The National Student Exchange was founded in 1968 and currently has 165 participating campuses across 49 US states, seven Canadian provinces, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
Between 1,800 and 2,000 students take part in the scheme annually.
“Students are encouraged to exchange to… a region that is culturally different to their home”
The most popular destinations in the 2018/19 academic year included universities in Hawaii, California and Florida.
“Students are encouraged to exchange to a more diverse campus or a region that is culturally different than their home campus or region,” David Holliday, vice president of the National Student Exchange, told The PIE News.
“Exchanging from New Jersey to Hawaii, Minnesota to Alabama, or Alaska to New Orleans can be as culturally different as a US student going to England or Australia. Plus students can pursue language immersion in Puerto Rico and Quebec, Canada.”
He added that students can even ‘test out’ another city or state they are considering moving to after graduation.
The program is also open to international students and students who cannot go abroad, such as those under the DACA program.
MSU welcomed six exchange students in August from universities in Hawaii, Indiana, Tennessee and Utah, two of whom were international students from France and Switzerland.
The university will send out the first cohort of its own students in Spring 2020.
According to the Institute of International Education, around one in ten students in the US study abroad as part of exchange programs while undergraduates.
In the 2016/17 academic year, 332,727 Americans went abroad for short-term programs while getting credits from their home institutions, up 2.3% compared to the previous year.