Each of the export control regimes provides for university education to be conducted outside their control — but each takes a slightly different approach. 

The EAR provides that educational information released by instruction in catalog courses and associated teaching laboratories of academic institutions (except for certain encryption technology) is not subject to the EAR [EAR §734.3(b)(3)(iii) ].

  • This is broad and unambiguous (except encryption technology, which can be complicated) 

The ITAR provides that information concerning general scientific, mathematical or engineering principles commonly taught in schools, colleges and universities, is not included in the definition of technical data subject to the ITAR [§120.10(a)(5)].

  • The references to specific academic fields, use of “principles” rather than “information”, and inclusion of undefined terms such as “general” and “commonly taught” makes the ITAR definition potentially narrower and more subject to differing interpretations than the EAR definition.

The Department of Energy Assistance to Foreign Atomic Energy Activities regulations consider information available in public libraries, public reading rooms, public document rooms, public archives, or public data banks, or in university courses to be public information not subject to its controls [10 CFR 810.3]. 

Education in the US is generally not affected by the Treasury Department's Office of Financial Assets Controls (OFAC) sanctions programs, although online education is. However, the State Department is required to deny a visa to citizens of Iran seeking to study in preparation for a career in the Iran energy sector, or in nuclear science or engineering in Iran, and the Department of Homeland Security is required to deny them entry. [Pub.L. 112-158, Section 501].

The practical effect is that most university courses are clearly excluded from export controls, enabling participation by international students and faculty. To be sure that a course dealing with advanced or sensitive technology qualifies for educational exclusion, first determine which export control regime has jurisdiction over the course’s technology, and then apply the criteria for that regime.

If you have any questions, please contact Janet Johnston, Export Control Officer, Office of Sponsored Programs, at 253-2762 or via e-mail at, or stop by NE18-901.