Terminology for International Students

Who is considered an international student?

Any student who needs a Visa to attend school is considered an International student.

If I hold a Green Card, should I apply as an international student?

No, you are considered a permanent resident and should not apply as an International student.

How do I know if I am an undergraduate or graduate student?

If you are a student who hasn’t yet earned a Bachelor’s degree, then you are considered an undergraduate student. If you have earned your Bachelor’s degree then you are a graduate student.

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 DSO?

DSO stands for Designated School Official. The campus 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.


Application Process / Applying

How do I start the admissions process?

- Undergraduate: https://www.alvernia.edu/apply/undergraduate-admission or Common App (you must designate Alvernia University to receive your Common Application). Watch a helpful video here.

- Graduate: https://www.alvernia.edu/apply/graduate-school

What are the admission requirements

- Undergraduate: https://www.alvernia.edu/admissions-aid/international-students/international-students-application-process

- Graduate: https://www.alvernia.edu/admissions-aid/graduate-admissions/graduate-admissions-international-applicants

How do I check the status of my application?

You can check the status of your online application by logging into the application portal using your email and password that you created your application with here: https://admissions.alvernia.edu/apply/?sr=2f401222-9608-42c8-a492-5c65bf09945f

Is there an application fee?

- Undergraduate: no

- Graduate: $50 that can be paid through the online application

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

Both undergraduate and graduate students can mail their application materials to our International Admissions Office. See address below:

International Admissions Office
Alvernia University
400 Saint Bernardine Street
Reading, Pennsylvania, 19607, USA

For express mail, please provide this phone number: 1‐610-796-5190.


Application Documents

Will I need Letters of Recommendation?

Graduate only: Most graduate programs require either two or three letters of recommendation. Each program has its own specific set of admissions requirements.


Applicant Communication

How will I receive communication from Alvernia University's Office of Admission?

The primary mode of communication for international students is via e-mail. Email 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 undergraduate contact is Sibel Ahi, Director of International Recruitment. To contact us, please email us at international.admissions@alvernia.edu or call Sibel Ahi directly at 610-568-1473.


Your primary graduate contact will vary by campus location. To contact us, please email us at gradandadult@alvernia.edu or at 610-796-5187.

I have a new email address. What should I do?

The Admissions Offices send important email communications to applicants to ensure you have a positive experience. Please provide the same email address on your online application and any supporting documents. If you change your email address, remember to provide us with your new email as soon as possible.

When will I know the status of my application?

Undergraduate: 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.


Graduate: All graduate applications are reviewed within the academic department. Most programs review on a rolling admissions basis which means we are constantly reviewing and accepting applications. However, select programs have specific application deadlines and time frames for notification. Please refer to the specific program admissions requirements here

How do I know if the office has received all the application materials I sent? How do I know it is complete?

Our Admissions Offices will keep you updated on the status of your application. You can also continually check your online application status here.



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.


Steps after Acceptance

What happens after my 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. 


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 campus DSO.

The student is to complete his/her Health and Wellness documentation 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 any vaccinations, you will be required to get them upon arrival to campus.  

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.  

Prospective undergraduate students must send a total of $550 USD to finalize the enrollment process.

$300 USD for confirmation of enrollment

$250 USD for housing deposit


Prospective graduate students must send a $300 USD for confirmation of enrollment. If graduate students would like to reside on campus, they would need to work with their admissions representative to secure a housing contract.


Arrival to Campus

All undergraduate 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.

All graduate students will have an opportunity to participate in an online orientation prior to the start of the semester.

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 International 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 our International Admissions Office via email or call Director of International Recruitment Sibel Ahi directly at 610-568-1473.

International Student Handbook

For an more in-depth look at life on campus for an international student, please read our handbook.


Testing Information - English Proficiency

Who has to show proof of English Proficiency?

An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English Proficiency. 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

Acceptable scores:

Minimum Score Requirements:

  • TOEFL: 75 or higher for the Internet-based test.
  • IELTS: 5.5 or higher.
  • DUOLINGO: 95 or higher.
  • PTE: 60 or higher
Can I send a photocopy of the TOEFL test result?

No. When taking the TOEFL or IELTS test, arrange for the official score report to be sent to Alvernia University from the testing service.

Where should test scores be sent?


International Admissions Office
Alvernia University Undergraduate Admissions
400 Saint Bernardine Street
Reading, Pennsylvania, 19607, USA


International Admissions Office
Alvernia University Graduate & Adult Ed. Admissions
400 Saint Bernardine Street
Reading, Pennsylvania, 19607, USA

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.

-Spring enrollment: due October 1st

-Fall enrollment: due May 1st.

I took 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 above question). 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


-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


Testing Information - SAT/ACT (Undergraduate Students)

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.

Where do the test scores need to be sent?


International Admissions Office
Alvernia University Undergraduate Admissions
400 Saint Bernardine Street
Reading, Pennsylvania, 19607, USA


International Admissions Office
Alvernia University Graduate & Adult Ed. Admissions
400 Saint Bernardine Street
Reading, Pennsylvania, 19607, USA


Testing Information - GRE/MAT (Graduate Students)

Is the GRE/MAT required for admission as a graduate student?

Some programs require these exams:

-The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program requires students to submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The school code to have scores forwarded to PTCAS on behalf of Alvernia is 1619.

-The Master of Business Administration (MBA) Programs only require GRE or GMAT scores if the applicant’s GPA is below 3.0

-The Entry-Level Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) Program requires students to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for students that have been out of school for 5 or more years prior to applying to the program.

Where do the test scores need to be sent?

Alvernia University

ATTN: Graduate & Adult Ed. Admissions
400 Saint Bernardine Street
Reading, Pennsylvania, 19607, USA

What is Alvernia’s GRE Institution Code?

Alvernia’s GRE Institution Code is 2431 for all programs other than DPT. This allows the test scores to be sent directly to our admissions team.


Immigration Documentation

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.



Do you have scholarships for international students?

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


Graduate: No, there are no graduate scholarships for international students.


Are there any Graduate Assistantships available to International Students?

Yes, we have an opportunity for students to apply for Graduate Assistantships (GA). GAs work within our University departments and commit to working within their offices for 20 hours per week. GAs also have their tuition costs covered in exchange for working as well as being paid hourly. Below is the link to one of our opportunities offered to International Students.


What are the requirements to apply for Scholarships?

Undergrad only: 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?

Undergrad only: 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?

Undergrad only: 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.


Financial Aid

Can I apply for financial aid as an International Student?

International Students are not eligible for federal financial aid.


Tuition & Fees

What is the cost and tuition fees to attend?

Our cost of attendance is listed here.


Proof of Financial Support

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


(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.New accordion content

What is the minimum required amount to show on the bank statement?

At Alvernia University ‘cost of attendance’ encompasses tuition, room, board, fees, cost of books, cost of living, health insurance, travel and personal expenses.


Life on Campus

Are there other International Students attending AU? Where are they from?

Students from Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Turkey, and Vietnam are currently studying at Alvernia University.


International Students