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Working With Students Interested in National Student Exchange

The National Student Exchange (NSE) is a consortium of four-year colleges and universities founded in 1968. Annually, approximately 4,500 students spend up to a year at over 175 institutions in 49 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada. The NSE website is located at

The NSE Coordinator works closely with academic advisors to make sure that students who plan to participate in NSE receive course approval from their academic departments. We also work with academic departments to make sure that students receive appropriate credit from abroad. Ultimately, it is the student’s responsibility to be sure they obtain course approvals, but International Learning Opportunities always helps students and advisors with the process.

What all students should know about NSE:

  • They can receive academic credit for their coursework.
  • They can afford it.
  • It does not have to delay their graduation.
  • There is no age limit to participate.

What is NSE

National Student Exchange: This is sometimes called “domestic exchange”. Boise State is a member of the National Student Exchange (NSE), a consortium of approximately 175 colleges and universities, which allows students to study on exchange at those institutions. NSE is a tuition reciprocity program. Therefore, there are two payment plans. Students can either pay Boise State fees or the in-state tuition and fees of the host school.

Students interested in studying abroad should be referred to the Working with Students Considering Study Abroad section of this handbook.

Planning and Applying


  • Students must be full-time students at Boise State at the time the application is submitted.
  • Students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale at the time of application and at the conclusion of the term prior to the beginning of the exchange.
  • Students must be in good standing financially, socially, and academically at Boise State.
  • Placement acceptance is determined by the host campus on a “space available” basis.

How far ahead should students apply?

The NSE application deadline is typically at the end of February. The NSE coordinator attends the annual NSE Placement Conference in March and 95% of all placements are at this conference. After the conference NSE placements are made on a “space available” basis. Students should begin to research exchange options as early as possible, even if they are not sure where they wish to study. Proper planning allows their NSE program to integrate into their academic coursework and fulfill requirements for their major(s).

What is the process to apply for NSE?

Students must submit an application, essay, letters of recommendation, and an application fee. Students must have a 2.5 GPA for most NSE sites, although some host campuses may require a higher GPA for participation.

Which academic year is the best time to go?

Students typically choose to participate in NSE during their junior year. However, sophomores and seniors with a 2.5 are also qualified. Students receiving financial aid may wish to wait until their junior year, because they are eligible for more student loan funding at this grade level.

Grading and Credits

How do students ensure that their credits will count for their degree requirements?

All NSE students must obtain department chair approval for course work to be taken on exchange. All students are given a “Course Approval Form” and a list of the department chairs; including their office locations. The Course Approval Form ensures NSE students will receive appropriate credit for their work completed on exchange. This form must be submitted prior to departure for exchange.

The Course Approval Form allows the student to know how their courses will count toward their degree requirements. They will then know which courses to enroll in when they return to Boise. It is the student’s responsibility to complete this form by the deadline and obtain course approval signatures. All students are reminded to save all course materials from their host institution until their final credits and grades have been posted to their Boise State record.

Do NSE grades count at Boise State?

Yes, grades and credits from NSE participation will be transferred to the students’ record.

How do student register while on NSE?

Students are enrolled in a placeholder course, which maintains their enrollment at Boise State. Their Boise State registration date and time will be posted to their BroncoWeb account. Students can register on-line from their host campus.

When are grades posted upon student’s return?

If students have done the necessary paperwork (the Course Approval Form) then grades are posted almost immediately upon receipt of the official transcript.

Can seniors participate in NSE?

Yes, however, NSE credits are transferred into the students’ academic record. Therefore, seniors could violate the Boise State requirement that their last 30 credits be taken at Boise State. Students should discuss this issue with their academic department and the Registrar’s Office.

Paying for NSE

What are the payment plans?

NSE has two payment plans. Some campuses have limitations on the number of spaces on each plan.

Plan A – The student pays the host campus tuition/fees.

Plan B – The student pays Boise State fees (tuition applies if student is an out-of-state resident).

How do students apply for federal aid for NSE?

Students should submit the FAFSA by the February 15th priority deadline. NSE students receive financial aid from the institution to which they are paying fees. Therefore, students should put all possible exchange choices on the FAFSA form and submit the FAFSA by the February 15th priority deadline. Work-study cannot be used during an NSE program.

Living Arrangements

While participating in the National Student Exchange, living arrangements are usually dorms or student apartments, similar to Boise State’s housing options.

For More Information

For more information about the National Student Exchange, please have students contact the International Learning Opportunities Office. The office is located in the Academic and Career Services Building, Room 102. The office phone number is 426-2630.