National Student Exchange

National Student Exchange is an opportunity for students to live and study at a university in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico or other U.S. Territories. NSE is a perfect fit for Western students who want to participate in an exchange program and challenge themselves to experience life from a different point of view, while still taking advantage of paying in-state tuition.

Rather than crossing oceans and continents, thinking globally begins for NSE students by crossing state, regional, and cultural borders to experience new places, people and opportunities. Visit the National Student Exchange website to further explore the options available to you.

Outgoing Students

Outgoing NSE students are students who are currently attending Western and exchanging to another university. 

1.  Meet with academic advisor 

  • Discuss possible exchange sites and course selection with your academic advisor. Exchanging to another school requires careful planning; you're responsible for picking out classes with your academic advisor and determine how the credit will transfer back to Western.
  • Plan ahead for the semester of your return. 

2. Complete NSE Application, submit two references and $250 fee.

  • Meet with Western's Study Away Coordinator to get the application. 
  • Review NSE guidelines, eligibility, rules and conditions at Your exchange isn't guaranteed, so it's wise to list several schools on your application.
  • Understand the difference between Plan A (Host Payment) and Plan B (Home Payment) and how financial aid works on both plans.
  • Pay your $250 non-refundable fee

3. Financial Aid

  • List all FAFSA codes of the schools you're applying to on your financial aid application—in addition to Western. If you're accepted on Plan A (Host Payment), your aid will be awarded and disbursed from the host institution. If you're accepted on Plan B (Home Payment), your aid will be awarded and disbursed from Western. 
  • Review your financial aid carefully; each student's plan is entirely individual and unique.

Incoming Students

Incoming NSE students are students who are enrolling at Western for an exchange. 

When do I find out if I got in?

Students who will be coming to Western on an exchange will be notified of their acceptance by their home NSE Coordinator after the annual March conference. If you're applying after the March conference, Western still accepts students to come on Plan A with limited availability on Plan B.

What do I do once I'm accepted? 

  • Once accepted, you'll be contacted by your home NSE Coordinator. You'll need to complete the Placement Acceptance Form (PAF) and Conditions of Placement Form to accept the terms and conditions of your exchange and submit it to your home NSE Coordinator. Your home coordinator will send those forms to Western's NSE Coordinator. 
  • We'll process you as an incoming NSE student after receiving your forms. You'll receive an email from Western's NSE Coordinator detailing everything you need to do in preparation for arrival at Western. All incoming NSE students are required to pay an $100 processing fee, payable here
  • You'll then receive information about how to register for classes. Registration will begin in April for the fall semester and in November for the spring semester. You must send an official transcript from your home institution to:
Western Colorado University
NSE Coordinator, Mikay Elliott
1 Western Way  - Taylor Hall 302D
Gunnison, CO 81231
  • You can begin looking through course schedules as soon as they come online. Call 970.943.7056 to schedule a phone registration appointment with Western's NSE Coordinator. As an incoming NSE student, you're responsible for speaking with your home academic advisor to select classes and determine how credits earned will transfer back to your home institution. You must meet all of Western's prerequisites to take courses. Once you're registered for classes, you will be required to register and pay for orientation.

What are my housing options?

All incoming NSE students must live on campus. Learn more about Residence Life at Western

Does Western have an RA exchange program?

Yes. Incoming NSE students may apply to be an RA. RA's must exchange for a full year and will only be accepted on Plan A.

Can I participate in an internship at Western as an incoming student?

Western can't facilitate internships for college credit for non-Western students. Your home institution's advisor must create the learning objectives, outcomes and requirements for credit and approval the transferring of credit. Tuition for credited internships must be paid for to the home institution regardless of the Plan A or B exchange and these credits will not count towards the 12 required credits for full-time enrollment.

How do I get to Gunnison?

There are several airports that you can fly into:

​*Western doesn't provide reception or departure transportation for NSE students.