New student FAQs

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What is the minimum language proficiency required to apply to ELI?

There is no minimum language requirement to study at ELI.

What is the minimum age required for ELI programs?

Students must be at least 17 years old on the first day of their program.

How do I apply to the ELI program?

  1. Submit your completed ESL application
  2. Pay application fee
  3. Receive notice of acceptance into program
  4. Complete ESL, I-20 application, submit with supporting (financial) documents – I20.pdf
  5. Your information will be submitted to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), which will issue your Certificate of Student Eligibility (Form I-20).
  6. Pay a nonrefundable SEVIS fee.
  7. Confirm acceptance to the program.
  8. Pay a housing deposit (if applicable)
  9. Make an appointment with nearest American consulate to apply for your student F-1 visa
  10. Be on time, prepared for your visa interview- pass the interview
  11. Make airline reservations
  12. Submit your airport pickup request
  13. Welcome to the ELI at Rider University

The application and student visa application process takes time, so please plan ahead of time!

How do I get a visa?

You can start the application process for a student visa online. For any questions about the process, please contact us at [email protected].

Can I study on a tourist visa?

No, full-time students must attend our programs on a student visa (unless the student is a US citizen, permanent resident, or has another similar situation).

Do I need health insurance?

Each student is required to have health insurance and will automatically be enrolled in the university health insurance plan. If you have your own health insurance, you can waive the university health insurance by filling out an online form.

Can I extend my study after I am in the US?

Yes, once you are in the United States we can assist you in extending your I-20 so that you may lengthen your study period.



What do I do when I arrive?

If you arrive after business hours and will live on campus, please report to Public Safety. They can contact the night staff to check you into your dorm room.

If you live off campus, you will receive information with Orientation dates and location. Please plan to attend the 2-day orientation, which is usually the Thursday & Friday before classes begin.

Why do I need to attend Orientation?

Orientation includes assessment placement testing, introduction to the campus and student life, signing in with your DSO, off-campus shopping trips, setting up banking, and meeting other students and staff.



When should I arrive?

Please plan to arrive for Orientation, which is usually scheduled the Thursday & Friday before classes begin.

Where do I go when I arrive?

If you arrive before or after scheduled airport pickup, click here for the ELI address and campus map. Other transportation options to get to campus from all of the major airports include Uber and Lyft, train, and bus. If you arrive after business hours and will live on campus, please report to Public Safety. They can contact the night staff to check you in to your dorm room. If you are a local student, please arrive for the Orientation. The first day of the session, you will go to the ELI.

What should I bring with me on my first day?

On the first day, you only need to bring your passport, I-20, visa, and a pen or pencil.

When will I know my schedule? In the IEP and IPAS, you will be tested during orientation. At the end of that period, you will have your schedule. Students will know their schedule for all other programs.



Where will I live while I study at the ELI?

Rider has on-campus housing options for students which allows for the maximum involvement with the campus community. Apartment and off-campus opportunities are also available, but students will need to arrange for transportation to the their classes on the campus.

Tuition and Money

Tuition and Money

Do I have to pay tuition and fees?

Yes. You must pay your tuition and fees before you can start classes. Choose the program below to see the tuition and fees:

Do you offer scholarships or financial aid?

Students who study in language programs are not eligible for scholarships or financial aid. Please visit EducationUSA to learn more about scholarships available for study in the United States.

How and when do I pay?

You will need to submit a $50.00 Application Fee with your application. The remainder of the tuition and fees will be due at the start of your program. Tuition can be paid by wire transfer, check, money order, or cash.

Do I need to buy ELI medical insurance?

Yes, it is University policy that all full-time students on F-1 or J-1 student visas must purchase the insurance through the ELI. Students not on an F-1 or J-1 visa will need to provide proof of medical insurance. Each student is required to have health insurance and will automatically be enrolled in the university health insurance plan. If you have your own health insurance, you can waive the university health insurance by filling out an online form.

How do I set up a bank account in the US?

A representative from a local bank will be available to help you set up a bank account during the orientation.

If I drop a course, can I get a refund?

The refund policy is as follows:

Refund Schedule 100% 80% 60% 0%
Drop Date Before classes officially begin. On the first day of class. On the second day to fifth day of class. From the sixth day and after.


Academics and Classroom

Academics and Classroom

Will I take a placement test?

Yes. All students will be tested either online or during orientation to determine placement. We will put you in a level according to the score of that test and the levels that are available. If you have any questions or concerns about your placement, please speak to the Director of the program.

Are ELP levels equivalent to CEFR levels, TOEFL scores, or IELTS scores?

We have eight levels ranging from Beginner to Pre-Academic at the ELI. Each of our levels corresponds to a range of proficiency levels within the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). CEFR equivalents are loosely equated with a range of TOEFL and IELTS scores.

How long is each level?

During the spring and fall semesters each level is 14 weeks, divided into 7-week sessions. During the summer each level is 12 weeks, divided into 6-week modules.

How many students are in each class?

Classes typically have 12-15 students, with a maximum of 20 students.

Will I need to buy books? Yes. You will need to purchase a book for each of your classes, including elective classes. Students purchase books at the beginning of each level. This means that students are required to buy new books every time they change levels.

If I come for only six or seven weeks, do I have to buy the books?

Yes. Each book is designed to be used for 14 or 12 weeks. If you choose to stay less time, you are still required to be prepared for class with the books you need.

What will my daily class schedule be?

Students are enrolled in six classes for a total of eighteen hours of classes per week from Monday through Friday during daytime hours. Each class will meet three hours per week either twice a week or three times a week.

Which classes will I take?

You will take the four core classes of reading, writing, listening and speaking, and grammar from Monday to Friday. You can choose an elective class or classes which may vary in different levels. These classes could include American Culture, Idioms, Current Events, pronunciation or TOEFL preparation, to name a few.

Do I receive credit for taking an ESL course?

Although you will receive a transcript for the courses you complete, ESL courses are non-credit. Students enrolled in the IPAS program will take a combination of non-credit ESL courses and credit-bearing courses.

How will I be graded?

Your teachers will give you a letter grade based on your work in class at the end of each seven-week course. You can always access your grades through our learning management system, Canvas. The minimum grade to pass is a C (70%).

What will happen if I fail my classes?

If you fail your classes, you will have to repeat the level until successful completion. How else will I be evaluated? Students will have the option to take an Institutional TOEFL exam to measure language progress. This exam will help to determine student progress and can be used for matriculation at the college.

Will I get a certificate after I finish studying at the ELI?

All students can request a transcript of their grades which includes a record of their courses.

Am I required to attend classes?

Students studying on an F-1 andJ-1 visa are required to attend school full time. ELI attendance policy allows two absences per semester for a class that meets two hours per week. For a class that meets three hours per week, a student is allowed three absences per semester. Lateness counts!! If you are late 3 times for any class, it counts as one absence.

What if I am sick and cannot attend class?

If you are sick, you must go to the Health Center (the student health services on campus) to get a note to excuse you from class. This note should be given to the Director of the program and your teacher. All unexcused absences will be calculated and applied towards the minimum hours (80% of total class hours) required to maintain your F1 status.

Will my classes ever be canceled?

We may cancel classes in the case of severe weather conditions or any other unforeseen circumstance. Announcements are made in class and posted on our website. Students should sign up for Rider Alerts so they can receive important school messages via text.

Student Life

Student Life

How do I get my student ID?

You can get your Bronc ID card during Orientation.

Will I have a chance to interact with the college and outside community?

Yes! We offer many opportunities for students to interact with other American students and the whole college community. International students have access to all college facilities, clubs/societies on campus, sports and much more. Rider has over 150 clubs on campus and ELI students can join them free of charge. We also offer many off-campus trips so students can explore New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC. This is a great opportunity to connect with Rider students and improve your language skills!

Can I get a driver's license? How else can I get around?

If you plan to get a driver’s license, visit your DSO on campus to get the paperwork you will need to begin the process. Follow this link to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission for more information.

Rider students will often use Uber or Lyft for quick transportation to off campus activities. The campus shuttle is free with daily stops to the Quakerbridge Mall and local shops and train stations on weekends. The train goes directly into New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington, DC. New York and Philadelphia airports are within an hour of the campus.

Can I get a job?

Students on an F-1 visa may work part-time (up to 20 hours) on campus. However, ELI students need to compete with Rider University students for on-campus jobs. It therefore can be quite difficult for students to find on-campus jobs during their studies at ELI.

When do we get a break?

Check the calendar for holidays, breaks, and the last day of class.