Policies & Guidelines

Your guide to IU’s agreement policy and the application process

Agreements for partnerships and cross-border activities must follow university policy. IU faculty and staff seeking approval for international activities pursued under a formal agreement must submit an online application.

Partnerships versus offshore activities

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

Partnerships or affiliations

Partnerships or affiliations involve active collaboration on concrete, sustainable activities that are of mutual benefit to IU and the partner. A partnership agreement establishes formal ties between IU and a partner for purposes of collaboration.

Agreements for one-directional or nonreciprocal 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

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 noncredit 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

IU’s partnership priorities

IU focuses on partnerships with international institutions ranked at the highest levels nationally, regionally, or internationally. 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.

Agreements for international affiliations and offshore programs

Before proposing an agreement for an international affiliation or offshore program, IU faculty and staff should discuss with their unit’s designated international administrator. When you are ready to move forward with a proposal, you should complete one of the following applications:

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

Applications for new and renewed agreements require a statement of support from your designated international administrator and a draft of the agreement(s) at the time of submission.

Please note that 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.

Process for review and approval of proposed agreements

After an application is submitted, the review and approval process will begin:

  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 IU Bloomington, associate vice chancellor at IU Indianapolis, or chancellor at a regional campus will review the application and notify the international partnerships staff if they approve it to move forward for committee review.
  3. IU Export Control will review the uploaded documents and notify the international partnerships staff if any issues are noted with the proposed activities.
  4. The Offshore Programs and International Affiliations Committee and the vice president for international affairs will then review the application. The applicant will be notified of the decision of the committee within one week of the committee's meeting.
  5. If the committee and VPIA approve without conditions, the proposal will be sent to the president for approval. 
  6. IU General Counsel will then review the draft agreement. Applicants will be notified about any recommended changes to the agreement. Applicants should work with the partnering institution on any changes recommended by IU General Counsel. 
  7. Once the agreement terms are finalized, send the document to the international partnerships staff. The international partnerships staff will secure the required signature(s) of the university treasurer and vice president for international affairs.
  8. The approved documents will be sent back to the applicant. The applicant is responsible for securing all remaining signatures.
  9. 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 their unit.
  10. Agreements that include taking IU students abroad for any duration of time must be submitted via a separate proposal to the Office of Overseas Study and must receive approval from the Overseas Study Advisory Committee.

Compliance with export control

The Office of the Vice President for International Affairs and IU Export Control will do a Visual Compliance check with the U.S. Department of Commerce on all foreign entities and individuals that are mentioned in an agreement. If any entity or individual appears as a restricted party, the proposed activity may be subject to export control laws and regulations. When the partnering institution appears on the Bureau of Industry and Security's Unverified List (UVL), OVPIA and/or Export Control will notify you about specific actions to minimize IU's risks when engaging with that institution.

Required agreement components

When possible, IU faculty and staff are encouraged to use agreement templates as a starting point. If a partner or foreign entity prefers to use its template, IU faculty and staff should compare the provided template with the appropriate IU template to confirm that the required components listed here are included in the agreement:

  • The parties involved, including contact information for the faculty or staff responsible for communications and notices
  • The date when the agreement will go into affect (i.e., the 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

Required signatories on agreements

The president and university treasurer are authorized signatories on agreements for partnerships and cross-border activities. Office of the Vice President for International Affairs staff will secure the signature of either the president or the university treasurer once the agreement terms have been finalized and approved by IU 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 sign agreements as they deem appropriate.

Contract and grant activities

For contract and grant activities, signature authority resides with the associate vice president for research administration, including when the granting agency or subcontract agreement is with a foreign entity. Such activities require a separate online application to the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs only when they involve delivery of IU academic programs abroad (either onsite or via distance) or the establishment of an IU legal presence abroad.

Establishing an IU legal presence may involve any of the following:

  • Registration as a legal entity in the foreign country
  • Payment of taxes to a foreign government
  • Opening of project bank accounts abroad
  • Hiring of direct employees or independent contractors in the foreign country for a period greater than 90 days
  • Long-term lease or purchase of housing or a vehicle in the foreign country

Because of the significant risks that some projects may pose to IU, units that are interested in pursuing external funding for international projects should contact international partnerships staff before proceeding with a proposal.

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.