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How to Apply

ECC is committed to diversity and inclusion and welcomes applications from students seeking to study full-time in the U.S. on an F-1 or J-1 visa. Our goal is to support your educational dreams whether you want to earn a U.S. degree, transfer to a top university, or improve your English. Applying to ECC as an international student is easy, and we have more than 120 degree and certificate options to choose from. View Local Housing Information - PDF for more information on local housing options, finding a roommate, and furniture rentals.


New International Students

  • Apply online and upload all required documents through the online application system.

The following documents must be submitted to be considered for admission to ECC as an international student:

  1. Completed application for admission.
  2. Signed International Student Financial Agreement, which certifies your ability to meet expenses for your first year of studies.
  3. Pay a $50 processing fee.
    • You can pay online via international wire transfer via Flywire™ wire transfer, by check/money order drawn on U.S. funds payable to Elgin Community College, cash, or over the phone by credit card by calling Student Accounts at +1-847-214-7380. Note: You must have your ECC student ID to pay the processing fee. Your ID will be sent to you once your application for admission is processed. 
  4. Evidence of Financial Support showing at least $24,650 for one year of study. 
    • The estimated cost of attendance for 2024-2025 is $24,650:
      • Tuition and fees: $9,655
      • Living Expenses: $12,610
      • Other (books and mandatory health insurance): $2,385
      • Total: $24,650
    • U.S. federal regulations require you to certify your ability to meet all expenses for your first year of studies. All prospective F-1 students must submit financial documentation certifying access to funding for the duration of their studies pursuant to 8 CFR § 214.2, regardless of whether they are living with friends or family or have a financial sponsor. Students must submit an official English-language bank statement or letter on bank letterhead certifying the account holder's name, current balance, and statement date. Certification must show available funds for first-year expenses at ECC, excluding travel expenses. Certification of funds must be dated within six months of issuing the I-20. You may submit financial documentation electronically. Tuition may increase annually. Attendance costs are estimated; your individual costs may be higher based on your unique situation. 
    • You must certify an additional $4,000 per dependent for dependents traveling to the U.S. on an F-2 visa. 
  5. Affidavit of Sponsorship
    • Anyone contributing financially to your education (including family members) must complete an Affidavit of Sponsorship.
  6. Transcripts from High School/Secondary School
    • Transcripts must be certified and submitted in English; translation or evaluation services may require the student to pay an additional fee to an outside credential evaluation service.
    • If you haven't completed high school/secondary education, you may apply if you meet the following requirements:
      • Age 17 years or older by intended start date at ECC
      • Submission of high school/secondary transcript showing completion of at least 11 years of secondary education (equivalent to completion of junior year in high school).
      • If you have completed post-secondary courses (university or college), we strongly encourage you to submit official, English-translated copies of transcripts for possible credit. You must have your transcripts evaluated by a college-approved transcript evaluation service.
  7. Photocopy of Passport. Include photocopies of the biography page and the identity page with your photograph.
    • If you are currently in the U.S., please include a copy of your electronic I-94 record and your current visa or visa stamp.
    • If you have applied for a status change, please submit a copy of any I-797 forms received from USCIS.
    • You must show proof of age through a valid birth date on your passport or official government-issued identification. You must be at least 17 years old by the start of classes.

Transfer Students

If you are transferring from a school in the U.S. to ECC, you must also submit the following:

  1. Transfer Release and Verification Form - PDF (if applicable). If you are transferring from another school in the United States, ask your school to complete the Transfer Release and Verification Form.
  2. Copy of visa
  3. Copy of most recent I-20 from your transfer-out school.
  4. Transcripts from the current institution. To apply for transfer credit, you must submit your transcripts to our Records department for evaluation and complete the Transcript Evaluation Request Form.

Students Seeking Reinstatement

If you are currently in the U.S. and out of status on your F-1 visa, ECC may be able to help you regain your F-1 status. USCIS allows F-1 students who have fallen out of status to apply for reinstatement if certain conditions are met. Applications from students seeking reinstatement are accepted on a case-by-case basis throughout the year for enrollment at the next available program start date. Please contact the Center for Global Engagement at +1-847-214-7809 for specific information and advice related to your individual situation. Once you have met with a DSO at ECC and received confirmation that you are eligible for reinstatement, please complete the admissions steps outlined above and submit the Reinstatement Application - PDF. You'll have to submit additional documentation to USCIS.

Students Seeking a Change of Status to F-1 Visa

If you are currently in the United States on a non-immigrant visa, you may be eligible to change your status to F-1 without exiting the U.S. Applications from individuals seeking a change of status are accepted on a case-by-case basis throughout the year for enrollment at the next available program start date. To be eligible for a change of status supported by ECC, you must:

  • be in the U.S. for at least 90 days;

  • live within District 509 and provide a local address where you will reside;

  • work directly with and submit proof in the form of a letter or email from a licensed U.S. attorney who has agreed to support your case.

Please get in touch with the Center for Global Engagement at +1-847-214-7809 for specific information and advice related to your individual situation. You will be required to meet with a DSO at ECC and receive confirmation that you are eligible for a change of status. Before you apply online, you may begin your Change of Status application online or complete the Change of Status Application - PDF.

English Proficiency Requirements

You don't need to be proficient in English to be accepted to ECC, and we don't require the TOEFL or IELTS. However, if you're not proficient, you'll be issued an I-20 for placement into our Intensive English Program. When you arrive, you will take an English language proficiency test to be placed into the appropriate level of the Intensive English Program.

Students who believe they satisfy the English language proficiency requirement as required by federal law must present proof of such proficiency by submitting one of the following:

  • a minimum TOEFL score of 197 on the computer-based version, 527-530 on the paper-based exam, or 71 on the Internet-based exam; or
  • a minimum IELTS band score of 6.0; or
  • a minimum Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) score of 50 or
  • a minimum score of 60 on E3PT; or
  • a minimum score of 95 on the Duolingo English Test; or
  • completion of ELS Language School level 109 with a B or better; or
  • completion of the EF UPiBT test with a minimum score of 50; or
  • a minimum score equivalent to the B2 level of LanguageCert;
  • graduation from a high school where English was the mode of instruction or
  • graduation from a post-secondary institution with the equivalent of a bachelor's degree where English was the mode of instruction or
  • completion of college-level English composition with a grade of C or better; or
  • satisfactory score on the ACT or SAT exam for placement into ENG 101, see Testing Scores Summary for most updated scores, or
  • completion of the ECC Intensive English Program.

If you do not submit proof of English language proficiency, you will need to take the test during orientation week before registering for classes for which you qualify. Many students enroll in the Intensive English Program before matriculating into their degree or certificate program. 

As an incoming international student, you'll take placement tests in Writing, Reading, and Math to assess your skill levels and place you in the appropriate classes.

International students attending ECC can choose from various housing options, including the International Student Homestay Program, a private apartment, an extended-stay hotel, or living with family or friends. You must be at least age 18 or older to rent an apartment or hotel (in most situations).

ECC offers an International Student Homestay Program for full-time international students and scholars interested in living with a local family. To apply for the homestay program:

  1. Read, complete, and sign the ISHP Application for International Students - PDF. You may begin your homestay application online, or you can complete the paper application.
  2. Read and sign the ISHP Program Information, Policies, and Agreement for International Students. You may sign the agreement online, or you can sign the paper agreement.
  3. Submit a letter of introduction with a current photograph.
  4. Apply online at, by email to, by fax to +1-847-214-7785, or by postal mail to:
    • Elgin Community College
      Center for Global Engagement
      1700 Spartan Drive
      Elgin, IL 60123-7193
      United States of America
  5. Once a homestay placement has been made, pay a one-time, non-refundable placement fee of USD 100.00 before arriving in the homestay. Payments can be made in person at ECC Student Accounts, online at, or via international bank wire through Flywire at Flywire: Delivering the Most Important and Complex Payments | Flywire (if the student is outside the U.S.).

Once we receive your completed application materials, they will be reviewed by a DSO for acceptance. Once you are fully accepted to ECC, an acceptance package will be emailed to you. Your acceptance email will contain the following official documents:

  • Acceptance letter to ECC
  • Form I-20

Your acceptance package will be sent to the email noted on your application. Please be sure to check your email regularly. 

ECC will mail your acceptance package to the address indicated on your admissions application only if requested in writing. Per SEVP guidance, your acceptance package and Form I-20 can only be mailed directly to you, the student, your dependents (if applying for F-2 status), or, for minors, your parents or guardian.

You must present yourself at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country to apply for the appropriate visa. You will need the documents sent to you in your acceptance package so be sure to keep the documents safe! The U.S. Department of State provides information to international students on preparing for the visa interview. You must also pay the I-901/SEVIS fee online prior to your visa interview.

We encourage you to utilize the free resources provided by EducationUSA, the U.S. Department of State network of over 430 international student advising centers in more than 175 countries and territories.

There are many enrollment steps that you can complete remotely prior to arriving in the U.S. Please log in to the secure International Student and Scholar portal at using your accessECC Portal credentials. You can also refer to the Enrollment Checklist to complete many enrollment steps remotely.

Once your visa has been approved, please email us at so we can plan for your arrival. You should make plans to arrive in the U.S. at least 24 hours prior to the start of orientation. Refer to your acceptance letter for specific arrival information.

Please note that students in the International Student Homestay Program may only move into the homestay the Saturday or Sunday immediately prior to the start of orientation. If you arrive before your homestay is available, you are responsible for your own housing and transportation. Please review some International Student Application Info Pamphlet - PDF to prepare you for life in the U.S. and in Elgin.

Application Deadlines

New, initial students outside the U.S.

We accept applications for international student admission on a rolling basis throughout the year. New, initial students outside the U.S. should apply by the priority deadline to allow time for visa processing. Students should plan accordingly to meet these deadlines. Please note that late applications received from new, initial students outside the U.S. will be deferred to the next available session date.

Program Start Date Application Deadline
August (Fall semester academic courses begin; Fall Intensive English Program Session I begin) July 1
September (Fall Intensive English Program Session II begin) August 1
October (Fall Intensive English Program Session III begin) September 1
January (Spring semester academic courses begin; Spring Intensive English Program Session I begin) December 1
February (Spring Intensive English Program Session II begin) December 15
March (Spring Intensive English Program Session III begin) February 1
June (Summer semester academic courses begin; Summer Intensive English Program begin) April 15

Students in the U.S. Transferring from a U.S. Institution

Transfer students in the U.S. on a valid F-1 visa and in Active status in SEVIS may apply for admission up to two weeks prior to the start of classes. Please contact the Center for Global Engagement at +1-847-214-7809. for orientation program information based on your program start date and intended program of study.


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