Risk Management

All University-sponsored student travel abroad, including that by student organizations and teams, must be reported to the Office of International Programs, and faculty/staff program leaders must submit specific information on behalf of their group prior to departure.

Countries Under Department of State Travel Warning

The University of Akron generally does not permit university-sponsored student travel to countries under a US Department of State Travel Warning.  However, proposals may be reviewed on an individual basis.  In such cases, faculty directors must demonstrate how the program design mitigates risks and concerns identified in the Travel Warning.  Approval cannot be guaranteed.

List of Participants

The program leader must submit electronically a complete list of participants to the Office of International Programs using this spreadsheet: Participant List. Please note that all fields are required.

Health and Emergency Insurance

All participants in University of Akron-sponsored education abroad programs or international travel are required to purchase international health and emergency insurance through the Office of International Programs (OIP). The University of Akron has entered into an agreement with United Health Plans (UHP) to provide such coverage to participants for the duration of their programs abroad at low daily rate. In addition to health care coverage, the UHP policy provides seamless coordination with and coverage of services provided by International SOS (see below). Details of coverage are available here: Evidence of Benefits.

Faculty directors/program leaders will collect insurance fees as part of the program fee and transfer the total insurance fee for all participants to OIP account 9-94327. Once the transfer is made, the faculty director/program leader should submit proof of transfer along with the above-mentioned Participant List and other required documents. This process should be completed no later than one month prior to departure.

Insurance fees are based on participant status, i.e. UA student (defined as anyone with official student status regardless of age) or faculty/non-student, and the duration of the program. Faculty directors/program leaders may use this Insurance Calculator to calculate insurance fees.

Should a participant wish to travel independently upon completion of the program, he or she may work with UHP and OIP directly on an individual basis to extend coverage.

Health/Emergency Information Form

All participants must complete, sign and submit electronically (via the faculty leader) the Health/Emergency Information Form.  While submission of the form is required, full or truthful disclosure of medical information cannot be mandated.  Nonetheless, full and truthful disclosure is encourage, as it is may provide assistance in preparing the student for the program and may prove critical in the event of an emergency.  Information disclosed is confidential and will only be used in the manner described above.  It will not affect the student’s admission to the program.


Program leaders must submit electronically scanned copies of the information and signature pages of all participants’ passports.

Flight Itinerary

Program leaders must submit electronically a copy (or copies) of the flight itinerary/-ies for all participants.

Contact Information Abroad

Program leaders must submit electronically their contact information abroad, including:

  • Program leader phone number abroad (if applicable)
  • Names, addresses, phone numbers and dates of stay for all accommodations abroad
  • Names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and dates of contact for all international partners contacted

International SOS

International SOS is an outside organization contracted by The University of Akron and other Ohio institutions to provide risk management services and advice. For instance, the International SOS website contains country-specific travel and health advice and, in the event of an emergency, International SOS can facilitate evacuation to the US. Furthermore, International SOS operates several medical clinics abroad. Through this contract, all UA faculty, staff and students travelling abroad may take advantage of these services.

The United Health Plans insurance policy required of all participants in UA-sponsored education programs provides coverage of and coordination with International SOS. Participants should have available both their proof of coverage and the UA International SOS membership information.

Membership Number: 11BCAS0010
Membership Type: Scholastic Comprehensive Access
Downloadable Membership Card: The University of Akron Membership
Smartphone App Information: Scholastic Membership App

Preparing Students

It is crucial that faculty directors accurately and clearly inform students of potential risks and challenges at multiple stages, especially during recruitment and pre-departure.  By making this information available early, students are given the opportunity to actively evaluate whether or not whether or not they are able and willing to handle those issues and to prepare for them.  Students who may have physical impairments or mental health concerns will have time to consult with their physicians and, possibly, work with the faculty director and the Office of Accessibility to explore any reasonable accommodations.

Students with Physical and Mental Health Concerns

Some students may have obvious physical impairments, while others may have physical or mental health concerns that will only become known through disclosure on the Health & Emergency Information Form.  In the case of the latter, faculty directors will need to address the potential issue, albeit carefully.

Faculty directors should meet with the student(s) privately and inform them of the purpose of the discussion.  Faculty directors should not press for more information about a student’s condition than the student is willing to disclose; though, students may give details voluntarily and organically as the conversation progresses.  Instead, faculty directors should focus on reiterating the challenges of the program, be they physical or emotional, and encourage the student to speak with their medical or mental health professional about the proposed program and how it relates to the student’s condition.  Students may also be referred to the Counseling Center and the Office of Accessibility for advice and assistance.

Travel Health

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and other resources provide health information for international travelers.  This includes required and/or recommended vaccinations, Travel Health Warnings, information on outbreaks and information on common travel ailments.

In instances of outbreaks of disease such as that of SARS in 2003 and H1N1 influenza (“swine flu”) in 2009, students should rely on information from the CDC and WHO, rather than general media, to determine travel safety.  In such instances, the Office of International Programs and The University of Akron likewise will monitor this information and, when necessary, make determinations about continued viability and safety of the given program.

Information on English-speaking health care providers should be available from the US consular mission in the host country.

US Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

Prior to departure the faculty director should register the group with the United States Department of State (DOS) through its Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  Registering with STEP notifies the DOS of the group’s presence abroad and enables them to provide both routine and emergency updates as needed.


Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Travel Advice
CDC: Travelers' Diarrhea
CDC: Travelers’ Health
CDC: Sexual Violence Prevention
Government of Canada: Country Travel Advice and Advisories
International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers: Vaccinations
International SOS: Before You Travel
Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Travel Advice
New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Travel Advisories
SOS112: Information on Emergency Services in Europe
United Kingdom Foreign Office: Travel Advice
USDOS: Current Travel Warnings
USDOS: Free Smart Traveler App (Apple & Android users)
USDOS: Health Issues
USDOS: Tips for Traveling Abroad
USDOS: What the Department of State Can and Can't Do in a Crisis
WHO: Travel and Health
Wikipedia: International Emergency Telephone Numbers