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Frequently Asked Questions



We have five 8-week sessions each year. These sessions typically start in January, March, May, August, and October. For the most current program dates, please see our Dates & Costs page.

Classes are held Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 8:20 AM – 1:40 PM. There are four 70-minute class periods on each day. You can study reading, writing, grammar, and listening/speaking.

Students on an F-1 visa must follow certain attendance rules to keep their visa status. If you miss too many class periods, you may be dismissed from the program. Being absent can also affect the grades that you receive. It is best if you can attend the entire eight-week session. Please review the ELI Student Policy for more information.

We currently offer eight levels of English instruction. You will take a placement test at the orientation to determine your English level. If your level is too low, we may not be able to provide classes for you. To avoid this situation, it is recommended that students have studied English for at least three years before they apply to our program.

For the most current tuition costs, please see our Dates & Costs page. Students must pay tuition on or before 4:30 PM on Friday of the first week of the session. If you have a government scholarship, you must provide the ELI office with your official Financial Guarantee letter by this deadline. If you do not pay your tuition by the deadline, you will be dismissed from the program. A payment plan option is available for those who qualify. With the payment plan, you may pay your tuition in two half-payments. 

ELI does not offer scholarships for our Intensive English Program courses. Students with proof of Lawful Permanent Resident status or U.S. citizenship can receive a 15% tuition discount. The University of Utah offers a tuition reduction program for full-time employees and their immediate family members (a spouse or child). Visit the human resources website for more details about tuition reduction.

The application process you must go through depends on your visa type or immigration status. (Learn more about the F-1 application process.)  Apply to  study with or without an an F-1 visa. Please submit your application at least three months before the session you want to attend if you are planning to get an F-1 visa. If you submit your application too late, you may not have enough time to get your visa and make the necessary arrangements.

Please visit our After You Receive Your I-20 page and the U.S. Visa Exchange  Website for more information.

You must take an English placement test before you can begin your first session. This test helps us to know your English level so that we can place you in the appropriate classes. You will receive emails about the time and location of the testing date after you submit your application. After you take the placement test, you will attend an informational orientation session to learn the policies and expectations of ELI. The placement test costs $50. This fee is included with the orientation costs for F-1 visa students.

You must make your own housing arrangements. ELI students may not stay in the University of Utah dormitories during the spring and fall semesters. ELI students may only stay in the dormitories during the summer semester. There are several other housing options, including:

 Please visit our Housing page for more information.

ELI students with an F-1 visa may only work on the University of Utah campus for up to 20 hours per week. It is against your visa rules to work off-campus and to work more than 20 hours in a week. The ELI office staff must provide you with a letter verifying your student status before you can get a job. You can request this letter after you have attended ELI classes for at least two weeks.

We typically have between 100 and 150 students each session. There are usually between 8 and 18 students in each class. The majority of our students are from countries in Asia, Central and South America, and the Middle East. The University of Utah is part of the #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign that recognizes the immense value of students, staff, and faculty from all backgrounds on campus. ELI offers a safe and friendly environment where all are welcome to learn! 

You must earn a minimum of "C+" or 2.3 GPA for each course. You must complete four level 8 courses in order to graduate. If you successfully complete level 7 and 8 courses, you will receive a Certificate of Graduation. After successfully completing Level 8 with a "B" average or higher, you may apply to the University of Utah as an undergraduate without a TOEFL score. See the ELI graduation requirements.

You may apply to the University of Utah at any time during your studies at ELI. If you successfully complete level 8 ELI courses with an overall GPA of a “B” average or higher, you can enter the University of Utah without a TOEFL or IELTS score.

To apply for a graduate program, you must contact the graduate department directly to inquire about their admission requirements. Admission to the ELI is not the same as admission to the University of Utah. You must apply directly to the University of Utah and complete their application requirements. For more information, visit:

Full-time students who need an I-20 must submit these documents:

  1. Student’s passport
  2. Bank Verification Form. This form must show that you or your sponsor has the funds to support your studies. The completed form must be less than three months old at the time you apply.
  3. Financial Responsibility Form. This form must show that you or your sponsor has the funds to support your studies. The completed form must be less than three months old at the time you apply.

Students who do not need an I-20 only need to complete the application on our website. They do not need to submit any documents.

You can email, fax, or mail your supporting documents. Email is the quickest option. Please submit only original documents or scanned copies of the documents. We cannot accept photographs of documents.

Fax: 801-585-9449

Mailing address: 540 Arapeen Drive, Room 110, Salt Lake City, UT 84108

Yes, you can be sponsored by a friend, family member, government, or organization. Your sponsor must provide their bank account information on our Bank Verification Form and sign the Financial Responsibility Form indicating that they agree to sponsor you. If you have a financial guarantee letter from your government, you can apply with the financial guarantee for admission purposes only. However, you must submit the official financial guarantee by the tuition deadline. The regular tuition deadlines apply to all sponsored students.

After we receive all of your application documents, it takes about 1-2 weeks to review your application and create an I-20. Your acceptance package will include:

  • Immigration and Naturalization Service Form I-20
  • An official ELI acceptance letter

You can receive your acceptance package in one of these ways:

  1. Regular mail – This option is free. It typically takes 2-4 weeks for your I-20 to arrive. There is no tracking number for regular mail shipments.
  2. Express mail – This option costs between $40 and $70 depending on where you live. It takes 3-5 business days for your I-20 to arrive. A tracking number is provided so that you know where your package is at all times.
  3. Your friend or family member can pick up your acceptance package from our office.

If you think your I-20 has been lost in the mail, please contact us as soon as possible.

Once you have received your I-20, you can apply for an F-1 student visa. Please follow these steps:
  1. Complete the online visa application, Form DS-160 
  2. Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee 
  3. Schedule a visa interview at your local U.S. embassy or consulate Be sure to bring all required documents to the interview with you.

After you arrive at ELI, we can advise you about keeping your visa status and I-20 up to date.

ELI students can take advantage of numerous resources on the University of Utah campus, such as the gym, library, and outdoor recreation services. Visit our Campus Resources page for more information.

Our intensive English courses are only taught during the day. The evening classes we offer are not allowed for students in the USA on an F-1 visa. For the community, we partner with Zions Bank to provide the Zions Evening ESL Program. This is a 15-week course for community members who would like to improve their English skills. Classes are held Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 6:00 – 8:00 PM. The tuition costs $200 + $45 for the textbook. 
Last Updated: 6/20/24