International Students (F1 Visa) Admission Requirements

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Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW) has a diverse student population and it encourages applicants from around the world to apply for our various degree programs. FSW is authorized under the United States Federal Law, Immigration and Nationality Act under section 101(a)(15)(F)(i) to enroll non-immigrant alien students.

Applicants with or seeking an international student visa (F-1) must meet the following admission requirements by the published priority deadlines. FSW issues an I-20 form after all admission requirements are met. Applicants may be issued the F-1 visa when they present the I-20 form to the appropriate personnel in a U.S. Embassy.

Due to the additional processing time required for international students, application and supporting documents should be submitted as early as possible. Please review the deadlines published annually in the academic calendar to ensure appropriate processing time.

Note: Summer applicants must take a full course load (12 credits) in the summer, fall and spring, before they are eligible for an optional summer term in the following year.

If the application and supporting documents are not received by the required deadlines, the application for admission will be considered for the following term. The financial affidavit cannot be older than 6 months from the start date of the course of study. A new financial affidavit must be resubmitted, if so required by the college and International Student Services (ISS) representative. After the application file is complete, all documents will be reviewed within 5-10 business days.

Apply for Admission: The applicant must apply for admission and submit all required admission credentials as outlined below, to the Office of Admissions-International no later than the published deadline for international student admission, for the term for which the student is seeking admission. The International student admission application can be accessed by clicking here.

English Language Proficiency: Since instruction is in English, applicants must demonstrate proficiency in the English language. To demonstrate this proficiency, if English is not the applicant’s native language, the applicant must submit satisfactory results of one of on the following tests; TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) IELTS (International English Language Testing System).

Required scores are:

  • TOEFL (Internet): 61
  • TOEFL (Paper): 500
  • TOEFL (Computer-based): 173
  • IELTS: 5.5

TOEFL/IELTS: To be exempt from TOEFL/IELTS, the student must show proof of one of the following:

  • Graduation from a US high school
  • The student has earned the GED taken in English
  • Successful completion of secondary education from a school outside the United States that teaches the entire secondary education curriculum in English
  • International student applicants whose native language is English, or who have successfully completed one academic year of study at a recognized/regionally accredited university, or college in a country where English is the official language (excluding intensive English language programs).

Any exceptions to the above requirements should be requested in writing with or immediately following the submission of the actual application to the college. All requests for exemption must be accompanied with complete details explaining the reasons for the request.

If the student shows acceptable alternative evidence of English proficiency for exemption, the student will be required to schedule an interview in person or via video conferencing with the International Student Services representative prior to applying for a TOEFL/IELTS/MELAP waiver. A decision regarding an exemption request will only be made after the entire file has been reviewed.

The waiver of TOEFL/IELTS/MELAB scores is at the discretion of Florida SouthWestern State College. Exemption from submitting TOEFL/IELTS/MELAB results does not imply exemption from sitting for an additional test for college placement before registration, if so required by the school or academic department.

Financial Statement:The applicant or sponsor must provide a notarized financial statement verifying the availability (in U.S. dollars) of the funds necessary for the applicant to attend Florida SouthWestern State College. The applicant or sponsor must complete the Financial Affidavit form. FSW does not provide to sponsors financial assistance, or transportation services. Students attending Florida SouthWestern State College on an F-1 student visa may work only on campus, if employment is available. Because of this uncertainty, students are not able to use on-campus employment as part of their financial resources.

High School and College Transcripts:International students must provide proof of high school graduation, as evidenced by evaluated transcripts from an approved source. A document by document evaluation is required. A request for evaluation of non-U.S. transcripts must be submitted to one of the approved National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) agencies. High school evaluated transcripts should be sent directly from the evaluation agency, to the Office of Admissions-International.

International student applicants, who have attended international colleges/universities and wish to attend FSW on an F1 visa, must submit evaluated course-by-course transcripts from all colleges or universities attended. Requests for evaluation of transcripts must be submitted to one of the approved NACES agencies.

All evaluated college transcripts should be sent directly from the evaluation company to the Office of the Registrar. If the student has attended a U.S. institution, the transcript should be sent directly from the school to Florida SouthWestern State College, Office of the Registrar.

Transfer International Students: International students transferring from another college or university in the U.S., must apply for admission to FSW and provide all of the requirements listed above, including high school and college transcripts, financial statement, and proof of English proficiency. Additionally, the following requirements must be submitted before an admission decision is reached.

  • An official transcript from all U.S. colleges or universities attended
  • Copies of all previously issued I-20 forms
  • A visa clearance form (F-1 Student Transfer Eligibility form) from the International Student Advisor at the current U.S. college or university, verifying the student’s current status
  • A valid passport and an I-94 form

Note: Transfer students who are out of F-1 status and have a terminated record at their current school will not be issued a reinstatement I-20 from our school.

Common Placement Testing: Florida SouthWestern State College follows State Rule 6A-10.0315 concerning placement testing.  For more information, including tips, study guides, and practice tests, visit the Placement Testing Information webpage.

International Student Orientation: International students must attend an orientation with the International Student Services representative prior to the first day of classes of the term for which the applicant is seeking admission.

College Orientation:  All new students are required to participate in Orientation before registering for classes. More information can be accessed by clicking here.

Standards of Academic Progress for International Students: All international students must meet the Standards of Academic Progress for International Students. Student must maintain a cumulative 2.00 grade point average to avoid academic probation or dismissal. International students are required to enroll full time (12 credits) each semester to maintain F-1 status. Academic probation or dismissal may prohibit the student from attending full time, thus resulting in failure to maintain F-1 status. Summer semester full time enrollment is not mandatory, unless it is the first semester the student is attending.

Health Insurance: All applicants must provide proof of health and accident insurance to include a body repatriation and body evacuation rider prior to registering for classes. A properly completed insurance compliance form must be submitted to the International Student Services representative.

Please Note: An international student who is in the United States on the F-1 student visa may not claim Florida residency for tuition purposes and must pay nonresident fees. International Students do not qualify for Federal Financial Aid.