchange.

For class-standing purposes, the easiest and most accurate method is to require transcripts that provide the host campus with the total credit hours completed and subsequent class standing dictated by those hours.
  • Plan A (in-state or in-province tuition and fees paid by the student to their host campus) students must be classified as matriculated students in order to be eligible for Title IV Student Assistance.
  • How Plan B (the student pays normal tuition and mandatory fees to the home campus) students are classified will vary with the policies of the individual campus. Some campuses simply treat and classify students as they do their native students. Others have various existing visiting categories that are appropriate, while others may have to create an NSE category.

Advising Agreement

The National Student Exchange requires that each outgoing exchange student consult with their academic advisor and commit to writing a list of potential courses to be taken while on exchange and an understanding of how the courses will be accepted into the student's academic program upon return to the home college or university. This advising agreement should be signed by and filed with the student's academic advisor, NSE coordinator, and the record's office. This agreement ensures that the work to be completed on exchange is pre-approved by the home institution and guides the records office in distributing the course work when the student returns from exchange.

Verification of Enrollment

By the third week of each term, the NSE host institution coordinator verifies, using NSE's on-line student database, the enrollment for each student who has been placed at the institution. The home institution coordinator provides that enrollment information to the home institution's financial aid office. The host institution's NSE coordinator is responsible for monitoring enrollment throughout the term and advising the home institution NSE coordinator if the student's enrollment has dropped below full-time. The institution that disbursed federal financial aid will be responsible for determining and, if necessary, paying refunds or repayments resulting from the student's withdrawal from classes. A student whose home institution is a U.S. institution must comply with enrollment reporting requirements to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).