Frequently Asked Questions by International Students
- When do international students need to start the application process?
- Does the process for an international applicant take longer than a domestic applicant?
- Does Southwestern accept academic transcripts that are faxed?
- How will I know I am accepted?
- Does Southwestern accept financial documentation and applications that are faxed?
- When do new prices and forms for a new school year become available?
- When do students pay?
- How do students send money?
- Does Southwestern find sponsors for international students?
- Can foreign students work to pay off their bill?
- Is there federal or state financial aid or subsidy for international students?
- Does Southwestern have any student scholarships for international students?
- What is an I-20?
- What is the deadline to submit all requirements to get an I-20 issued from Southwestern?
- How long does it take for Southwestern to issue an I-20 after all requirements are submitted?
- Who is the person to issue Southwestern's I-20s?
- What do I do when I get the I-20?
- What do I do when I am issued a Student Visa by the U.S. Embassy?
- How does Southwestern report international student information to the U.S. government?
- How do I reserve a room in a dormitory?
- Can I come early to work during the summer?
- Can I come late after a session begins?
- Are there any special classes for international students at Southwestern?
- What is the orientation program?
- Do I have to have medical and automobile insurance?
- What is the closest church to Southwestern?
- What are the closest hospitals to Southwestern?
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When do international students need to start the application process?
Applications should be submitted at least four (4) months before the session starts. International students should not submit an application more than a year (12 months) before a session starts. Southwestern will give priority to applicants who submit their deposit and pre-payment. Southwestern will processes all other applications in the order in which they were received.
Does the process for an international applicant take longer than a domestic applicant?
Yes. It takes about five times as long to process an international applicant as it does a citizen or resident of the United States. It takes longer due to foreign transcript evaluations, money transactions, and extra paperwork.
Does Southwestern accept academic transcripts that are faxed?
Not for full acceptance. Academic documents can be faxed and Southwestern can issue a conditional acceptance pending the receipt of official documentation. Students who fax documents MUST bring official documents with them to give to Southwestern to complete their admissions file. They can then enroll with a full acceptance.
How will I know I am accepted?
The Admissions Office will notify applicants by letter regarding acceptance status after an application and transcripts have been received. Southwestern will issue an I-20 after an academic acceptance is granted and a Certificate of Finance with acceptable documentation, a Personal Data form, a deposit and the pre-payment have been received.
Does Southwestern accept financial documentation and applications that are faxed?
Yes. Don't spend money to send originals after faxing them. Bring original documents with you when you come to enroll. This does not apply to school transcripts and exam scores.
When do new prices and forms for a new school year become available?
Our governing board determines every March the price for our next school year. Forms are updated as soon as possible after the new prices are announced.
When do students pay?
A deposit and a pre-payment must be paid before an I-20 will be issued. The pre-payment covers half of the charges for the first semester. To cover the remainder of the semester charges, payments can be made during the semester by sponsors and by the student. Before the student can take final semester exams or enroll for the next term, the student's bill must be completely paid or financial arrangements made to finish paying the semester charges.
How do students send money?
Payments can be made by credit card (American Express, Discover, Master Card or Visa), check, money order, or bank wire. To make a payment by credit card we will need the name of the cardholder, the type of card, the card number, and its expiration date. To wire money, send to the Pinnacle Bank of Keene, ABA # 111903517, for credit to Southwestern Adventist University, account #330-000-3004. For all types of payment be sure to note the student's name and student's ID# (if known).
To pay with a credit card, you may call 817-645-3921 ext. 6299 with the following card information:
- Name of card holder
- Type of card
- Card number
- Expiration date
You may use the following information for a bank wire:
- Receiving Bank - Pinnacle Bank in Keene, Texas ABA# 111-90-3517, Southwestern Adventist University Account# 330-000-3004
- Further Credit - Student's name and ID#
Does Southwestern find sponsors for international students?
No, Southwestern Adventist University cannot find sponsors for foreign students. Each foreign student must find his or her own financial sponsors.
Can foreign students work to pay off their bill?
According to current U.S. immigration laws, international students with student visas may work on-campus provided the student is enrolled in a full course of study and is making progress toward the completion of a degree. On-campus employment is limited to a maximum of 20 hours per week when school is in session but may go up to 40 hours per week during school vacations. International students can earn up to $2,000 during the school year. International students in F1 status are required by law to secure permission before accepting any off-campus employment. Petitions to the U.S. government to work off campus may be made through Southwestern's International Student Office.
Is there federal or state financial aid or subsidy for international students?
No. Only citizens and permanent residents of the U.S. are eligible for federal and state financial aid. International students on F1 visas do not qualify for loans and grants as detailed in the financial section of the Southwestern Bulletin though campus employment is available. The student is expected to have sufficient funding (either sponsorship or personal funds) to cover tuition, food, lodging, books, fees, insurance, and personal expenses. International students are expected to meet required payments at registration and throughout the semester just as other students do.
Does Southwestern have any student scholarships for international students?
Yes. Scholarships do not, however, apply to students enrolled in the full ESL program because this is a discounted program. Students who enroll for regular courses or a combination of ESL and regular courses are eligible for scholarships. Southwestern does not award full tuition scholarships to any international students. Southwestern does offer small scholarships for freshmen students who qualify with high academics or by demonstrating leadership in their secondary schooling. Transfer students above the freshmen level may also qualify for an academic scholarship of $1,000. Scholarship awards are divided over two semesters. The registrar makes all academic scholarship determinations. The cost for one semester of the full ESL program is at least $6,500 while the cost of one semester of regular classes or a combination of ESL and regular classes is at least $8,750 (tuition, student fees, lodging, food, insurance, and personal expenses). Travel is extra and insurance and personal expenses may vary. So, Southwestern scholarships are in no way large enough to pay for all of a foreign student's expenses, even if combined with earnings from campus work.
What is an I-20?
It is a form issued by a U.S. school and is required by the United States government for all foreign students. It indicates an international applicant is accepted to that school and has provided financial proof of ability to fund his/her education while studying in the United States. It also indicates when the student plans to be studying at the school.
What is the deadline to submit all requirements to get an I-20 issued from Southwestern?
Final deadlines to submit required documents are July 1 for the Fall semester which begins in late August and November 1 for Spring semester which begins in early January. It is best to submit requirements before the deadlines. The deadlines allow Southwestern time to process files and issue I-20s and gives students enough time to go to a U.S. embassy and apply for a student visa to enter the United States. Southwestern will give priority to those who meet all financial and academic requirements for admission.
How long does it take for Southwestern to issue an I-20 after all requirements are submitted?
At least a week should be allowed for Southwestern to process and issue an I-20. Please allow time for due process. Southwestern will give priority to applicants who submit their deposit and pre-payment. Southwestern will processes all other applications in the order in which they were received. A file may not be processed as soon as it is complete because other files completed before it must be processed first.
Who is the person to issue Southwestern's I-20s?
The International Admissions Director issues I-20s.
What do I do when I get the I-20?
You must take your I-20 and your acceptance letter and documentation of your finances to a U.S. Embassy in your country to apply for a U.S. student visa. Tell Southwestern's admissions office if you are approved or denied a student visa.
What do I do when I am issued a Student Visa by the U.S. Embassy?
Contact Southwestern's admissions office. Let them know you got the visa and when you plan to arrive on campus and if you plan to live in the dormitory. The closest international airport is the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. If you are flying you will need to tell us if you need us to pick you up at the airport or if you have friends or family picking you up. Southwestern will pick you up at the airport and bring you to our campus for free B there is no charge to pick you up the FIRST time you come to our campus as a student. If you need us to pick you up tell us 1) the Airline, 2) the date of arrival, 3) the time of arrival, 4) the flight number, and 5) how much luggage you are bringing, and 6) what you will wear so we can easily find you at the airport.(After you are a student you will need to make your own arrangements to go back to the airport and to be picked up again for trips you may take at a later time. Usually students have friends take them to the airport but Southwestern also has a transportation office that can get students from and take students to the airport for a fee.)
How does Southwestern report international student information to the U.S. government?
When international students arrive at Southwestern they should take their visa, I-20, and I-94 card to the Admissions Office so copies can be made to go into their admissions file. If an international student enters the U.S. with an I-20 from Southwestern but does not enroll at Southwestern or if an international student drops out, Southwestern will notify the U.S. government through the Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) as required by U.S. law. It is imperative all international students on an I-20 notify in advance the International Student Advisor if they plan to transfer to another school in the U.S. or if they plan to drop below the 12 minimum required hours of classes.
How do I reserve a room in a dormitory?
After being accepted, international students who plan to live in one of Southwestern's dormitories should immediately submit a housing information form, the room reservation/damage deposit of $100 is included in the deposit.
Can I come early to work during the summer?
International students may enter the U.S. up to 30 days before registering for classes. New U.S. Immigration laws for international students have been passed and a new computer tracking system put in place in July of 2002. This system, called SEVIS, will record when an I-20 is issued, if a visa is granted, when and where a student enters the U.S., and if the student enrolls for classes. If a student who enters the U.S. on an I-20 does not enroll for classes, he/she is automatically given an illegal status by the U.S. government.
Can I come late after a session begins?
No. Students cannot enroll for classes in a session after registration closes.
Are there any special classes for international students at Southwestern?
There is an orientation program for international students every semester. Dr. Tom Bunch, the Associate Dean, is the international student advisor for enrolled students. The date and time of the orientation program will be posted on campus.
What is the orientation program?
An International Student Orientation is conducted the first week of each semester. Attendance at this orientation program is required for all non-ESL non-immigrants who are new to Southwestern, including international transfer students. Information specific to the needs of international students is covered in this program. Students are notified of this orientation program in acceptance letters. Attendance at any other Southwestern orientation does not substitute for attendance at the International Student Orientation.
Do I have to have medical and automobile insurance?
Because the cost of medical care in the United States is high, all international students are required to have major medical insurance coverage. Southwestern has a major medical insurance plan available for international students. At the time of registration students must purchase the medical insurance available through the University unless covered by a SDA entity. Automobile insurance is required in the United States to cover liability for damages in the event of an accident. Severe penalties are imposed on the owner and driver of an uninsured vehicle should an accident occur. The international student advisor at Southwestern can provide information about purchasing automobile insurance.
What is the closest church to Southwestern?
The Keene Seventh-day Adventist Church is adjacent to the campus.
What are the closest hospitals to Southwestern?
The closest hospital to our campus is Walls Regional Hospital (15 minutes away) and Huguley Memorial Hospital is just 25 minutes from campus.