Academic & Cultural Sharing Scholarship

What is the Academic & Cultural Sharing Scholarship?

  • St. Cloud State University’s Academic and Cultural Sharing Scholarship (ACSS) will offer the resident tuition rate to international students who meet and maintain eligibility requirements.  The goal of this scholarship is to promote cross-cultural interaction and understanding between international students and members of SCSU and the St. Cloud community through active participation/volunteering in cultural activities.  Most ACSS qualifying activities require the student to volunteer at a cultural event rather than just attend, i.e. presenting at Cultural Café, volunteering as an International Peer Advisor, etc.  A list of acceptable activities can be found below.  Students with questions regarding any aspect of ACSS, including qualifying activities, should address inquiries with an international student advisor at International Student & Scholar Services – Lawrence Hall, Room 101.

Eligibility Requirements


To qualify for the scholarship, the following criteria have to be met.

  • Check-in with the Center for International Studies upon arrival into the U.S.
  • Attend all of the mandatory International Student Orientation.
    • The scholarship will be awarded upon successful completion of the International Student Orientation.
    • Failure to attend orientation will result in not receiving the ACSS for the first semester.
    • You will be eligible for the ACSS for the following semester if you meet the requirements listed below.
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5 for undergraduate students and 3.0 for graduate students.
    • The scholarship cannot be applied to the Intensive English Center students, on-line courses, MBA students, MEM students, doctoral level students, or any graduate students attending a program in the Maple Grove location..
  • Complete two (2) cultural sharing activities every semester and submit the online Cultural Activities Form by April 15 (to be eligible for the summer and fall scholarship) and December 1 (to be eligible for the spring scholarship).
  • Maintain active F-1/J-1 status. Students with a pending reinstatement or change of status application to F-1/J-1 status are not eligible for the ACSS until the application has been adjudicated by U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • Students who change their status from an ACSS eligible category (F-1 or J-1) to an ineligible category (Permanent Resident, H-1B, etc.) will not qualify nor receive the ACS Scholarship for the following semester after the Change of Status has occurred.

Acceptable Activities (Cultural Activities Form)

  • "Human Trafficking, Its Time to Help!"
  • Admissions Events (Discover Red & Black, Admitted Student Days)
  • Annual AIC Pow-Wow
  • Approved CPT (Curricular Practical Training)
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • CARE Focus Group
  • Career Fair
  • CIS event request
  • Cultural Cafe
  • Cultural Night
  • Cultural Presentation to Classroom/Community Group
  • Dance Around the World
  • Department of Campus Involvement (UPB, Civic Engagement, Campus Programs, Spirit Groups)
  • Earth Day Run Volunteers
  • GA/TA (Awarded through Grad Studies)
  • Global Living Community - Coborn Plaza
  • Global Living Community - Lawrence Hall
  • Global Social Responsibility Conference (board members/event volunteers)
  • Half-time Graduate Assistantship
  • Hands Across the World Volunteer
  • Husky Hauler (all student move-in day)
  • IEC event request
  • International Cuisine in Atwood
  • International Culture Camp through St. Cloud Area School District 742 Community Education
  • International Education Week Event Volunteer
  • International Friendship Program (through CIS)
  • International Peer Advisor (IPA)
  • International Spring Festival
  • Language Tutoring (Through Foreign Languages or Student Organizations)
  • LEAD Conference Volunteer
  • Lemonade Concert and Art Fair
  • Lindgren Child Care Center Volunteer
  • Mainstreet/Sidestreet
  • Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk/SCSU Homecoming 5K race
  • Math Contest Proctor at SCSU
  • New Year's Eve Family Fun Fest at SCSU
  • On-campus employment
  • Passport to the World
  • Power in Diversity Leadership Conference
  • Research/Interview Participant at SCSU (pre-approved by CIS)
  • Residence Hall events volunteer
  • Science Fair Judges - Grether Central MN
  • SCSU Band, Choir or Orchestra member
  • Student Organization Position - Appointed or Elected
  • Thanksgiving Day Program (through CIS)
  • University-wide committee member
  • UPB event volunteer
  • Volunteer for the School of Graduate Studies' Orientation


Exempt from Activities


Students who meet the following criteria are exempted from the cultural sharing activities.

  • Graduate students awarded Graduate/Teaching Assistantships are exempt from the first semester of activities.  They will continue to be exempt from ACSS activities each semester, provided they will be serving as a GA/TA in the semester which the ACS Scholarship is applied. (Note:  students earn the ACS Scholarship the semester prior to receiving the benefits (i.e. cultural activities accomplished in the spring go toward the requirements for the fall semester).  Students whose GA/TA is not guaranteed in the upcoming semester are advised to complete two cultural activities.
  • Part-time graduate students awarded Graduate/Teaching Assistantships are required to still do 1 cultural activity.
  • International students approved for CPT.
  • International students participating in the St Cloud State University Athletic Program (excluding intramural or club sport activities – these students are still required to perform and submit ACSS Activities).
  • International students participating in a fall or spring semester-long Education Abroad program.
  • Exchange students who do not have a tuition reciprocity agreement with their home institution.
  • International students who are on a Medical Reduced Course Load (RCL).
  • International students living on the GLC II floor at Coborn Plaza or Living at Lawrence Hall.  Living arrangements for these facilities require the student to engage in multiple cultural activities. (Note: students who do not live in these locations but participate in the cultural activities provided by the Living Communities will be able to submit their activities to meet their requirement for ACSS).

ACSS is not Applicable for


  • J-1 Scholars
  • Exchange students who have a tuition reciprocity agreement with their home institution
  • Anyone on a dependent Visa
  • Permanent Residents
  • U.S. Citizens
  • H Visa Categories
  • Any nonimmigrant Visa category where study is not permitted
  • Undocumented immigrants or international students who are no longer in active status



All appeals are due on the first Friday of class for the following semester.  All appeals should be submitted online through the CIS website. Any appeal submitted after the deadline will not be accepted and will be reviewed for the next available semester.


How do I appeal if I lose the scholarship?


  • Students who lose the scholarship due to their cumulative GPA may file for an appeal one time. The ACSS Appeal Form is available online and must be submitted by June 1 for Summer and Fall semesters, or the first Friday of classes for the Fall or Spring semester.
  • The Center for International Studies will monitor your completion of cultural sharing activities. If there is any falsification of information provided on behalf of the student, there will be no option to appeal the loss of your scholarship and the student will be referred to Student Life and Development as this is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct. Student may file an appeal for the loss of of activities using the online form.


Appeals Decision

After the Appeals Committee makes their decisions, students will be emailed with the appeals decisions. Any denied appeals will be discussed with the Director, ISSS and the Associate Vice President, International Affairs for a final decision before students are notified of the decision.  

Appeals Timeline

  • All appeals are due on the first Friday following the first day of the next semester. 
  • The appeal committee will meet on the following Wednesday.
  • On Thursday, the Assistant Director and Director of ISSS and the Associate Vice President, International Affairs, will meet to make a final decision on appeals. 
  • On Friday, the students will be notified of the appeal decision.

Resources and Advice for Students Having Difficulty Maintaining Eligibility


  • Retake courses to increase GPA
  • If I/IP grades, students should submit a written plan signed by the student and their professor indicating when the course will be completed
  • Provide documentation for medical/death extenuating circumstances
  • Pay financial balance in order to register (payment plan, safe payment of $300, etc.)
  • If medical, consider a reduced course load
  • Think about major/course selection and discuss course selection with advisor
  • Read CIS emails and ask questions if unsure about the ACSS requirements
  • Take classes at SCSU during the Summer to increase  CGPA in order to receive the ACSS in the future
  • Resources available on campus:
    • Academic Learning Center, Write Place, Math Skills Center, Advising Center, Academic Department
    • Counseling Center and Health Services
    • Career Services – interest inventory
    • Business Services
    • Tutoring
    • CIS (Immigration status)

Verification of Activities

  • If you are supervising an event that qualifies for the ACSS, you will be asked to verify students’ participation. The Verification of Cultural Activities page offers suggestions and guidelines to promote a simplified and fair process.


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