International Education

Academic Affairs Division

International Partnerships

International partnerships with higher education institutions, organizations and governments around the world connect the University System of Georgia with academic, cultural and professional development opportunities. The USG International Education office assists institutions in the development and expansion of International Partnerships.


How to evaluate an international partner institution:

  1. What are the strong academic departments at the institution? How do these match with yours?
  2. What are the rankings of the department(s)/institution? How do these match with yours?
  3. Is the institution accredited? By what body?

If you are evaluating a partnership involving students (e.g. exchange agreements), please consider:

  • Calendar: What is the structure of the academic calendar? i.e. terms, semesters? What is the frequency of regular class meetings? And for how long? Are there regularly scheduled tutorials?
  • Selection: What freedom is there for students to take courses across departments? What is the typical class size or the range of class size?
  • Support: Pre-arrival help and guidance? Medical assistance? Provisions for students with disabilities? Student life? Do faculty generally keep office hours?
  • Assessment: Is there continuous assessment or one final assessment? What are the testing/assessment procedures, especially for term 1 students? Do they provide a grade equivalency chart?
  • Housing: Does the institution have Residence Halls? Proximity to campus?


ACE (American Council on Education) and CIGE (Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement) released a document: “International Higher Education Partnerships:A Global Review of Standards and Practices in 2015. This document covers the following themes:

Program Administration and Management

  • Transparency and Accountability
  • Faculty and Staff Engagement
  • Quality Assurance
  • Strategic Planning and the Role of Institutional Leadership

Cultural and Contextual Issues

  • Cultural Awareness
  • Access and Equity
  • Institutional and Human Capacity Building
  • Ethical Dilemmas and “Negotiated Space”


  1. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) = An MOU declares an intent to explore opportunities to collaborate in areas that would be beneficial to each institution. MOUs may lead to more specific activities and goals, which could then be expressed in the form of an MOA.
  2. Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) = A MOA is an agreement which outlines for specific activities, resources, outcomes, obligations by each partner. An MOA contains specific financial obligations and is a legally binding document.

Note: Agreements should be re-negotiated (if needed) and re-signed every three years to remain active. These agreements should spell out tuition, fees to be paid or waived, housing expectations, insurance and admission requirements.


Here are some example template documents in which USG institutions may use to get started:

For further examples, ACE (American Council on Education) has published the fourth edition of International Partnerships: Guidelines for Colleges and Universities most recently in 2008. Notably, the publication’s appendices contain many useful samples of institutional documents as well as lists of resources available to institutions as they endeavor to establish these links. They have been provided online for complete and wide-spread access.


  • All documentation requires the use of the following wording: “Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, by and on behalf of the XXXXX (insert USG school name here)”
  • All USG institutions should have a signed and active (not expired!) exchange agreement in place prior to exchanging students.
  • All MOUs and MOAs should be shared with institutional legal affairs. Institutions without legal affairs offices should send copies to:

Office of Legal Affairs
c/o Steffanie Morrison
270 Washington Street, S.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Tel.: 404-962-3255