Policy & Guidelines

IU’s policy on agreements makes an important distinction between partnerships/affiliations and offshore/cross-border activities.

Partnerships or affiliations involve active collaboration on concrete, sustainable activities that are of mutual benefit to IU and the partner. A partnership agreement, therefore, establishes formal ties between IU and a partner for purposes of collaboration. Agreements for one-directional or non-reciprocal offshore activities, such as facilitated transfer of international students or visiting student programs, may not constitute a partnership or affiliation.

Offshore or cross-border activities constitute any type of international activity conducted under an agreement. Some of the activities listed below may be done in cooperation with a foreign entity but might not be considered a partnership:

  • Commitments for overseas exchange programs;
  • Collaborative degrees or certificates with a foreign entity;
  • Credit-bearing and non-credit overseas distance education programs requiring a written agreement between IU and a foreign entity;
  • Movement of IU faculty or staff overseas for the purpose of delivering IU coursework for credit;
  • Operating an overseas office that represents IU or any of its units;
  • Establishment or registration of an IU legal presence in a foreign country;
  • Facilitated transfer admission agreements and "twinning" programs;
  • Serving as a "school of record" for students at non-IU study abroad programs.

Policy violations are serious matters. The Office of the Vice President for International Affairs, working in coordination with IU General Counsel, may prohibit academic programs and offices from continuing international activities that have not been approved.

IU's partnership priorities

IU focuses on partnerships with international institutions ranked at the highest levels nationally, regionally, or internationally. Particular focus has been placed on partnership development in 30 priority countries. In general, IU favors a smaller number of quality international agreements that have substantial levels of activity. IU occasionally partners with less highly ranked institutions and organizations outside higher education if they have special expertise or capacity of specific value.

Learn more about the priority countries

Required agreement components

When possible, IU faculty and staff are encouraged to use agreement templates as a starting point to ensure all relevant terms are represented for specific types of collaboration. If a partner or foreign entity prefers to use its template, IU faculty and staff should confirm that the following components are included in that agreement. This can be done by comparing the provided template and the appropriate IU template.

  • The parties involved, including contact information for the faculty or staff responsible for communications and notices
  • An "effective" start date
  • Duration of the agreement (up to a maximum of five years)
  • Equal opportunity statement if the activity involves faculty, students, or staff
  • Length of time required to notify the other party about termination of the agreement, typically no more than six months
  • Statement that the agreement may be renewed or amended
  • Permission for the partners to use their respective logos and names to promote the agreement
  • Preferred means of resolving a dispute

Duration of agreements

All agreements are limited to a maximum duration of five years and may be renewed by submitting and receiving positive consideration on an application for renewal. Agreements of indefinite duration are not permitted.

Required signatories on agreements

The President and University Treasurer are authorized signatories on agreements for partnerships and cross-border activities. The international partnerships staff will secure the signature of either the President or the University Treasurer once the agreement terms have been finalized and approved by IU's General Counsel.

The Vice President for International Affairs also signs all agreements for partnerships and cross-border activities. Deans and other representatives of IU academic programs or offices may also sign agreements as they deem appropriate.

Application for agreements

Applications are reviewed once per month from August to June by the Offshore Programs and International Affiliations Committee. To be placed on the committee's docket, you must complete and submit the appropriate online application by the established deadline for that month.

There are three application options:

  • Application for a new agreement
  • Application to renew an agreement
  • Simplified application for pre-approved and low-risk activities

IU faculty and staff should discuss the proposed agreement with their unit’s designated international administrator before starting the application. Applications for new and renewed agreements require that applicants upload a statement of support from the designated international administrator and a draft of the agreement(s) at the time of submission.

Agreements that include taking IU students abroad (e.g. exchange programs or study abroad programs) must be approved by both the Offshore Programs and International Affiliations Committee and the Overseas Study Advisory Committee (OSAC). A separate proposal must be submitted to the Office of Overseas Study for OSAC review and approval.

The simplified application may be completed for some low-risk activities that have been discussed directly with the international partnerships staff. Permission must be granted to file this application.

Review and approval process for agreements

After an application is submitted, the following review and approval process will be initiated:

  1. The international partnerships staff will review the application and all uploaded documents carefully. They will notify applicants if any revisions are necessary.
  2. The Provost at IUB, Associate Vice Chancellor at IUPUI, or Chancellor at a regional campus will review the application and notify the international partnerships staff if he or she approves it to move forward for committee review.
  3. The Offshore Programs and International Affiliations Committee and the Vice President for International Affairs (VPIA) will then review the application. The committee meets once each month (except July) to review applications.
  4. If the committee and VPIA approve, IU General Counsel will review the draft agreement. Applicants will be notified about any recommended changes to the agreement. Once the agreement terms are finalized, the international partnerships staff will secure the required signature(s).
  5. The agreement will be sent to the President for approval.
  6. The approved documents will be sent back to the applicant. The applicant is responsible for securing all remaining signatures.
  7. A scanned copy of the fully signed documents (including, if applicable, the version in the partner's language) should be sent electronically to partner@iu.edu. The applicant should keep the signed original copies on file in his or her unit.
  8. Agreements that include taking IU students abroad for any duration of time must submit a separate proposal to the Office of Overseas Study and receive approval from the Overseas Study Advisory Committee.

Inactive agreements

Agreements will be considered inactive if there are no activities by either institution for two or more years. A lack of activity for two or more years can affect the chances for a successful renewal. The Office of the Vice President for International Affairs reserves the right to remove inactive agreements from the registry.