Vanderbilt Travel Risk Assessment Committee

The Vanderbilt Travel Risk Assessment Committee (VTRAC) is responsible for authorizing university-sponsored academic or service opportunities involving travel to high risk locations where there is a significant health or safety concern.

A designation of high risk travel will be given to locations which currently have a Reconsider Travel (Level 3) or Do Not Travel (Level 4) advisory rating from the U.S. Department of State and/or Reconsider Nonessential Travel (CDC Alert Level 3) or Avoid All Travel (CDC Warning Level 4) travel health notice levels. This may be a country-wide advisory or a region-specific advisory if the proposed travel falls within that region. A high risk designation may also be given to countries or regions with a rating of a 3, 4 or 5 (on a scale of 1-5) by Vanderbilt’s travel security provider. Additionally, the University may apply the designation of high risk to locations that pose a specific health, safety, or security concern as indicated by CDC, the World Health Organization, insurers, third party travel security providers, foreign government guidance, in consultation with Vanderbilt’s Director of Global Safety and Security.

VTRAC is also responsible for deciding whether to suspend an educational opportunity away from campus when health or safety concerns emerge shortly before a program begins or while it is in progress. The Committee is expected to balance the educational and/or research merits of the travel opportunity with its associated risk, with an emphasis on risk mitigation.

Do I need to apply for authorization?

  • Are you going to a location currently under a State Department Travel Advisory level 3 or 4?
  • Are you going to a location currently under a CDC Travel Health Notice level 3 or 4?
  • Has your advisor or department informed you that a VTRAC request is required?
  • Have you contacted the Office of Global Safety to inquire about VU’s international security provider risk ratings (level 3, 4, or 5 is high-risk)?

If you answer “yes” to one or more of these questions, please proceed with submitting a request under one of the two pathways below:

Faculty and Staff: How to submit an International Travel Request

Faculty and staff should complete the request form below. It is recommended that faculty and staff members receive departmental approval prior to submitting the form. All individuals must submit their own forms as the VTRAC risk assessment process is tailored to the needs of the specific traveler. Request forms should be submitted no later than 30 days prior to travel.

A request may be saved as a draft then returned to later by logging into the Kuali dashboard and selecting "My documents."

Students: How to request an International Travel Exception

Students (undergraduate, graduate, or professional as well as faculty/staff leading a group of students) who wish to travel to a high risk location must submit a “Request for Exception to Travel” to the Vanderbilt Travel Risk Assessment Committee for review.

Submit one of the request forms below based on your situation.

  • Request forms can be found here: individual student, HOD Capstone, or student group.
    • Forms should be completed as soon as possible, and no later than 60 days prior to travel.
    • A request may be saved as a draft then returned to later by logging into the Kuali dashboard and selecting "My documents."
    • Student Groups will need to submit a complete list off all students partcipating in the trip.
  • VTRAC Travel Registration
    • All students traveling to a country that does not require formal VTRAC approval are highly encouraged to register their travel with VTRAC.
    • A travel registration form may be saved as a draft then returned to later by logging into the Kuali dashboard and selecting "My documents."
  • VTRAC may determine that a high risk travel destination does not require a “Request for Exception to Travel” if that destination has recently been reviewed by VTRAC and there have been no major changes in safety or security since the approval. VTRAC may reinstate the requirements for a “Request for Exception to Travel” at any time.
  • Please note that a letter of recommendation may come from a faculty or staff advisor, a program contact, or a mentor in the field appropriate to the project. Contact VTRAC if you have any questions about who should provide this letter.

Approved Requests for Exception

  • If travel is approved, the student or group will continue to receive support from the University, including financial aid, course credit, or other assistance, as applicable.
  • VTRAC reserves the right to place conditions on approval (i.e. prohibit certain aspects of the proposed itinerary or require additional safety or security measures).
  • Vanderbilt reserves the right to suspend or cancel travel at any time, should VTRAC determine that the situation in a country/destination deteriorates to a level that is no longer acceptable. In such cases, the applicant understands that the university is not responsible for reimbursement for expenses related to withdrawal.
  • Complete action items listed in the Safety and Security Checklist.

Denied Requests for Exception

  • If a request for exception is denied by VTRAC, university support for travel will be withdrawn, including course credit, financial aid, Vanderbilt international health insurance, and logistical support.
  • Student organizations may not make use of funding from Student Services Fees, tax-receipted donations, or fundraising events held or disbursed in their organization’s agency fund to support travel that has been denied after a review of a request for exception.
  • If the applicant moves forward with travel, he or she does so with the understanding that the travel is in no way supported or sponsored by Vanderbilt University.
  • The use of Vanderbilt University logos, websites, or other use of the Vanderbilt name associated with the proposed travel will be prohibited.

VTRAC Committee Membership

Director of Global Safety and Security   
Associate Provost and Dean of Students G.L.Black
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education TiffinyTung
VUPD RickyBurr
Chief Compliance Officer PaulLiebman
Director of Risk and Insurance Management (informational) MyaBatton
General Counsel RubyShellaway
School of Nursing Representative CarolZiegler
Vice Chancellor for Communications SteveErtel
Travel Program Manager (informational) SabrinaKronk
VUPD (informational) AugustWashington
Internal Audit Liason and Director of Enterprise Risk Management (informational) KelseyBahadursingh

Criteria for Suspension or Cancellation of Educational Programs

The Committee is also responsible for deciding whether to suspend an education opportunity away from campus when health or safety concerns emerge shortly before a program starts or while it is in progress. Suspension or cancellation of a program will be considered should one or more of the following events occur:

  • Declaration of war between the US against the host country or an adjacent neighbor
  • Declaration of war involving a third country and the country of the program’s location
  • Protracted or indefinite closure of the university where the program is located
  • Inability of the local staff to organize and carry out an academic program outside of the university
  • Disruption of public utilities and/or services
  • Declaration of martial law in the program city or country
  • Significant terrorist activity in the program city or country
  • Wide-spread civil unrest, violence, criminal activity and/or rioting
  • Recommendation for suspension/cancellation by the institution program staff in the host country
  • Specific directive by the US State Department and/or US Embassy
  • Recommended evacuation by local officials
  • Widespread disease or epidemic that is uncontrolled
  • Severe weather advisory such as hurricane warnings

The decision to suspend or cancel will be based on information from:

  • The program staff in the host country
  • University officials at the overseas partner university
  • US Embassy officials in the host country
  • Vanderbilt’s international security provider and international medical insurance provider
  • Other officials from US agencies and/or NGOs, as well as the appropriate US State Department Country Desk Officer(s)

In the case of students studying with a partner organization, Vanderbilt University will generally follow our partner’s procedures, but reserves the right to make an independent decision.