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International Students Admissions Welcome

Did you know that there are nearly 70 international students attending Saint Francis University representing 35 countries from all over the world. If you wish to study in the United States, SFU is a great option to consider.  

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  • A Home Away from Home

    Saint Francis has been helping international students reach higher and go farther than they ever dreamed they could. Our students have gone on to become physicians, teachers, journalists, engineers, accountants, chemists, and so much more. We have a dedicated staff of international admissions professionals ready to help you find your place at Saint Francis.

  • Intensive English Program

    Intensive English Program at SFU

    The Intensive English Program at Saint Francis University is designed for international students to prepare for undergraduate or graduate studies at an American university by offering courses for English for academic purposes (EAP). The IEP is a member of English USA, the American Association of Intensive English Programs.

    The highlight of the IEP

    • Small class size
    • ESL and OASIS tutoring hours
    • Literature and Discussion Circle
    • Global Buddies with domestic American students
    • Well-structured curriculum and organized program
    • Training in academic English skills to satisfy SFU language proficiency requirements
    • Trained and experienced faculty with a master’s degree in TESOL or related field or a higher degree in a related field.

    About SFU

    Saint Francis University is one of the oldest Catholic universities in the U.S.A., and the oldest dedicated to Franciscan values. Our University is an inclusive learning community that welcomes all people. Saint Francis University is located in Loretto, Pennsylvania, two hours (80 miles) east of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a scenic mountaintop location on a 600-acre campus. Attractive areas include Washington D.C., Baltimore, Niagara Falls, New York City, and many more to visit. 

    Admission to SFU

    • Option 1

    If you do not meet the English proficiency requirement, you will need to study at the IEP in Level 3, 4, or Level 5/International OASIS. You can choose to apply for the SFU Intensive English program only and decide later whether to apply to a university or return home. Successful completion of the program is the only English requirement to proceed to SFU. Depending on your English proficiency, it may take one or two semesters to be fully matriculated to the credit-bearing transition level into university courses.

    Intensive English Program Only Application

    • Option 2

    If you have a proof of English proficiency (IELTS: 6.5, iTEP: 4.0+, TOEFL IBT: 80, TOEFL PBT: 550), you don’t need to take the IEP. Apply directly to SFU as an international student. You will be admitted to the university.

    However, you may be recommended to take GEN 121, 122, and/or 123 depending on your skills in English needed. The international students taking the GEN courses and major courses will be placed in the International OASIS (Opportunities for Academic Success in Studies) program for the first year. This bridge program provides extra support for the academic and social transition to college to reinforce important academic skills. Please see more information about the OASIS

    Placement Testing

    Upon arrival, students will take the iTEP Academic Core, give a writing sample, and participate in an oral interview. Those scores will be combined to place students into the best-suited level. Students can take the iTEP and send the scores with their application for advanced placement into the program.

    If you are academically admissible to Level 5/OASIS, you can complete your English language training and fully matriculate directly into undergraduate or graduate program at SFU without the required TOEFL/iTEP/IELTS score.

    SFU International 4.0 + 80 6.5 C1
    Level 5 /OASIS 3.6-4.0 65-79 5.5-6 B2
    Level 4 3.0 - 3.5 53-64 4.5-5.4 B1
    Level 3 2.0 - 2.9 41-52 4 A2

    Programs in the IEP

    • Intensive English Program(IEP)

    All levels meet for 18 hours of classroom instruction. Currently, we do not offer courses for Level 2 low intermediate and Level 1 beginning. Fall/Spring: 16 weeks; Summer: 8 weeks


    • Level 3: Intermediate
    • Level 4: High intermediate
    • Level 5: Advanced / International OASIS: The conditional IEP Bridge program to the university


    • Listening/Speaking
    • Reading/Vocabulary
    • Writing/Grammar

    English for Specific Purposes (ESP) Program

    The special programs are available to meet specific needs of a group of students or employees who wish to enhance communication skills and target language proficiency in English. A customized English program will be implemented as the curriculum is developed with the effort from the coordinator, ESL instructors, content instructors, and facilitators. 

    English Summer Camp(2-4-week program)

    The English Summer Camp is a fun and culture-learning oriented short-term program. This can collaborate with SFU STEM Summer Academies led by SFU faculty in June and July. International high school students participate in one or two camps learning with American high school students and take intensive English instruction and cultural exploration for another two weeks. For accommodation for housing, please contact the Office of Residence Life at 814-472-3029. STEM Summer Academies Schedules are available on


    Arrival and Orientation Dates

      Arrival Days Orientation Days
    Fall 2019 Semester  August August
    Spring 2020 Semester  January January
    Summer 2020 Semester May May

    * Students must arrive on arrival days. Students should email with their flight plans and travel information to ensure a ride from the airport. Orientation is required for all incoming international students.


    Dates of Program

      Program DatesPriority Application Deadlines*
    Fall 2019 Semester  August    - December April 1
    Spring 2020 Semester  January  – May Oct  1
    Summer 2020 Semester May    - August March 1

    * Applications after the deadline may be considered individually on a space available basis, as time permits for housing and visa processing. Program dates above are listed for class semester plus mid-semester intakes for those wanting to come early or late.


    Costs (Semester – 16 weeks)

    Full-time Tuition  
    Books (estimate) *1  
    Student Services * 2  
    Residence Hall *3  
    Meal Plan  
    Health Insurance *4  
    Approximate Total  

    Fees may change without notice.

    1. For mid-semester intakes, tuition, housing, and fees are prorated.
    2. Student services fee includes technology fee, campus health services, placement testing, and express mailing of visa documents.
    3. Resident halls and meal fees are approximate and vary depending single of double occupancy. Fees may change per semester.
    4. Students must enroll in SFU health insurance throughout the duration of their studies. The fee above is subject to change.

    IEP Costs (year 2018-2019)

    Full-time Tuition $14,144
    Living Expenses $12,290
    Books/Insurance $2716
    Total $29,160

    The American Educational System

    If you're considering attending Saint Francis University, you'll want to examine all your options carefully, and study all the terms and requirements. The following are resources we think might assist you in the transition process. Good luck.

    American Life


    • TOEFL - Everything from online practice tests, to information on how to register for a test in your home country.
    • IELTS
    • SAT
    • ACT
    • IB Exams
    Visa Information

    Getting your VISA to study in the U.S.A. takes time but can be a surprisingly easy procedure and well worth the effort. The number of student visas issued by the United States has grown significantly in the last year in many countries.

    Once you have been accepted in a U.S. program, you will complete the official paperwork that permits you to apply for a visa to enter and study in the U.S.A.  While the application process for a student or exchange visitor visa can be confusing, hundreds of thousands of students are able to meet the requirements for a visa each year.

    Visa Definitions

    The U.S.A. issues different types of visas to students.

    A full-time student would receive an F-1 or M-1 visa.

    Your spouse and children would receive F-2 or M-2 visas.

    An Exchange Visitor would receive a J-1 visa.

    Exchange Visitors come to the U.S.A. for consultation, training, research or teaching, or for an approved Au Pair or temporary work position.

    After a college, university, or English language school has accepted you for admission to full-time study, the school will send you a document called an I-20 form, which is the application for an F-1 visa.

    If you will be an Exchange Visitor, the organization or U.S. Government agency that is sponsoring you will send you a DS-2019 form, which is the application for a J-1 visa.

    Visa Information


    Office of International Student Programs

    The mission of the Office of International Student Programs (ISP) is to welcome international students from around the world, and ensure their needs are met throughout their experiences in our Intensive English Program and the rest of their academic careers at SFU.

    The ISP works with SFU students, faculty and staff to support the overall success of our International Students. International Students at SFU receive personal and direct attention from the point of applying, arriving, orientation, on-campus housing, special trips and activities, and more.

    Currently the ISP is recruiting international students from around the world, searching for students of excellence from diverse backgrounds. We are also offering generous, new International Excellence scholarship awards! We are currently admitting students into our Intensive English Program as well as our traditional Undergraduate and Graduate programs.


    The Laptop Program

    Laptop Program

    All full-time undergraduate students are required to purchase a laptop through the Laptop Program, which grants students access to the most up-to-date academic software, Internet, email, and printing services. 

    Learn more about the Laptop Program