Pre-departure Information For Parents

VMI Policies 

  • Cadets must have at least a 2.5 CUM GPA in order to study abroad during a semester.  (This does not apply to summer or short-term programs.) 
  • Cadets may study abroad only one semester during their cadetship.  (Summer programs do not count.) 
  • Cadets cannot be on ACPRO or CONPRO to be approved for study abroad.
  • VMI does not authorize study abroad or visits to countries that are under a State Department warning. The current warning list at

Financial Concerns 

The average cost of a semester abroad is $12,000 and varies significantly by location.  There are a number of ways to help offset these costs:

  • Military Exchanges - VMI has direct exchanges with St. Cyr, the French Military Academy; the Bundeswehr University in Hamburg, Germany; L'Ecole Polytechnique; the Military Academy of Lithuania; Zrinyi Miklos National Defense University in Hungary; and Salford University in the United Kingdom.  When cadets participate in one of these programs, they pay approximately what they would pay to attend VMI, plus airfare.

  • Scholarships - VMI has a number of scholarships available.  Check our scholarship web page for detailed information.  Additionally, all cadets studying through third party providers are strongly encouraged to apply for a scholarship from the provider.  A large percentage of applicants receive awards.

  • Spending money - Before your son or daughter leaves the United States, discuss with them how they are going to access money.  In most cases, an ATM or credit card is the most efficient way to get funds in the local currency at the best rate.  It is important that cadets ask their banks in advance what fees there are for overseas transactions and if those can be waived while abroad.  Also notify the bank before going overseas to prevent ATM or credit card accounts from being "frozen."


  • Health Insurance - All cadets studying abroad must certify that their health insurance will cover them while abroad or purchase a student policy that will provide coverage.  Our office has information about several providers of study abroad health insurance.

  • The Center for Disease Control website has country specific health information.


Discuss in advance how you plan to communicate with your son or daughter while he or she is abroad.  Also discuss when and how often you expect to hear from them.  While most cadets have access to internet service while they are abroad, it may not be available immediately upon arrival in the host country.  An international calling card or an international cell phone may be easier.  There are also internet phone options that are very inexpensive.

Checklist for action by you and/or your cadet: 

  1. Apply for passport or passport renewal well in advance.  Passports can take 6-8 weeks to process.
  2. Check with the consulate of the host country and be aware of visa requirements.
  3. Make flight arrangements as soon as your cadet has been accepted and has the dates of the program.
  4. Be sure that at least one parent holds a valid passport in case of emergency.
  5. Keep photocopies of your son or daughter's important documents and contact information, including Social Security card, passport, and foreign address.
  6. Be sure that your cadet has signed a Release of Information Form so that our office can give you information while he or she is abroad.
  7. Be prepared to deal with the culture shock and reverse culture shock that your son or daughter may face.
  8. Make sure that your cadet has completed all relevant financial aid paperwork.