Frequently Asked Questions
Application Form and Fee
Is there an application fee?
Alvernia has a non-refundable application fee of $25.00.
How can I pay the application fee?
You may pay by credit card when submitting your online application or send it by postal mail with a check or money order in U.S. currency made payable to Alvernia University.
What are the additional required application materials?
The list of required materials is available here.
What address do I use to send the application materials to Alvernia University?
Attn: Sibel Ahi
Holleran Center for Community & Global Engagement
400 Saint Bernardine Street
Reading, Pennsylvania, 19607, USA.
For express mail, please provide this phone number: 1‐610-790-1925.
English Language Proficiency
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.
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.
Can I send a photocopy of the TOEFL test result?
No. When taking the TOEFL or IELTS test, arrange for the official score reportto be sent to Alvernia University from the testing service.
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.
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.
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 when English is not your first language or if you don’t meet any of the exceptions (see question 12. You may prove English Proficiency with a TOEFL score, IELTS, or the American standardized tests such as the SAT or ACT.
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
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.
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.
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.
Can I send a photocopy of the SAT or ACT test score?
No. The official test result must be sent directly from the appropriate test provider.
Financial Support Documentation
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.
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.
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.
Scholarships for International Students
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.
What are the requirements?
Students must apply and receive admission from Alvernia University. All admitted students are considered for merit scholarships automatically. Additional scholarship information.
How do I apply for Alvernia’s scholarships?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, see the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website, (http://www.uscis.gov).
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 (http://www.uscis.gov).
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 non-immigrants while they visit the United States and participate in the U.S. education system. See the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement website, (http://www.ice.gov).
Who is the DSO?
The Designated School Official (DSO) is Jennifer Reimert, Assistant Dean of Academic Support Services. The DSO works with the Admissions Office to issue your I-20 form and create input your information into SEVIS. The DSO must be able to verify that your SEVIS record is accurate and up-to-date during your entire stay in the United States.
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 for international students outside of the U.S. Once you have been admitted to Alvernia, please let the Admissions Office know how you would like your documents sent to you and how you would like to communicate (email, phone, Skype, etc.). Your primary counselor and contact is Sibel Ahi, Director of Global Engagement, and you can email her or call her office in the Holleran Center at 610-790-1925.
I now have a new e-mail address. What should I do?
The Office of Undergraduate Admission sends important email communication to applicants to ensure you have a positive experience. Please provide the same email address on the online application and any supporting documents. If you change your email address, remember to provide us with your new email as soon as possible. Also, be sure to add our international counselor's email address to your digital contacts list.
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 it takes about 2 weeks to make an admissions decision, once all of your application materials have been submitted and your application is complete. Depending on the time of year, the decision could be made sooner than 2 weeks.
How do I know if the office has received all the application materials I sent? How do I know it is complete?
Our admissions staff and Director of Global Engagement will keep you updated on which documents have been received and which documents are still pending.
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 postal mailing address. To ensure delivery, make sure that we have your correct postal mailing address and phone number. Alvernia University must have your complete physical or street mailing address.
The Application Process
U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have completed coursework and/or degrees outside of the United States (excluding study abroad programs) must submit a foreign credential evaluation, and official transcripts (high school and post-secondary if applicable).
Please keep a copy of all documents submitted to Alvernia, because you will be required to show them again at the American Embassy or Consulate in your country.
The first step is to submit a complete application to Alvernia University along with all supporting documents.
Your enrollment application should be completed online via the Alvernia portal or The Common Application website. International applicants must follow the application deadlines set by the Admissions Office:
- For students wishing to start in the Spring semester (January), applications and supporting materials must be submitted before October 1st.
- For students wishing to start in the Fall semester (August), applications and supporting materials must be submitted before May 1st.
Documents are only considered official when received at the Admissions Office in a sealed envelope directly from the reporting institution, or if sent electronically 9email, fax, etc.) by the institution.
Official copies of all education credentials, such as secondary transcripts or equivalent completion certificates, are required. Documents must not be sent by the student, colleagues or family members.
An official Foreign Credential Equivalency Report of all documents must be submitted with a copy of the original documents. When you order this documents, select a “Course by Course” evaluation so that a GPA will be calculated and used as part of your admissions decision. If you do not order this type of report, we will not be able to offer you admission to the university.
Required agencies to obtain an official Foreign Credential Equivalency Report:
- World Education Services (WES)
- Joseph Silny & Associates, Inc. International Education Consultants (JS&A)
- Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE)
For nursing applicants only: two (2) letters of recommendation are required.
All students who are non-native English speakers or come from a country where English is not the official language are required to provide proof of English proficiency. Please use the CIA world fact book website for verification if your country is considered English speaking. Students may take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to show proof of English Proficiency.
-TOEFL: a minimum score of 550 for the paper based test, 190-213 for the computer based test, or 75-80 for the internet based test is required for admission to Alvernia University.
IELTS: a minimum score of a 5.5 is required for admission to Alvernia University.
- If a student has had at least two consecutive years (4 semesters) of education in an American high school or institution of higher education in the United States, the TOEFL requirement will be waived. An official transcript from the American college or university should suffice for proof unless otherwise determined by the Admissions Office.
The American government requires that all foreign students are financially qualified to enter the United States and enroll at Alvernia University. Please complete the Foreign Student Financial Statement.
Students must have sufficient monies available to them amounting in total cost of attendance (tuition, room, board, fees, books, health insurance, travel, and personal expenses) for at least the first year of study at Alvernia University. Any merit scholarships will be subtracted from the cost of attendance, this remaining amount will need to be documented as available funding by submitting an official bank statement, sponsor, retirement account, etc.
Accepted International Students
Once You Receive Acceptance to the University
Once accepted to Alvernia, students will be first notified by e-mail of their acceptance and then mailed (to their home country mailing address):
- A formal letter of acceptance
- I-20 form
- Confirmation of enrollment form
- Health and Wellness forms
- Housing forms
- Other forms that the student will need to complete the enrollment process.
Prospective student must send a total of $550 USD - $300 USD for confirmation of enrollment and $250 USD for housing deposit - to finalize the enrollment process.
Once the student receives the package they must make an appointment with the American Embassy or Consulate in their home country to apply for an F-1 visa.
- Please take your I-20, acceptance letter, and copies of all documents requested by the American Embassy or Consulate to support your F-1 visa application. There is a fee to be paid in order to apply for an F-1 student visa. Please check with the American Embassy or Consulate in your country for details and special requirements.
- Students are also responsible for paying all SEVIS fees before going to their appointment at the American Embassy or Consulate.
The student is to complete his/her Health and Wellness documentation and send back to the Admissions Office via e-mail so they can be reviewed by the Health and Wellness Office
- Please note you will need to bring your health and wellness documents and proof of received vaccines. If you have not received anyvaccinations, you will be required to get them upon arrival to campus.
Once the F-1 student visa is approved, the student will be responsible for making travel arrangements that allow him/her to arrive to the United States in time for orientation weekend in August (usually the third week of month) of the year they are to enroll.
During the first week of class the student must provide a copy of his/her passport and I-94 card to the DSO, Jennifer Reimert
Arrival to Campus
All international students must arrive to campus prior to New Student Orientation weekend. New Student Orientation usually takes place the third (3) week of August. Please contact the admissions office to find out the exact date you should plan to arrive to the United States.
An Alvernia representative will meet you at the airport and bring you to main campus in Reading, PA. All international students arriving to campus must share their travel itinerary with the Admissions Office so that proper pick up is scheduled. Also note there are several airports in the area. Alvernia University prefers international students arrive at the following airports:
*If you have any questions, please contact Director of Global Engagement Sibel Ahi in the Holleran Center at 610-790-1925.