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Guidelines for Dependents/Companions/Guests

University Guidelines for Dependents/Companions/Guests on University-Sponsored International Travel

Santa Clara University provides the following guidance for all University-sponsored international travel.

On-site SCU Faculty/Staff Program Leader Responsibilities

The primary duty of an SCU faculty/staff program leader is to appropriately manage the education abroad program. This includes assuming responsibility throughout the education abroad experience for both program quality and for the health and safety of all participants. Specific responsibilities might include: organizing coursework and related activities; accommodations; travel arrangements; identifying and mitigating risks; and responding to emergencies. An on-site program leader must be available to provide emergency support to participants on a 24/7 basis.

Because an on-site program leader has primary responsibility to the quality, safety and success of the program, the University strongly discourages SCU on-site program leaders from bringing dependents or companions, i.e., those who are not full participants on an education abroad program. A feasible alternative is to travel with the dependent or companion before or after the program.

Equity and Access

As a Jesuit University focused on social justice, Santa Clara University is fully committed to equity and access in its education abroad programs. Allowing non-paying participants to access educational programs for which students or participants have paid raises serious ethical concerns around equity and access. Therefore, the University maintains the practice of not giving away academic credit and educational experiences to non-students/non-participants when other students/participants have paid for that experience. In addition, this practice supports the expectation that all who are engaged in the teaching and learning process are totally focused upon the class, the students/participants and the events at hand while significantly decreasing liability to the University.

Normally, in keeping with the University’s auditing and guest policy, non-tuition paying participants are not allowed to take part in programs abroad. However, with special prior approval from the Global Engagement Office dependents/companions may be able to join the program for cultural excursions and lectures outside of class time.

Dependents/Companions of SCU Faculty/Staff On-site Program Leaders

A Dependent is defined as a spouse/partner or an approved minor accompanying an on-site leader or other on-site faculty/staff member. A Companion is any other adult accompanying the program leader on the education abroad program. 

Student/Participant Companions

Anyone who wants to stay in the housing, attend classes, and/or participate in program activities must fully enroll in the program. Students/Participants cannot bring friends or family members on the program who are not fully enrolled in the program.

Disabilities and Companions Abroad

Students will, in consultation with Disability Services, Student Affairs and the Global Engagement Office, be approved to travel with a disability companion or personal assistant. See also Diversity and Identity Abroad – Ability

About Accompanying Dependents and Companions

Santa Clara University recognizes that, despite the above discouragement, sometimes an on-site program leader may have compelling reasons for a dependent or companion to accompany them on an education abroad experience.

The presence of a dependent or companion must not disrupt or alter the education abroad experience. To ensure the academic integrity of the program, as well as the health and safety of all participants, accompanying dependents and companions are expected to abide by all program policies and any additional conditions imposed by the sponsoring department, College/School or by SCU leadership. The on-site program leader should carefully review the following when considering dependent or companion travel: 

  • Age and health of all concerned
  • Location and structure of the program
  • Availability of accommodations and transportation for the dependent/companion
  • Extent of travel activity involved during the program
  • The potential impact the presence of the dependent/companion may have on the program

Dependents and companions are not considered participants of the program. A dependent or companion will have no responsibilities on behalf of the University, e.g., monitoring tests, managing program finances, arranging logistics, teaching, grading, etc. Companions cannot, in any way, impair the operations and administration of group activities associated with the program or otherwise infringe on other program participants. The University does not assume any liability for dependents or companions. On-site program coordinators are responsible for the conduct of their dependents and companions. Dependents and companions are responsible for all costs incurred. See detailed responsibilities below.

Expectations for Accompanying Dependent/Companion over the age of 18

Accompanying spouses or other qualifying adults and/or companions as defined, above, are not considered to be either program staff or participants. They do not represent the University and could pose significant risk to the university. They should not assume a role to lead the group, make decisions, rent and/or drive a vehicle to transport students or to represent the University in any capacity. Companion/Dependent Requests must be submitted by Faculty/Staff Program Coordinators along with the University International Travel Proposal to the Travel Policy Advisory Committee. All approved Companions/Dependents are required to sign the University waiver. 

Additional Responsibilities for the SCU Faculty/Staff On-Site Program Leader

In all cases, on-site program leaders are responsible for the conduct of accompanying dependents and companions.


Santa Clara University cannot financially support the participation of dependents or companions in any way. Expenses for dependents and companions must remain separate and may not be included in the overall program budget. Companions and dependents cannot be part of any reimbursement request of invoice that is submitted to the University.


Dependents and companions are responsible for all their own expenses including but not limited to: passports, visas, immunizations, transportation, meals, lodging, tickets for entrances to events or activities, and incidentals. Dependents/companions may share the program leader’s accommodation provided this does not result in an increase in costs charged to program expenses. Additional rooms and per person costs associated with accommodation are the responsibility of the Program Leader. 

Dependent/Companion travelers may wish to purchase liability insurance, auto insurance and independent travel abroad health insurance. 

Emergency Medical and Evacuation Insurance

An approved accompanying dependent or companion of an SCU program leader approved through the regular process may be covered by the travel assistance program that includes supplemental medical accident coverage and emergency evacuation assistance. 

Travel Abroad Health Insurance

Dependents and companions must maintain personal health insurance valid for service abroad and submit proof of insurance coverage to the Program Coordinator. The University’s general liability insurance is supplemental only.

Auto Insurance

Dependents/Companions may not drive on behalf of the University. Dependents/Companions who wish to drive while they are overseas should insure that they have made arrangements to have the necessary driver’s license valid in the country abroad and purchase appropriate auto insurance.

Administrative Support

The primary responsibility of the SCU sponsoring department and/or education abroad program is to advise and support students participating on its programs and participate in coordination for the program leader. Additional arrangements to accommodate Program Leaders’ Dependent and Companions may not be possible. If the participation of a dependent or companion results in the on-site program leader needed additional arrangements to accommodate them, the on-site program leader may need to book their own housing if the program housing will not meet family needs, for example.

Communication to students/participants about approved accompanying dependent/companion

This information must be made transparent for all those involved in the program, especially students, so there is no misunderstanding that student/participant program fees are subsidizing non-participants.

Process for Requesting an Accompanying Dependent/Companion

The on-site coordinator should complete the Dependent/Companion Request and submit to the Faculty/Staff Program Coordinator so that they may include with the University International Travel Proposal sent to the Travel Policy Advisory Committee. Requests should include consultation and approval of:

  • SCU Faculty/Staff Program Coordinator, if different from on-site program leader
  • Dean
  • Director of Risk Management

The Dean, SCU Faculty/Staff Program Coordinator, Associate Provost for International Programs, Director of Risk Management and other university leadership may require limits or conditions on the presence, roles and activities of accompanying dependents/companions. In some cases, accompanying dependents/companions may not be permitted to participate in some, or all, activities associated with the education abroad experience.

Last updated by the Travel Policy Advisory Committee 4/4/16.