Standards of Good Practice

Proposed Revisions

A draft of the revised Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad was available for public comment on this page during the 30-period of June 1-30, 2019. Directly and materially affected individuals were welcomed and encouraged to share their feedback on the draft. View the draft and comments received below.


Comments Received


6th Edition Draft


The first ballot of the Consensus Body closed on August 22, 2019 at 5pm EST. The votes tallied by the deadline were 26 affirmative; 17 negative; 2 members did not vote (total of 45 members). The ballot did not reach the two-thirds or greater majority necessary to approve the draft; 29 affirmative votes were needed (of the 43 cast). Feedback provided by the members of the Consensus Body has been forwarded to the Standards Update Working Group for further consideration.

The Standards Update Working Group is currently reviewing all feedback received and will use it to inform further revisions to the Standards, which will in turn be submitted to the Consensus Body for a second ballot by October 1.

Next update: November 1, 2019

The Forum on Education Abroad is recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission as the Standards Development Organization (SDO) for the field of education abroad. As such, it is The Forum’s responsibility to monitor changes in our field of professional practice and maintain, update, and promulgate the Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad according to the needs of our field.

Our process for developing and updating standards prioritizes the core principles of due process for standards development as identified by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI): Openness, Lack of Dominance, Balance, Coordination and Harmonization, Consideration of View and Objections, Consensus Vote and Appeals. Persons directly or materially affected by the Standards have the opportunity to have their voices heard in this important process.

Notification of Standards Development

Beginning October 11, 2018, notice is hereby given that The Forum on Education Abroad has convened a Standards Update Working Group with the intent of revising the Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad in preparation for a 6th edition. The Standards Update Working Group is responsible for revising the Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad and proposing new drafts to a representative Consensus Body.

The Consensus Body is responsible for voting to approve proposed revisions. The Consensus Body is made up of 50 members from diverse interest categories in the field: U.S. higher education institutions, higher education institutions outside of the U.S., education abroad providers, professional associations, service providers and charitable organizations, general interest members, and individuals from the governing bodies of The Forum. Following each draft, a 30-day public comment period will commence. Drafts of revised and proposed standards will be available on this webpage as they become available.  All inquiries related to our standards development process can be directed to the Standards Manager at


Read the Standards Development Policy


Timeline for Standards Development

August 2018 Call for volunteers for Standards Update Working Group
September & October 2018 Selection of Standards Update Working Group
October 11 2018 Notification of Standards Development
Friday, October 19, 10:45 a.m. CET 2018 Session at The Forum’s 4th European Conference in Prague, Czech Republic: “VOICE YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON THE NEXT STANDARDS OF GOOD PRACTICE FOR EDUCATION ABROAD”
Wednesday, November 14, 10 a.m. ET 2018 Online Standards Information and Listening Session #1
Thursday, December 6, 12 p.m. ET 2018 Online Standards Information and Listening Session #2
Thursday, January 10, 10 p.m. ET 2019 Online Standards Information and Listening Session #3
Wednesday, January 30, 12 a.m. ET 2019 Online Standards Information and Listening Session #4
Tuesday, February 12, 6 a.m. ET 2019 Online Standards Information and Listening Session #5
Thursday, February 28, 4 p.m. ET 2019 Online Standards Information and Listening Session #6
Thursday, March 28, 1:45 p.m. MDT 2019 Session at The Forum’s 15th Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado, USA: “VOICE YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON THE NEXT STANDARDS OF GOOD PRACTICE FOR EDUCATION ABROAD”; Consensus Body application opens
April 2019 Consensus Body selected and announced
May 24-27 2019 Writing retreat in Washington, DC, USA for Standards Update Working Group
June 2019 Draft released, public comment period opens (30 days)
July 2019 Summary of Public Comments published on website
End of July 2019 Standards Update Working Group revises draft based on comments received
August 2019 Draft sent to Consensus Body for first vote
August-October 2019 Consensus Body voting until majority vote is reached in favor of the Standards updates
November 2019 Revised Standards announced and appeal period opened to any persons who have directly and materially affected interests and who have been or will be adversely affected by the revised Standards (30 days)
December 2019 Standards Manager responds in writing to each appellant within 30 days, appeals
January 2020 Board of Directors votes to endorse 6th edition
March 2020 Release of the 6th Edition of the Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad
July 2020 6th Edition of the Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad takes effect.

Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad, 5th ed. (2015)

Form and Function: Working with the Standards of Good Practice

The Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad support the complex responsibilities inherent in offering education abroad opportunities to students. They act as a means to develop, manage, assess and improve education abroad programming. As a commonly-developed and accepted set of standards, they provide a framework for accountability.

Each Standard is structured by:

  • Statements: the broad principles of the Standard, detailed in bullet points. These define the aspirational best practices that should be applicable to any entity operating within the field of education abroad, according to their type of education abroad activity.
  • a set of Queries following the Statement: prompts for evaluation, designed to elicit a response that demonstrates how the Standard is being met and encourages discussion rather than a yes or no response.

Supporting each Standard are:

  • Fundamental elements: a dynamic feature defining essential expectations of implementing the Standards;
  • Member Resources: a resource featuring best practices, keyed to the Standards. These examples are vetted by The Forum’s Standards Committee, and are made available exclusively to Forum members,
  • Standards Guidelines: guidance that contextualizes various specific areas of education abroad practices, particularly where these practices may differ from the same practice in the home campus context.

Standard 1: Mission and Goals

Standard 2: Student Learning and Development

Standard 3: Academic Framework

Standard 4: Student Selection, Preparation, and Advising

Standard 5: Student Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Measure

Standard 6: Policies and Procedures

Standard 7: Organizational and Program Resources

Standard 8: Health, Safety, Security, and Risk Management

Standard 9: Ethics

» Download the PDF

» Submit a resource to the Standards Toolbox