The Office of International Programs (OIP) develops and administers institutional partnerships with prestigious universities around the world in support of its mission to promote internationalization and diversity at AUB. OIP manages agreements with universities for student and faculty mobility and welcomes inquiries both from potential partner universities as well as from AUB faculty regarding new partnerships.
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
At many universities, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) is a necessary first document before a specific contract or exchange agreement can be drawn up or signed. The MOU officially documents the fact that two or more institutions have agreed, at the most senior levels, to having common educational purposes which can be met by joining forces; thus it needs to be signed by the provost or president of each participating university.
The MOU is usually a simple, short, legal document, sketching out, in bullet point fashion, the areas of endeavor in which two institutions plan to discuss specific collaborations. It does not bind the institutions to a specific project, nor does it authorize such activity without a further signed agreement.
Student Exchange Agreement
A student exchange agreement is typically signed after an MOU is in force between two universities, and commits each university to sending a specific number of students (often 2-4) per semester or year for a specified and finite number of years; with each student paying the normal tuition fees at their home university in order to cover the tuition costs of the visiting student from the partner university.
Because of the tuition-reciprocity requirement of such a partnership, most universities choose to enter into an exchange agreement only when there is a strong likelihood that their students will have a high level of interest in going to the partner university's destination, and when courses relevant to their students' degree requirements are offered by the partner university in a language in which students demonstrate proficiency.
Affiliation or Direct-Enrollment Agreement
An affiliation agreement is a signed understanding between two offices of international programs that university A (in this case, AUB) will review study abroad applications from university B and provide certain services to accepted study abroad or visiting students from that university. It does not require AUB to commit to sending an equal number of students to the partner university, and it also does not require approval of the dean or provost. Neither does it require a pre-existing MOU.
In North America, this is a specialized term used for an agreement between two financial aid offices to ensure that the student does not receive US federal funding from two sources. If a North American university or one of their students asks for a consortium agreement or a financial aid agreement, it is usually best to refer the request to Associate Director of Financial Aid, Ms. Hanaa Kobeisi.