International Students

I can confidently say that my experience at SIT was truly life changing. All the people I’ve met during this year challenged me, taught me new ways of doing things, showed me new perspectives and new opportunities.

Yana KraychinskayaYana Kraychinskaya, MA in International Education student from Russia

Welcome to SIT Graduate Institute's International Student and Scholar Office.

We are proud to welcome and support international students and scholars as they join the multicultural, diverse learning community at our international graduate school. SIT welcomes students from all over the world: between 25 and 35 percent of SIT Graduate Institute students are international.

The International Student and Scholar Office (ISSO) provides special assistance to all SIT international graduate students and scholars. In addition to providing necessary information on student visas and other US immigration regulations, the office counsels and advises students on cultural opportunities, cross-cultural concerns, employment, banking, driving regulations, and much more.

For more details contact:
Janet Hulnick
Director, International Student and Scholar Office
Student Center Room 207
Phone: 802 258-3364
Fax: 802 258-3252
Email: janet.hulnick@sit.edu
Skype: JHulnickpurple

Admissions

The application process is the same for international and US students. For more details, please visit our Admissions page.

Verification of English Language Ability

Applicants whose first language is not English and who did not graduate from an English-speaking institution in a country whose official language is English must submit test scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), or the PTE (Pearson Test of English). (Applicants can access free TOEFL and IELTS  practice tests online.)

  • Applicants taking the TOEFL must receive a minimum score of:
    • 600 on the paper-based test (PBT),
    • 250 on the computer-based test (CBT), or
    • 100 on the internet-based iBT.
  • Applicants taking the IELTS must receive a score of Band 7.0 or higher.
  • Applicants taking the PTE must receive a minimum score of 68.

These scores are considered the minimum proficiency needed to undertake graduate-level work. Scores must be dated within two years of the start date of your academic program at SIT.

Application Deposit Payment

Because international students must pay their first semester tuition and fees as part of their student visa process, SIT does not require the $400 deposit payment for international students. International students should review the information concerning student visas and focus their efforts on completing the necessary steps to obtain their I-20 and student visa, as outlined in the section below.

Current students: Please visit our Continuing Students page.

SIT welcomes students from a wide range of economic backgrounds. Though funds are limited, international applicants are encouraged to apply for financial aid administrated by SIT. Financial aid is available to international students in the form of need-based grants, merit scholarships, and work-study opportunities. SIT financial aid typically covers about one-third of an international student's total costs. In recent years, more than 85 percent of all international students received partial support through SIT.

How to Apply for Financial Aid

  • International students will be contacted directly by the Admissions Office with a link to the online financial aid application and procedures for completing the financial aid process.

SIT Scholarships and Grants

SIT offers gift aid for international students, based on need and merit. Several competitive SIT scholarships have also been established to recognize students who reflect the SIT mission through their professional and personal lives.

No additional application is required to be considered for SIT gift aid and competitive scholarships.


Employment for International Students

SIT Work Opportunity. The SIT Work Opportunity program supports the part-time employment of international students who need the income to help pay for the cost of their education. A variety of employment opportunities are available each year. Most student employment opportunities are funded through this program, and only students who are awarded work-study funding as part of their financial aid package can participate. The rate of pay complies with the minimum wage law in the State of Vermont.

Campus Resident Advisors. Students can also earn the equivalent of room and board fees by working to create a cohesive learning community as a resident advisor in SIT’s multicultural dormitories. Students do not need to qualify for financial aid to be eligible for these positions. Applications are only made available to students upon admission to an SIT graduate program through acceptance notification materials. The Housing Office begins making position appointments in April, and selection is based on demonstrated skills and experience.


External Sources of Funding for Prospective International Students


For more information on financial aid, please contact:

SIT Financial Aid Office
Tel: 802 258-3281
Tel: 800 336-1616 (toll-free in the US)
Fax: 802 258-3500
Email: finaid@sit.edu

Requirements for Non-Residents not currently in the US

  1. You must be accepted to one of our degree programs. You will be notified in writing of your acceptance. You must take this acceptance letter with you to the consulate office or embassy when you apply for your visa.
  2. You must complete the Certification of Finances form and return it to SIT.
    Your Certification of Finances form must demonstrate and document that you have sufficient funds to pay the expenses related to your education in the US and your return home at your program's conclusion.
  3. You must mail or fax a copy of your passport to the SIT Graduate Admissions Office.
  4. SIT must have received payment for the first enrollment period for your degree program.
    This payment must include tuition, fees, insurance, and room and board if you plan to live on campus. You may deduct the first semester amount of your grant or scholarship awarded by SIT. Note: A $200 SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) fee will be added to the above total. This fee is required by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for all international students applying for a student visa.
  5. We prefer that you send your payment by check or international money order directly to SIT.
    Please make the check payable to World Learning. Please indicate your name and program on the check or in a letter sent with the payment. You should also notify your admissions counselor when you send payment, which will assist in the processing of your funds.

Send the Certification of Finances to:

SIT Graduate Institute
Cathy Mullins
Director of Financial Aid
Tel: +1 802 258-3261
Email: cathy.mullins@sit.edu
1 Kipling Road, PO Box 676
Brattleboro, VT 05302-0676 USA

Send your payments to:

James Parker
Assistant to A/R Manager
Tel: +1 802 258-3199
Email: james.parker@worldlearning.org

Credit Card Payment

Another quick and easy way to make the payment is to use your VISA or MasterCard. To authorize payment, you must give us the name on the card, the number of the card, the expiration date, the amount you wish to be charged to your card, and your signature if the request is made by letter or fax. Your request for us to charge your credit card can even be made by email or over the telephone.

Wire Transfer Payment

You may also make your payment by wire transfer. This is a secure method of payment, but it can take up to four weeks for your student account to be credited. Please consider this option carefully if time is limited.

Once your Certification of Finances has been reviewed, your admissions counselor or the Financial Aid Office can provide you with the details of the wire transfer process.


Are you currently in the US on a non-student visa? You should change your status:

  1. You must be accepted to one of our degree programs.
    (See above.)
  2. You must complete the Certification of Finances form.
    (See above.)
  3. SIT must have received payment for the first enrollment period for your degree program.
    (See above.)
  4. Depending on your current immigration status, you may or may not have to pay the $200 SEVIS fee.
  5. Photocopy the following and send the copy to the SIT Admissions Office:
    • The issue page of your passport (the page that states where and when your passport was issued)
    • The page of your passport showing your current US visa
    • Your I-94 card (the card you were given when you entered the US)
    • Your current I-20 or DS 2019

Deadlines for Receipt of I-20 Documents:

Due to the Department of Homeland Security's requirements for processing I-20s and international student visas, we will need to receive all documents related to your I-20 by the following deadlines in order to issue the I-20:

Program Deadline for Receipt
of All I-20 Documents
International Education Low-Residency MA and Certificate Programs April 15
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Low-Residency MA Program May 15
Fall Term Graduate Programs July 15

For additional information concerning US citizenship and immigration regulations, and advice about obtaining a student visa, please contact SIT's International Student and Scholar Office at 802 258-3364.

 

Types of Student Visas: F-1 and J-1

  F-1 J-1
Restrictions None Cannot be self-funded and a substantial portion of your financial support must be from a scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship from an external funding source.
On-Campus Employment Limited to up to 20 hours per week while school is in session; may work full-time during vacation periods Same as F-1
Off-Campus Employment Yes Yes
  Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Academic Training
  Optional Practical Training (OPT) Unforeseen Economic Hardship
  Unforeseen Economic Hardship  
Possibility of Changing Status Yes, fairly easily Yes/No. Depends on whether the student is subject to the 2-year home residency requirement.
Work Authorization For Spouse Not allowed Yes, with evidence that earnings are not to support the J-1 visa holder, and it requires BCIS approval.
Termination of Studies Leave US immediately. Leave US immediately.
Completion of Studies or Graduation Leave US in 60 days. Leave US in 30 days.

Note for students who come to the US on an F-1 or J-1 visa: SIT is authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant students.

*International students with F-1 or J-1 visas can bring their dependents (spouses and children) to the US on F-2 or J-2 visas. Make sure you notify the International Student and Scholar Office if you want to bring your dependents.

Read NAFSA’s (the National Association of International Educators’) 10 tips for the visa interview.

SIT offers multiple types to support to international students for whom English is not their first language, both before and during the on-campus academic year. SIT also offers international students the opportunity to learn languages other than English. Learn more about these opportunities.

Intensive English Program at the International Language Institute before the start of the academic year

For those students requiring academic English support, SIT has a conditional admission agreement with the International Language Institute (ILI) of Massachusetts. SIT may grant conditional acceptance to applicants who are otherwise admissible, with the condition that the applicant must successfully complete level 8 of the ESOL program at ILI before enrolling in one of SIT’s degree programs.

For more information, contact:

Macey Faiella,Director of English Language Programs
Tel: 413 586-7569
Email: macey@ili.edu
The International Language Institute of Massachusetts

17–25 New South St.
Northampton, MA 01060

Additional resources available from SIT’s Language and Culture Department during the academic year

  • English as a Second Language (ESL) is offered at an advanced level during the academic year for students for whom English is not a first language.
  • SIT’s Language and Culture Department has writing tutors in the Writing Lab who offer support for students in need of assistance with their written work.

For more information, contact:
Tel: 802 258-3344 
Email: lcd@sit.edu
SIT Language and Culture Department
SIT Graduate Institute
Kipling Road, PO Box 676
Brattleboro, VT 05302

Before Packing

vermont campusBuy your airplane tickets: Brattleboro does not have its own airport. The closest airports are John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, New York (200 miles); Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts (120 miles); and Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut (90 miles).

For Washington, DC, students, you can look on the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority website.

Fill the arrival form and email it to: janet.hulnick@sit.edu

Packing Tips

Keep your important documents with a photocopy of each one in your carry-on. Important documents include passport, immigration documents (I-20 or DS 2019), and airplane tickets.

Other items you should keep in your carry-on include your wallet (note: you can’t carry more than 10 thousand USD with you in cash), the contact number for the International Students and Scholars Office, prescription medicine with the prescription, and electronics and chargers.

Additional packing tip: In your carry-on, put a basic change of clothes, small amounts of essential toiletries, and several days’ worth of any medicine you have to take regularly, so you can use these in case your checked luggage is lost or delayed.

Before packing, you should check with your airline about your weight limit.

Getting to SIT

Once you have arrived in the US, you will need transportation to the Brattleboro Campus or Washington, DC Center. Visit this page to find directions to each SIT location.

Orientation

BrattleboroWe invite you to join us for the International Student Orientation, which begins prior to the entire student body orientation. In previous years, some of the workshops included in the orientation focused on the experiential learning cycle, cultural adjustment, and writing skills. International students will have the opportunity to open a bank account, apply for a US social security number, visit local sights, and receive an overview about student immigration regulations. If you have any concerns that you feel should be addressed during the orientation, please do not hesitate to ask at the International Student and Scholar Office.

We provide transportation from downtown Brattleboro to the SIT campus if you are arriving by bus or train in the daylight hours on Sunday before the International Student Orientation. Please NOTIFY the International Student and Scholar Office by submitting the International Student Arrival Information Form via email or fax with your arrival information at least two weeks before your arrival date. Someone working in Student Affairs will meet you at the train or bus stop in Brattleboro to give you a ride to SIT’s campus.

2015–2016 Academic Year International Student Orientation Schedule

Transportation

Local Bus Service

Brattleboro has a bus transportation system that is free for SIT students. For more details check the local bus service website. SIT also offers a shuttle service for students from campus to downtown Brattleboro on a daily schedule that differs from the local bus service hours.

Driving a Car

The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles accepts international driver’s licenses for certain countries. For more details visit the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles website. International students who don’t have an international driver license have to apply for an American driver license if they want to drive in the US. For more information, contact the International Student and Scholar Office.

Living on Campus

SIT’s international student organization, International Students of Academic Programs (ISAP), was established in 1997 to address the particular needs and concerns of international students. In recent years, ISAP proposals have resulted in several noticeable improvements to the SIT campus community, including the implementation of the International Student Orientation. All international students are members of ISAP. ISAP sponsors various multicultural events, such as the geography series and international dinners.

For more details about campus life at SIT, please visit our Student Life web page.

Orientation

Orientation is held a few weeks prior to the beginning of the semester at the Washington, DC Center. International students are introduced to the one-year MA program through a series of presentations and cultural events. The orientation introduces students to the DC area, provides them with lodging information, and discusses acculturation measures. This thorough orientation ensures that all students are properly acclimated to the SIT Washington, DC Center and its staff and faculty, the immediate area, and life as an SIT graduate student in the one-year master’s program. The purpose of the orientation for international students is to introduce all resources for students at the Washington, DC Center while preparing them to begin their intensive studies in the program.

Housing

As the SIT DC Center is located in the heart of Washington, DC, in the building of other World Learning offices, there is no on-campus living. The Office of Student Affairs in the DC Center works directly with students to provide several options in locating suitable housing options. Housing options are in the immediate Washington, DC area and the surrounding Virginia and Maryland locations. This is done prior to student arrival and is also during the orientation week. Students are given options in several forms but it is up to each individual to secure housing during their time in the program.

Transportation

The Washington, DC Center is located near several modes of public transportation. It’s easy to travel around the Washington, DC, area using public transportation. Since Washington, DC, traffic is often congested and parking is expensive, taking public transportation can be a convenient way to get around. Sports, entertainment, shopping, museums, and sightseeing attractions are all accessible by public transportation. Commuting to the center by subway, train, or bus can be less stressful and more convenient than commuting by car, which typically requires you to pay for parking.

All students studying in the United States must have health insurance, and international students should secure their own insurance before arrival to the US. Watch this informative video to learn more about the importance of health insurance in the United States and how you can prepare before you arrive.

This video teaches international students how to prepare for their arrival in the US, how the US healthcare system works, and how students should seek medical care appropriately if they become sick or injured.

Please visit www.internationalstudentinsurance.com/explained/ for more information.