FAQ: New Students

Frequently Asked Questions

To be accepted to the ESL program, you should submit a completed application form, a copy of your passport photo page, and a bank statement, scholarship letter, or other financial guarantee. New students will also pay a $350 deposit that covers a $100 tuition deposit, payment of the $200 SEVIS fee, and $50 for us to send your I-20 and acceptance packet to you by DHL or FedEx. Students transferring from another school in the United States or students that do not need immigration documents issued for them can pay just the $100 tuition deposit.

Payment can be made with MasterCard, Visa, bank transfer, or cashier’s check; you may pay application fees online here.

The University of Texas at Austin is unable to offer conditional admission to degree programs upon completing the ESL program.

ESL students do have access to seminars and presentations about applying to universities in the United States, and ESL staff members will often review personal statements or essays for students who are applying to degree programs. If you are interested in applying to The University of Texas at Austin and know the program you would like to join, being in Austin also allows you the opportunity to introduce yourself in person to professors and staff to discuss your plans for future study.

ESL Services provides information on popular housing options for new students, but ESL students are responsible for finding housing on their own. There are a number of private dormitories, apartments, and student housing within walking distance of the ESL classrooms. There are also several services that work with international students to find housing, and we can provide those on request.

ESL Services will mail you an acceptance packet that contains an I-20 and a I-901 SEVIS fee receipt. You then contact the local embassy to begin applying for your student visa. There are five steps to apply for the visa once you have received your I-20:

  1. Complete the DS-160 online application
  2. Schedule your appointment through the appointment center and pay the application fee
  3. Appear at the appointment center to submit your application, fingerprints, and photo
  4. Attend the visa interview
  5. Pick up your passport and visa

Many students are nervous about the visa interview. The most important things to do for the interview are to demonstrate that you have ties to your home country and how the program will benefit your long terms plans. So be prepared to talk about a job or property you may own in your home country, and how studying ESL at UT Austin will help you further your education or career.

We work with agents who have been carefully vetted and adhere to principals of good practice.

Payments can be made with Visa, MasterCard, cashier’s check, or wire transfer. We do not accept cash.

Insurance is required for all students who enroll with an F-1/F-2 or J-1/J-2 visa. ESL students are enrolled in the UT student health insurance, which is offered through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas.

UT student health insurance can be waived by completing and submitting a waiver form by your registration date. You must show proof of a private insurance policy that meets or exceed the UT requirements. See the waiver form for full details.

ESL Services is committed to help you learn the English that you need to achieve your goals. We have established policies, created curriculum, hired instructors, and arranged for classrooms to support your English studies. We hope that you will enjoy your studies with us. However, if you have a complaint about policies, faculty/staff members, or anything else, please visit our office to speak with a member of our administrative team and fill out a student complaint form. The Associate Director and Director will review all complaints, will contact you about your concerns, and will take corrective action if appropriate. We value your opinion.

Students enroll in the ESL program at UT from all over the world. Our 2016 spring session had students from forty countries enroll with us, with the largest groups coming from Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Argentina. We feel classes benefit from having a variety of language backgrounds, so we work to ensure than no more than one-third of our student population speak the same language.