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Why NSE?

  • Broaden personal and educational perspectives
  • Experience new cultures
  • Explore new areas of study
  • Learn from different professors
  • Access new courses
  • Experience personal growth
  • Meet new people
  • Make new friends
  • Acquire life skills
  • Live in a different area
  • Investigate graduate schools
  • Seek future employment
  • Become more independent and resourceful

For many NSE students, the year/semester on exchange is usually the most significant and enjoyable in their academic career. Students return home with a fresh outlook on their education and better able to define academic and career objectives. It is also a time of dramatic personal growth and maturity, particularly for students who have not traveled extensively. Students frequently return from exchange with more self-confidence and independence, greater decision-making skills, better able to take risks, and with a better defined view of their future.

It is not unusual for NSE students to consider, after returning to their home environment, participation in a study abroad program as well as graduate school and employment opportunities outside of their home region. NSE is an enhancement of your undergraduate program, demonstrating to graduate schools and future employers that you have gone beyond the norm.


In order to participate in the National Student Exchange program, a student must meet all of the following eligibility criteria.

  • Must be a full-time, degree seeking Ramapo College of New Jersey student with a declared major
  • Must be enrolled at RCNJ the semester immediately prior to the intended exchange semester
  • All applicants must have a 2.5 cumulative RCNJ GPA (may vary)
  • Must be in good academic, judicial, and financial standing
    • Discipline history will be reviewed on a case by case basis
    • Academic probation students will not be considered
    • Students with any current academic or financial holds will not be considered
  • Must have a minimum of 32 credits earned at RCNJ
    • Transfer students must complete at least one semester (16 credits) at Ramapo College to be eligible
How to Choose a Program

When considering all the options, take the time to think about the following criteria for your NSE exchange program:

Academic – Do they have the courses you need to stay on track with your Ramapo curriculum?

Semester/Quarter – RCNJ only participates with schools that operate on a semester schedule. Quarter school exchanges will not be approved.

Housing – Is housing available on-campus? Will you have to live off-campus? Do you have family/friends that live near the host campus?

Cost – Plan A vs. Plan B – Which option is best for you? What are the host school costs for tuition and housing?

Sports/Clubs – Are there chapters of organizations you already belong to that you can join? Are there organizations different from those at RCNJ that would benefit you?

Internship/Volunteer – Check out the options to do an internship or volunteer; whether it is for personal reasons or you want to build your resume, these are great options to do while on an NSE program.

A full list of member institutions can be found here:

Application Process
  • Visit the Roukema Center for International Education to pick up a NSE brochure or visit to search the NSE Online Directory
  • Conduct a search of participating schools. Search by major or areas of interest
  • Research & select four or five campuses that meet your academic and personal goals
  • Look through websites and course catalogs of your top choices, concentrating on courses you might need for your major or minor. If they are not available, ask yourself if you could spend a semester away without taking major or minor classes and still graduate on time.
  • Contact Kate Lamanna, NSE Coordinator, to make an appointment to discuss the NSE program, your campus choices and goals for exchange:
  • Complete the RCNJ National Student Exchange application online
  • Submit your completed NSE application with the non-refundable application fee. We accept cash, check* or credit card** payments.

Checklist for Application


  • Completed Application
  • $225.00 Application Fee (non-refundable) – cash, check* or credit card** accepted
    *Checks should be made payable to ‘Ramapo College of New Jersey’
    **Credit card payments may be made via our secure site here: National Student Exchange (NSE) – Application Fee Payment
  • Signed Statement of Responsibility and Waiver of Liability Forms
  • Application for the NSE Program
  • 2 Academic Recommendations
  • Application Essay
  • Official RCNJ Transcript
  • NSE Release of Information
  • Review of Judicial History
  • Copy of passport (if international)

POST-Conference PLACEMENT***

  • An additional $25 fee will apply for post-conference placements, for a total of $250.
  • Ad Hoc Form (for financial aid)
  • Course Approval Form
  • Emergency Contact Information
  • Host Campus Application
  • PAF Acceptance Forms (2 pages)
  • Attendance at the mandatory pre-departure orientation

***Post-Conference placement means that any application that is submitted and approved AFTER the annual NSE placement conference in mid-March)

Apply now


For placement during the Fall 2020/Spring 2021 academic year the deadline is: Monday, February 24, 2020

Cost, Financial Aid & Scholarships

National Student Exchange is run through two financial payment options.

Plan A is when the student pays tuition and mandatory fees to the host institution. Room and board are also paid to the host campus. Thus, you would not have a bill at Ramapo College during your NSE term. Financial Aid would need to be filed in your FAFSA under the host institution. Please contact the Financial Aid office with questions as to how to do this.

*If you receive any RCNJ institutional scholarships, you are not eligible to use them on Plan A exchanges.

Plan B is when the student pays tuition and mandatory fees to Ramapo College. Room and board are paid to the host campus. Special fees, such as those with labs or orientation programs, are paid to the host campus as well. Financial Aid continues to be applied for and received from RCNJ.

*If you receive any RCNJ institutional scholarships, you are eligible to use those scholarships towards the tuition portion billed to you by Ramapo College but not towards your room and board which is paid directly to the host institution.

Application fees for those received after the deadline will be an additional $25.00.

*Applicants are advised to thoroughly research the costs of the campuses they are considering.


Tara Belits ’11 (University of Hawaii, Hilo)

One of the most wonderful things about NSE is that you get to experience how truly diverse culture is in the United States. I studied in Hawaii, which was an amazing, unforgettable experience. I met people from Texas, Alaska, Colorado, and Idaho (among others) and they each came to the program with their own regional perspectives. The music, food, art, customs, and relationships that comprise Hawaiian culture were fascinating to immerse myself in, especially against the backdrop of a Hawaiian sunset.

Vinnie Maggio ’14 (University of Hawaii, Hilo)Vince Maggio_Hawaii

I would have to conclude that overall, studying a semester in Hawaii was one of the best decisions that I have ever made and was worth every penny, even though it wasn’t as expensive as I had envisioned. Often times it’s not very common that a chance comes around to see and learn all that I have, which cant even be grasped by this document. The endless adventures that were filled with the excitement of newness made this trip worthwhile to say the least.

Academically, this trip served as a great tool for advancement in and broadening of my understanding of environmental studies as well as how other people view worldly problems. While away I also took action in volunteer opportunities with my Forestry and Natural Resources class. Generally speaking, the majority of the materials learned in class were easily glued to my memory as a result of the many class field trips that were taken into different forests, habitats, observatories and other suitable fields that reflected the specific knowledge at hand.

Given the amazing opportunity provided through the National Student Exchange program, I was able to succeed in a dreamy endeavor that very rarely becomes a reality.

Emily-Moore_photo-300x225Emily Moore ’14 (University of Hawaii, Hilo)

Aloha! My name is Emily Moore. I’m currently a junior here at Ramapo. I’m an American Studies major and am also going for my teaching certificate in secondary education. I was a part of the National Student Exchange program for Fall 2012. I studied at the University of Hawaii at Hilo; although Hawaii is still a part of the United States it felt like a completely different country. The climate, culture and language of Hawaii is distinct and unique. Hawaii has strong Polynesian roots, and the Hawaiian language is prominent in school and also casual conversations.

My school was located on the Big Island, which is incredibly diverse. UH Hilo offered trips every weekend to the best spots on the island. I was able to hike to Green Sands Beach, cliff jump on the Kona side and see the sunset from atop Mauna Kea.

I also participated in an Alternative Spring Break program to the Dominican Republic. We worked with the Dream Project in Cabarete. Dream strives to improve literacy and education levels; we helped the teachers in the classroom and also ran our own lesson plans. It was an extraordinary experience in international education and allowed us to help a great cause.