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International Students

Northwestern University requires all degree-seeking international students – students holding a J-1 or F-1 U.S. visa – to confirm their annual Northwestern University Student Health Insurance Plan (NU-SHIP) enrollment, and maintain coverage in the NU-SHIP, for the entire time they are studying at Northwestern. We strongly advise against students seeking and purchasing an alternate plan as exceptions to this policy will not be granted.

The NU-SHIP mandatory enrollment policy was enacted due to international students obtaining insurance plans that do not provide comprehensive coverage (i.e. travel plans, catastrophic plans, short-term plans, etc.) leaving the students and the university with significant financial burden. Furthermore, most insurance plans do not include the required coverage which is directly tied to the student’s visa compliance per the U.S. Department of State insurance requirements. Consequently, the NU-SHIP Policy Committee which includes cross-campus leadership from the Dean of Students Office, the Office of Student Affairs, the Office of International Student & Scholar Services, and the Office of Risk Management & Compliance agreed upon and mandated the aforementioned policy along with formal approval from the Office of the Provost and the Office of the President.

Annually, the Student Health Insurance Policy Committee reviews health insurance requirements for Northwestern students. Northwestern currently requires international students to be covered on the Northwestern Student Health Insurance Plan, and that requirement is in place for the 2023-24 academic year.

International students are strongly encouraged to confirm their NU-SHIP enrollment as soon as possible in the open enrollment period – July 1 through Oct. 1 (for most students) – to ensure they have access to plan benefits and services as soon as the plan year begins on Sept. 1.