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Cross Cultural Studies (CCS) Benefit

A benefit is now available to make study abroad more affordable for SAU students. This benefit will be applied to the cost of a student’s first Cross Cultural Studies (CCS) experience and is available to full time students matriculating fall 2011 and later. Applicable to a three-week CCS program or a semester abroad, the benefit will cover some of the travel-related expenses of CCS such as:

  • Airfare
  • Lodging
  • Meals
  • Activity Fees

Some destinations will be entirely funded by the full benefit while other, more expensive destinations will be offered with a modest extra cost. Students will need to provide for their personal expenses such as passport, immunizations and medications, and spending money.  Eligibility and access to the benefit will vary depending on the number of full-time semesters a student attends Spring Arbor University and will generally be available during the student’s junior year.


The CCS benefit is available to traditional, main campus, non-remission undergraduate students starting with those who enroll full time, for the first time, after June 1, 2011.

  • Dual-enrolled students who begin their traditional college career after June 1, 2011 will be considered first-time freshmen and therefore eligible for the benefit.
  • Students who transfer credits and matriculate at SAU after June 1, 2011 with less than junior status (58 hours) and remain full time students for five or more consecutive semesters are eligible for the full CCS benefit.
  • Students who matriculate at SAU after June 1, 2011 with junior or senior status and remain full time, non-remission students for one semester are eligible for half of the CCS benefit.
  • Students who matriculate prior to June 2011 are ineligible for the CCS benefit but instead receive a Global Initiatives Offset Grant on their financial aid statement.

Frequently Asked Questions

I am a full-time main campus freshman; when will I be eligible for the CCS benefit?

Undergraduate first -year students who matriculate at SAU after June 1, 2011 are eligible for the full CCS benefit when they have reached junior status and begin their fifth full time SAU semester.

That access is contingent on satisfactory financial arrangements with the business office for the fifth semester – before those classes begin.

I am an undergraduate student transferring and enrolling full time at SAU.  For what CCS benefit am I eligible?

Students who matriculate (enroll) at SAU with less than junior status (less than 58 hours transferring and accepted by SAU), will be eligible for the full CCS benefit.  These students must fulfill the CCS requirement.

Students who matriculate at SAU and transfer 58 credit hours or more are not required to fulfill the CCS requirement to graduate.   However, those students who choose to participate, for credit, will have a partial CCS benefit available to them. These transfer students must successfully complete one full semester at SAU to be eligible for the benefit.

My academic schedule will work better to complete my CCS requirement during my sophomore year and not wait until my junior year.  What kind of benefit is available to me since I have not reached junior status and/or have not been full time at SAU for five consecutive semesters? What can I do?

The benefit is intended for juniors who have been enrolled at SAU as a full-time student for five semesters.  However, SAU recognizes that some students may have extenuating scheduling or other circumstances wherein completing the CCS requirement in their sophomore year is best.  Such students should see the Director of CCS for a petition to request to be allowed to go their sophomore year. The petition will be reviewed by the faculty CCS committee which will make recommendations as to when the student should complete their CCS requirement. Sophomores with approved exceptions would receive the full benefit.

I am not required to take CCS to graduate, but I want to participate in one of the experiences. Do I have to take it for credit to receive the benefit?

All students in the CCS program must be enrolled for credit, regardless of their academic requirements. Students who are not required to fulfill CCS will be admitted to a program on a space-available basis for credit.

I am a student that has been away from SAU, but I am enrolling again. For what am I eligible?

Students that have not been continuously enrolled full time (summers are not a factor) will have to be reviewed individually to determine the extent of their eligibility.

Can the benefit for which I qualify be used for an international semester abroad?

Yes. While it is primarily intended for SAU’s own CCS programs, the CCS benefit may be used for other semester abroad programs which are SAU-approved to fulfill the CCS requirement.  See the SAU catalog for programs which qualify.

What are some examples of semester abroad experiences that qualify for the CCS benefit?

SAU-owned semester abroad programs include SAU Guatemala, SAU Jordan, SAU Japan and SAU Tokyo Christian University at this time. Others include semester abroad programs operated by the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU, and programs the Faculty CCS Committee have approved as meeting the CCS requirement. These programs are described in the SAU catalog.

Can the benefit for which I qualify be used for anything else?

No. The benefit is to be used for COR 274/275 (or COR 374/375) Cross Cultural Studies or a pre-approved SAU semester abroad that fulfills the CCS requirement.

Are there any other funds for which I can apply? I’m told I would not receive my usual SAU institutional financial aid if I choose a semester abroad that fulfills my CCS requirement, but it is not a SAU program.

Students who enroll in a semester abroad program which effectively requires tuition to leave SAU (that is, semester abroad programs not owned and operated by SAU) are eligible to apply for the Semester Off Campus Opportunity Grant (SOCSOF) fund (due the last Friday in February, the year before they participate in the semester abroad program). Students may not apply for SOCSOF funds and use their CCS benefit for the same program. If a program fulfills their CCS requirement, a student may choose between applying for SOCSOF consideration or use the CCS benefit for which they are eligible. A student might use their CCS benefit for one semester program or three-week CCS program and subsequently apply for SOCSOF funds for a different semester program. Students who are PELL grant recipients and choose to study abroad are also encouraged to apply for the Gilman Scholarship; see for more information. The Cross Cultural Studies Office does success seminars. Plan to attend!

I see I will be charged a $150 course fee if I enroll in COR 274/275 (or 374/375), for the trip course I have selected. Why do I have to pay this, if there is no additional cost for my location?

The CCS benefit covers expenses related to the actual international experience: travel, lodging, meals and in-country educational costs such as admission fees, speaker honorariums, etc. This course fee covers some of the individual expenses associated with our CCS offerings and includes an administrative fee for the program. Examples of these individual expenses included are an international student ID and required photos.

I see there are CCS program options that show an additional cost. How do those work?

SAU is endeavoring to provide at least a third of the three-week CCS programs at no extra cost to the student; other, more expensive destinations are offered at additional cost. Students choosing from the other destinations must meet the payment schedules for the added program charge to keep their spot on the program. Please refer to the CCS Payment and Cancellation/Refund policy for payment due dates and full explanations. Students should see their SAU financial aid counselor in a timely manner to discuss their eligibility for loans toward the difference, so that all avenues for funding can be explored and implemented before the payment is due.

If I enroll on a CCS program and decide to drop or switch to another CCS program, do I lose any of my CCS benefit for dropping?

Enabling students to participate in the CCS program is the goal of the CCS benefit. Services for the CCS program are being provided on behalf of the student during COR 274/275 (or 374/375) and payment for those services comes from the CCS benefit. The CCS cancellation refund policy applies both to the $150 study abroad fee and all funds the student has personally paid. It is possible to lose some or all of your CCS benefit if you drop the program after the dates stated in the cancellation refund policy.

I am interested in creating my own individualized option honors CCS (IOCCS-H) program. Are IOCCS-H experiences eligible for consideration for the CCS benefit for which I qualify?

Students who are interested in learning more about IOCCS-H should contact the Director of CCS for information on what qualifies as IOCCS-H and what is involved in getting faculty CCS committee approval for IOCCS-H.  For students who are approved for IOCCS-H, the CCS benefit can apply, to the extent that the student is able to document applicable expenses with receipts.

I expect I will be unable to participate in international travel and study experiences, because of special circumstances:
– I have a physical or psychological disability or condition
– I am the parent and primary caregiver to my minor child
– I have a personal hardship/complication
How could my situation affect my participation in the program and my CCS benefit?

We work with each student and his or her situation, because special needs do not automatically mean you cannot participate. Students with documented special circumstances, however, may be eligible to fulfill their CCS requirement with on-campus exception courses through the normal petition process with the Director of CCS and the Faculty CCS Committee.
If a petition is granted by the faculty CCS Committee, the student takes two prescribed courses to fulfill their CCS requirement, as described in the SAU catalog. Should this alternative directly result in additional costs, on-campus exception students can discuss their situation with the Director of CCS to see if any of the benefit for which they might otherwise qualify could be used.