International students interested in attending Polk State College should famiarize themselves with the International Student website. International students may also request information to be sent via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org. International student admission guidance is available at Polk State College's International Student website.
Polk State College is authorized to enroll non-immigrant alien students. Non-immigrant alien students are classified as either International Students (F-1) or other Non-immigrant Visa Students. Anyone in the United States with a B1/B2 Tourist Visa, an M-1 Vocational Student Visa, or a J-1 Exchange Student Visa is not eligible to attend the College until the following requirements have been met: 1) completion of the admission requirements for International Students and 2) obtainment of an F-1 Visa or a United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) approved change of status to F-1.
B1/B2 Visa holders and J-1 Exchange Student Visa holders may submit a new application for an F-1 Visa at a U.S. embassy in their home country or other foreign country, or they may submit a Change of Status Application to the USCIS while in the United States to change their visa status to F-1.
M-1 Visa holders must travel to their home country with their SEVIS I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant F-1 student status) to apply for an F-1 Visa at a U.S. embassy abroad. M-1 Visa holders may not change their status while remaining in the United States.
International students enter the United States with F-1 Visas specifically for the purpose of obtaining an education. All international students holding F-1 Visas are required to attend Polk State College on a full-time basis (minimum of 12 credit hours per term including fall, spring, and summer) and pay out-of-state tuition and fees during their entire enrollment. Students with F-1 visas are required to attend school two consecutive semesters as full-time students. The third semester is considered the student's vacation period.
Anyone who enters the United States with a visa other than an F-1 is here for purposes other than obtaining an education. Most visa holders are eligible to attend school while in the U.S. as long as attending school does not interfere with their original purpose for being here. Many visa students are required to pay out-of-state tuition and fees during their entire enrollment at Polk State College. Some visa students are eligible for Florida tuition rates after one year of residency in Florida. Students should check with anInternational Student Advisor to determine their eligibility to attend school and for information regarding Florida tuition rates. Details on Florida tuition rates can be found at www.flv.org on the Residency page.
International and visa students must submit all required documents and meet all conditions of admission by the following deadlines:
- Fall Semester or Term I (Aug.-Dec.): May 15
- Spring Semester or Term II (Jan.-early May): Oct. 15
- Summer Semester or Term III (May-early Aug.): March 15
- In the event the deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, the deadline is extended until the next open business day.
In addition to the regular admission procedures, international and visa students are required to complete additional admission requirements. International students should begin the admission process three to six months prior to the beginning of the semester in which they wish to enroll.
International students who complete the international student admission requirements by the semester deadline are issued a SEVIS Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant (F-1) Student Status.
For academic and language students, the SEVIS I-20 form is used to show acceptance to Polk State College and to apply for an F-1 Visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate office in foreign countries. It may also be used to apply for a change of status to F-1 for those who are already in the United States.
International Student Admission Requirements:
These admission requirements apply to international students seeking admission to degree-granting programs and to those seeking admission to the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) Program. All requirements must be completed before the SEVIS Form I -20, Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant (F-1) Student Status, is issued.
Degree-seeking international students must show proficiency in English by meeting one of the requirements listed below. International students who do not demonstrate sufficient proficiency in English may enroll in the College's English for Academic Purposes (EAP) Program. These students must take the Levels of English Proficiency Exam (LOEP) for placement in a reading, writing, and grammar course in the EAP Program. The EAP Communications course is also highly recommended to improve speaking and listening skills.
The following steps should be taken:
- Submit an online application at www.polk.edu.
- Submit an International Student Application.
- Submit an Affidavit of Financial Support, including the student’s or sponsor’s most recent bank statement, showing finances are available for the student’s entire education. A letter of employment may be requested from the sponsor’s employer to verify employment and income source.
- Submit a Health Certification Form, certifying good physical and mental health, which is required before an I-20 form is issued.
- Demonstrate English proficiency via any one of the following documents:
- Affidavit of English Language – Students from a country where English is the native language are required to complete the Affidavit of English Language. Students should check with the International Student Advisor for a list of countries exempt from English proficiency requirements.
- Official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) – Students should submit passing scores from Educational Testing Services. Information about TOEFL can be obtained at www.ets.org/toefl.
- For admission to degree-seeking status, a paper-and-pencil exam score of at least 500 or an Internet-based exam score of at least 61 or higher, is required.
- For admission to the EAP Program, English proficiency is not required. The EAP Communications course is also highly recommended to improve speaking and listening skills.
- An Advanced Placement (AP) score – A score of 4 or higher on the International English Language Exam is accepted in lieu of a TOEFL score.
- Completion of the highest level of an accredited, intensive English language program. Documentation is required.
- Five or more years of successful study in an accredited institution where English is the only language of instruction, as demonstrated on a transcript.
- Provide Proof of Medical Insurance:
Insurance must include basic medical coverage. Also highly recommended is coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation services. Polk State College recommends Student Secure Select for non-U.S. citizens, which is offered through International Student Insurance. Applications are available from the International Student Office on the Winter Haven and Lakeland campuses and from the website at: www.InternationalStudentInsurance.com. Students should apply for medical insurance after the F-1 Visa has been approved.
- Possess a Valid Passport:
A passport valid for at least six months beyond the intended length of study in the United States is required.
International Student Transcript Requirements:
Students must provide official high school, upper secondary, and post secondary transcripts from all high schools, colleges, and universities they have attended. If transcripts are in a language other than English, a certified English translation must also be provided. A certified translation service in the United States or the Ministry of Education in the home country may provide the translation. Students should request two official copies of their transcripts: one should be sent to Polk State College, and one should be sent directly from the foreign institution to an evaluation service, as explained below. All transcripts must be received and evaluated by the College prior to attending classes.
Transcripts from international secondary institutions must be evaluated "document by document" for equivalency to U.S. high school graduation, and college/university transcripts must be evaluated "course by course" for consideration of college transfer credit. For upper division consideration, be sure to request that your evaluation distinguish between upper and lower division coursework. The student must pay the cost of the transcript evaluation. Specific instructions for obtaining this evaluation are included with the International Student Admission packet, or they can be obtained from the Admission and Registrar’s Office. The application for evaluation may be downloaded from an evaluator’s website. Students may visit www.naces.org to select an approved evaluator. Polk State College most commonly uses Josef Silny & Associates and World Education Services.
I-901 SEVIS Fee
Prior to visa application, and once an I-20 form is issued, the student must pay a USD $200 SEVIS fee to the Department of Homeland Security. Form I-901 information and an application are available at www.fmjfee.com. The fee should be paid at least two weeks prior to visa application. A receipt must be presented at the time of visa application. This I-901 fee is in addition to the visa application fee. For information on the visa application process, students may visit www.state.gov.
Within the first three weeks of the semester, students must officially report to the school and present a valid visa, SEVIS I-20, I-94 card, and valid passport to the International Student Advisor as proof of eligibility to attend school. Photocopies of these documents are made for the student’s file. Then the student is registered in SEVI as "arrived and registered for classes."
International Students Holding Other Non-Immigrant Visas
Individuals holding non-immigrant visas other than B1/B2 Tourist, M-1 Vocational Student, J-1 Exchange Student, and F-1 International Student visas must meet the following admission requirements:
- Students must submit official high school, upper secondary, and postsecondary transcripts from accredited high schools, colleges, and universities. If transcripts are in a language other than English, a certified English translation must also be provided. A certified translation service in the United States or the Ministry of Education in the home country may provide the translation. Students should request two official transcripts: one should be sent to the Polk State College International Student Office of the campus where the student expects to attend, and one should be sent directly to an evaluation service, as explained below.
- Transcripts from international secondary institutions must be evaluated document-by-document for equivalency to U.S. high school graduation. College and University transcripts must be evaluated course-by-course for Polk State College standards of course objectives. Foreign transcripts from international institutions must be evaluated for either equivalency to U.S. high school graduation or for consideration of college transfer credit. Students must pay the cost of the transcript evaluation. Specific instructions for obtaining this evaluation are included with the International Student Admission Packet, or they can be obtained from the Admission and Registrar’s Office.
- Students must present a passport valid for at least six months beyond the intended length of study in the United States.
- Within the first three weeks of the semester, students must present a valid visa and I-94 card as proof of eligibility to attend school. Photocopies of these documents are made for the student’s file.
- For admission to college-credit courses, students must demonstrate English Proficiency using the criteria listed under the section titled International Student Admission Requirements. International students who do not demonstrate sufficient proficiency in English may enroll in the College’s English for Academic Purposes (EAP) Program. The EAP Communications course is also highly recommended to improve speaking and listening skills.