Frequently Asked Questions Regarding your F-1 status

1. Why do I need to provide a bank statement indicating $20,887? Will it cost me that much to attend your school?

Answer- This is an estimate of how much it will cost for one year including tuition, fees, health insurance, books, living expenses, travel and misc. If you are frugal, it may not cost you the full amount, but this is a fair estimate of what most students will need.

2. I am from an English speaking country, do I still need to take the TOEFL exam?

Answer - No, students from English speaking countries are not required to submit TOEFL scores, but you may benefit from studying for the TOEFL because you will be required to take college placement tests in English after you arrive on campus. These tests examine your ability to use standard American English.

3. Can international students work?

Answer - Yes, international students can work 20 hours per week on campus. However, the number of on-campus positions is limited and very competitive. Most positions require native-like English speaking ability. International students cannot work off campus without permission from the US Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services.

4. When should I arrive on campus?

Answer – Typically Immigration will not allow you to enter until 30 days prior to the start of a semester.  You should arrive as early as possible to complete assessment tests, register for classes, settle into living accommodations, purchase books and attend orientation

5.  How many classes must I take?

Answer - A minimum of 12 billable/credit hours per semester each spring and fall; summer classes are optional. Twelve credits is usually 4 classes.

 6. Why do I need health insurance?

Answer - Private health care in the US is very expensive so Florida SouthWestern State requires all international students to have health insurance. You must enroll in the American College Student Association (ACSA) designed especially for international students and their dependents before you are allowed to register for classes. (Please note, this is not automobile/driving insurance.)
In addition, we recommend that you have eye, dental and general physical examinations done before leaving your home country, since they will probably cost you much less than in the US. Also, bring any prescription medication and eyeglasses along with medical documentation with you. These are very expensive in the US.

7. Does Florida SouthWestern State College provide housing on any of the campuses?

Answer - Florida SouthWestern State College has on-campus housing on Lee Campus.

8. What type of housing do students typically find?

Answer - Apartments and shared housing are the most popular student choices.

9. How much does housing typically cost?

Answer - Location and amenities determine the market price, and prices vary greatly throughout the area. The following are estimates of the cost of apartments without utilities (gas, electricity, water and phone):
       1 bedroom - $750 and higher
       2 bedroom - $860 and higher
       3 bedroom - $1200 and higher

10. Do most rental units come with appliances and furniture?

Answer - Rental units should come with appliances (stove, refrigerator, etc.), as well as heating and air conditioning.  Most rental units do not come with furniture.

11. Do I need a car?

Answer - Probably.  Life in the USA is much easier with a car, and depending on where you live public transportation is not always available. If you are thinking about buying a car, please keep in mind that automobile insurance is required in the State of Florida, and it can be quite expensive.

12. How do I invite family members to visit?

Answer - Family members who are NOT children (under 21) or spouse of the F-1 student should apply for a B-1/B-2 visitor visa which allows eligibility visit the United States temporarily for tourism or business purposes. Family members from certain countries may be eligible to travel to the U.S. for visits of up to 90 days without a B-1/B-2 visa through the U.S. Department of State Visa Waiver Program. It is recommended that you give your family members a letter of invitation to document the purpose of their visit.

13.  What is the SEVIS fee and do I need to pay it

Answer -. This SEVIS fee is required of all foreign nationals who come to the United States for the purpose of pursuing a full course of study in institutions such as colleges, universities, and language training programs.  It is payable one time for each single educational program in which an F-1 student participates, extending from the time the student is granted F-1 status to the time the student falls out of status, changes status, or departs the U.S. for an extended period of time. 

14.  Can I get a student loan or financial aid?

Answer - International students are not eligible for U.S. federal student loans or aid.

15.  After I’ve been at the College for a year will I be eligible for in-state tuition?

Answer – Unfortunately, F-1 students are always considered a resident of their home country and are not eligible for in-state tuition.