International Students

Frequently Asked Questions

Application Form and Fee

1. How do I apply to Alvernia University?
Apply online at

2. How much is the application fee?

Alvernia has a non-refundable application fee of $25.00. 

3. How can I pay for the application fee?
You may pay by credit card when submitting the online application. Or, you may pay the fee by postal mail with a check or money order in U.S. currency made payable to Alvernia University.

4. What are the additional required application materials?
The list of required materials is available here.

5. What address do I use to send the application materials to Alvernia University?

Office of Undergraduate Admission
400 Saint Bernardine Street
Reading, Pennsylvania, 19607, USA. 

For express mail, please provide this phone number: 1‐610-796-8269.

English Language Proficiency

1. Who has to show proof of English Proficiency?

An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English Proficiency.  An “English speaking country’s” primary native language is English. A country which has a primary non‐English native language but uses English as the official language is considered a non‐English speaking country.  Please consult the CIA World Factbook to see if your country is considered English speaking. 

2. How do I show proof of English Proficiency?
The most common tests are TOEFL or IELTS.  A successful applicant must provide a minimum TOEFL score ranging between 75-80 internet based, 190-213 computer based, or 550 paper based TOEFL.  An acceptable IELTS score is between a 5.5 and 6. 

3. Can I send a photocopy of the TOEFL test result?
No. When taking the TOEFL test, arrange for the official result to be sent to Alvernia University from the testing service.

4. What is the deadline to provide the test score?
The Office of Admissions should receive the test scores on or before the posted application deadline.  For spring enrollment, October 1st, and for fall enrollment, May 1st.

5. I have taken the TOEFL test a second time, but the most recent test score is lower than the first one. Can I use my higher first test score to meet Alvernia’s English language proficiency requirement?
No. The function of TOEFL is to test the applicant’s English language skill only. When your most recent test score is lower when taken a second time, it usually indicates decreasing language skill. Successful applicants maintain or increase language skills over time.

6. I do not have a TOEFL test score; can I still be admitted to Alvernia University?
We are not able to review applications without the required English Proficiency test score.  You may prove English Proficiency with a TOEFL score, IELTS, or the American standardized tests such as the SAT or ACT. 

7. I am currently in the United States; am I required to show proof of English language proficiency?
You may be waived from the standard TOEFL test if you meet one of these criteria: you are enrolled in a high school in an English speaking country for a minimum of 2 years and graduated (or will graduate) with a high school diploma, OR you are enrolled in an accredited U.S. college/university and earn a grade of C or better in English Composition I AND English Composition II.

SAT or ACT Test Scores

1. Do international students have to provide SAT or ACT test scores?

The test is not required for international students but is encouraged. Alvernia University understands that SAT and/or ACT tests are not offered in many countries around the world.

2. What is the advantage of providing the SAT or ACT test scores?
There are TWO main advantages: (a) the SAT or ACT verbal test score, if high enough, may prove English language proficiency. The minimum score for the SAT is 500 on the Critical Reading section or a 21 on the English section of the ACT. (b) Applicants with high test scores are considered for merit scholarships.

3. What is the minimum required score for SAT or ACT?
If you choose to take the test, Alvernia University does not specify a minimum test score.

Admission review at Alvernia University is based on a comprehensive holistic review process. This means the admission decision is made after reviewing ALL the required application materials.

4. Can I send a photocopy of the SAT or ACT test score?
No. The official test result must be sent directly from the College Board or ACT test providers.

Financial Support Documentation

1. Who has to show proof of financial support?

F‐1 or J‐1 visa applicants or current holders MUST provide proof of financial support BEFORE the application can be reviewed for an admission decision. This allows the Office of Admissions to consider the application and the I‐20 may be issued immediately, if admitted.

2. What documents do I have to provide?
The proof of financial support documentation has TWO required parts: (a) a signed and dated International Student Financial Statement and (b) proof of financial verification, normally in the form of a bank statement showing account balance. Provide supporting documents in English and in US currency.

3. What is the minimum required amount to show on the bank statement?
The minimum required amount is one year of the cost of attendance.  At Alvernia University ‘cost of attendance’ encompasses tuition, room, board, fees, cost of books, cost of living, health insurance,  travel and personal expenses for a total of $42,500 USD.

Scholarships for International Students

1. Do you have scholarships for international students?

Alvernia University offers merit based scholarships for academic excellence among new first‐year and transfer students.  You may also apply for outside scholarships.

2. What are the requirements?
Students must apply and receive admission from Alvernia University. All admitted students are considered for merit scholarships automatically. International students that provide SAT or ACT scores will be considered for our merit scholarships. Additional scholarship information.

3. How do I apply?
No separate application is necessary for any of Alvernia’s merit scholarships. However, please make sure to apply for admission and complete the application requirements before the posted deadline.

4. I did not receive a scholarship when I received my admission offer. Can I apply for a scholarship or financial aid when I am enrolled at Alvernia?
Unfortunately, no. Alvernia University offers merit based scholarships to admitted students; this scholarship fund is not awarded based on need. Therefore, when a new student is awarded a scholarship, he/she may continue receiving the stated amount for the 4‐year duration of study as long as the GPA requirement is maintained.

Immigration Documents

1. What immigration documents should I provide with my application materials?

If you have a passport, please provide a photocopy. This will help verify your legal name and date of birth for accurate issuance of the I‐20 document, if you are admitted.

2. I don’t have a passport yet; do I need to get a passport before submitting my application?
No. Submit your application materials at your earliest convenience BEFORE the application deadline.  However, you will need a passport to travel into the United States.

3. I have applied to Alvernia University, when will I receive my admission decision and I‐20 document?
Alvernia University has a specific application deadline for international students.  Applications will be reviewed after all application materials are received, and students will be notified as soon as the decision is available.

Terminology International Students Should Know

What is an F-1 student visa?

According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website the F-1 Visa (Academic Student) allows you to enter the United States as a full-time student at an accredited college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution or in a language training program. You must be enrolled in a program or course of study that culminates in a degree, diploma, or certificate and your school must be authorized by the U.S. government to accept international students (   

2. What is an I-20 form?
According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website foreign exchange students will receive a Form I-20 from the DSO of the educational institution that accepted the student to study in the United States. That student must have a Form I-20 to apply for a visa, to enter the United States, and to apply for benefits ( 

3. What is SEVIS?
According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is used to track and monitor schools; exchange visitor programs; and F, M and J nonimmigrants while they visit the United States and participate in the U.S. education system (

4. Who is the DSO?

The Designated School Official (DSO) will work with the International Student Admissions Counselors to issue your I-20 form and create input your information into SEVIS. The DSO needs to be able to verify that your SEVIS record is accurate and up-to-date during your stay in the United States. 

Applicant Communication 

1. How will I receive communication from Alvernia University’s Office of Admission?

The primary mode of communication for international students is via e-mail. This is because electronic mail is more efficient and faster than regular postal mail.  Once you have been admitted to the Alvernia we will send you your documents through postal mail. 

2. I have a new e-mail address. What should I do?
The Office of Admission sends important e‐mail communication to applicants to ensure a positive applicant and admission experience. Please provide the same e-mail address on the online application and any supporting documents.  If you change your e-mail address, remember to provide us with your new e-mail address.  Also, be sure to add our e-mail address to your address book to disable spam blockers from your personal e-mail account.

3. When will I know the status of my application?
Applications are processed in the order they are received. To ensure timely processing submit your application and supporting materials as soon as possible. Normally, you will receive the first e-mail communication regarding your application about 3 weeks after it arrives in the Office of Admission.

4. How do I know if the office has received all the application materials I sent? How do I know it is complete?
Our International Student Admissions Counselor will keep you updated on which documents have been received and which documents are still pending.

5. I met all the admission requirements, and I am admitted to Alvernia. What can I expect to receive?
The Office of Admissions will coordinate to have the I-20 document processed and mailed.  As soon as it is available, you will receive an official offer of admission and an I‐20 document, including important information regarding the required confirmation process. The acceptance packet will be mailed to you via FedEx Express Courier Service (FREE) to your mailing address. To ensure delivery, make sure that we have your correct mailing address and phone number. Alvernia University must have your complete physical or street mailing address.

Contact Us

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   Alvernia University
   Office of Undergraduate

400 Saint Bernardine Street
Reading, PA 19607
Phone: 610-796-8269
Fax: 610-790-2873

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