International Student Admission
We welcome qualified applications from international settings. Please read the following carefully to understand all the information that is necessary to obtain a visa to study in the United States.
In order to issue an I-20, Eastern Mennonite Seminary needs to know that students are able to meet the financial obligations of studies and living expenses in the United States.
When you apply for your visa, you will also be required to produce documentation of your ability to pay for your studies and living expenses. The information below will help guide you as you consider whether you can afford to study in the United States and as you prepare documentation for your visa interview.
Expenses for one year
Tuition and fees for study can be found at www.emu.edu/seminary/tuition.
Housing – $7800
Utilities – $1400
Insurance – Student Under Age 26: $1292; Student Age 26 or Older: $2377; Dependent/Spouse: $1670 each
Text books – $1500
Food – $2500
Incidentals – $1200
For a spouse and each child add an additional $4500
I try to estimate on the high side for living expenses. It is certainly possible to live on less. Housing and utilities are the most flexible expenses. The seminary does not arrange housing for international students. However, we may be able to put you contact with those who have housing options.
International students must provide proof of insurance. If verification of other insurance is provided, school-sponsored insurance listed above may be waived.
International students may work while on campus, but job opportunities and the number of hours a student is eligible to work are limited. A student should not consider employment as a means of fulfilling financial obligations.
Financial aid for international students
Unfortunately at this time Eastern Mennonite Seminary does not offer many international students scholarships. There is currently a long waiting list for the international scholarship. To get on the waiting list you need to complete a degree-seeking application and be accepted. To receive an application, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Once you receive your acceptance letter let the admissions office know that you would like to be placed on the waiting list. The scholarship covers books and tuition only. You will still be responsible for living expenses. You may want to begin saving personally and exploring options for sponsorship.
Some students are able to fund studies through personal savings, sponsors, family and friends. There are also outside scholarships available for international students. Contact the admissions office to receive a list of scholarships that may be available to you.
International students who apply for studies at Eastern Mennonite Seminary must document their language competency. All studies at EMS are conducted in English. We expect students to be prepared for graduate-level writing, speaking and listening.
Applicants whose native language is other than English must demonstrate competency in English in one of the following ways:
- a score of 550 on the paper version or 80 on the internet-based version or higher on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The institutional code for having scores sent directly to EMS is 5181.
- several years of study in English
- a year of successful study in EMU’s Intensive English Program.
The admissions office may request a phone interview to additionally demonstrate competency in English.
Students who are competent in written and spoken English but need additional help with technical, theological, or biblical terminology may request a tutor. On some occasions credit may be given for studying with a tutor.
- Apply: The first step in the application process is to complete all necessary application forms. The application can be found here www.emu.edu/seminary/application/degree-seeking.
- Receive your I-20 and Admission letter: Once your application has been received and reviewed we may extend an admissions offer to you. If accepted for admission you will receive an admission letter and I-20 form in the post that indicates you are eligible for a student visa.
- Pay the SEVIS fee: Visit https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/ and pay the mandatory U.S. Student Exchange Visitor (SEVIS) I-901 processing fee (approximately $200). This fee is collected by the U.S. Government and supports an automated system that keeps track of students and exchange visitors. You will need to have your I-20 with you when you pay this fee online. Be sure the personal information on you I-20 is correct and matches your passport information.
- Schedule your visa interview: Once your I-901 fee has been paid, contact your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate
to schedule your visa interview. There will be a visa interview fee of approximately
$140. Visa applications can take anywhere between 1 and 120 days, and approval times
vary just as much. Please check with your nearest Embassy or Consulate for current
processing times. Please remember that embassies and consulates are interested to
know why you’re coming to study at EMS, what your interests are after you graduate, and what links you to your home country.
It is important that you are able to prove that you intend to go back to your country
after your studies end. Bring appropriate documentation that will verify this, as
well as all the other documents such as:
- Proof of paid SEVIS fee
- Financial documentation in the form of three months’ worth of bank statements
- I-901 receipt
- Passport Photographs
- Other documents (check your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to know exactly what other documents you will need to bring)
- Prepare for and attend your visa interview: Follow the directions given to you by the U.S. Embassy when you go for your interview. The visa interview is conducted by a Consular Officer at the Embassy or Consulate and helps the CO determine your eligibility for a visa. The CO is likely to ask questions about your EMS application, your finances and your intentions to be a non-immigrant student.
- Make travel arrangements: After your visa application has been approved you may schedule your flight to Harrisonburg, VA. Please note that you may arrive in the U.S. no sooner than 30 days prior to the start date listed on your I-20.
- Apply for on-campus housing or search for off-campus housing: Discuss housing options with the admissions counselor.
- Collect immunization records: visit your family doctor or your health provider to obtain your immunization records. They will be collected by the EMU Health Center, once you arrive. Remember that you will also be required to obtain a health insurance plan. You can find the EMU health plan option here.
- Keep in contact with EMS: After you have completed your interview (or anytime during the process) please keep in contact with our Admissions Office to let us know your progress. We can help answer questions for you along the way.
- Travel: Make sure you have your I-20/DS-2019 passport in your carry-on luggage. Do not pack these documents in your checked luggage!