Ten Best Practices for Universities and Institutions Working with Sponsors/Programming Organizations

February 10, 2012

wRAP-Up Volume 9, Issue 1 - March 2012
Compiled by Gabriele Schmiegel, sponsored student coordinator, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

1. Promote effective communication:

  • Be responsive with students, sponsors/programming organizations and university representatives.
  • Visit the sponsor/programming organization and educate them, build relationships.

2. Designate one primary point of contact:

  • Act as a bridge between admissions, academic departments, international student office, sponsor/programming organization, and third-party billing.
  • Learn as much as possible about the sponsor’s rules for their students.
  • Build relationships with staff and faculty who work with sponsored students in each of the offices on your campus, such as cashiers, residential life, graduate school, undergraduate admissions, and international student advisers.

3. Balance the interests of the sponsor, school, and student:

  • Know and understand the terms of agreement and work within them.
  • Understand the program restrictions.
  • Be aware of ethical responsibilities in advising students.

4. Be organized:

  • Provide information required for placement in one package.
  • Keep files on each sponsor, including copies of the terms of agreement.

5. Understand the limitations of your role and share responsibilities with the sponsor. Be a partner to the sponsor/programming organization but do not usurp their role.

6. Demonstrate flexibility by knowing your school’s policies and how much leeway you have:

  • Are deadlines flexible?
  • Is conditional admission possible?

7. Cultivate programming organization friendliness:

  • Maintain involvement throughout the year, not just when you need help!
  • Spread the word and make all parties aware of advantages of working together.
  • Know that sponsors expect a fast and streamlined process.

8. Meet student needs and go the extra mile:

  • Provide assistance for students who are settling in, such as airport arrival assistance.
  • Cultural and academic integration is essential for good student experience.
  • Know the on-campus housing options during vacations.

9. Have a signed release form in the student’s file that gives your office permission to talk to the programming organization or sponsor about academic or nonacademic issues (FERPA).

10. Keep sponsored students in mind when developing programs such as special orientations, discussion groups, and coffee hours.

This publication has been developed by NAFSA members for use by their colleagues. No part of this newsletter may be reproduced without written permission from NAFSA: Association of International Educators. The opinions expressed in wRap Up solely reflect those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of NAFSA: Association of International Educators. wRap Up and NAFSA neither endorse nor are responsible for the accuracy of content and/or opinions expressed.