International Students

Academics

At the University of Sioux Falls, you may choose from more than 40 major areas of study. Perhaps you are interested in business, nursing or teacher education. Perhaps you would like to pursue music, art, media studies, science, mathematics or English. These fields of study and many more await you.

Academic Support

Academic support in many subjects is available at our Academic Success Center where students may arrange to work with a tutor. The Writing and Math Centers are also available to provide students with assistance.

Co-curricular Activities

Football, women’s soccer, baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, track and field and golf are just a few of the sports that comprise NCAA Division II athletics at the University of Sioux Falls. If, however, you are interested in the arts, you may choose to join one of our music ensembles or take the stage in a theatrical production.

International Student Scholarships

As of fall 2015, three scholarships will be available to undergraduate international students. To receive a scholarship application, please contact the Director of International Education at randy.nelson@usiouxfalls.edu.

$20,000 Scholarship

  1. Minimum 3.9 GPA (applies to high school and any college transfer credits)
  2. Completed scholarship application
  3. Transcript(s)
  4. Three letters of recommendation from teachers and/or professors
  5. Essay
  6. Renewable by maintaining a 3.7 cumulative GPA

Application deadlines: May 1 (for fall semester); November 1 (for spring semester)

$16,000 Scholarship

  1. Minimum 3.7 GPA (applies to high school and any college transfer credits)
  2. Completed scholarship application
  3. Transcript(s)
  4. Three letters of recommendation from teachers and/or professors
  5. Essay
  6. Renewable by maintaining a 3.5 cumulative GPA

Application deadlines: May 1 (for fall semester); November 1 (for spring semester)

$13,000 Scholarship

  1. Admissibility
  2. Completed scholarship application form
  3. Transcript(s)
  4. Two letters of recommendation from teachers and/or professors
  5. Renewable by maintaining a 2.0 cumulative GPA

Applications for the $13,000 scholarship do not have a deadline.

Frequently Asked Scholarship Questions

  1. If I receive a $20,000 scholarship but my GPA falls below 3.7, will I be eligible for a scholarship that pays less?
    ANSWER: Yes. The new award would depend on how far your GPA has dropped. You could be awarded a $16,000 or a $13,000 scholarship instead.
  2. If I receive a $16,000 scholarship but my GPA falls below 3.5, will I be eligible for the $13,000 scholarship?
    ANSWER: Yes, as long as you maintain at least a 2.0 GPA.
  3. What happens if my GPA drops below 2.0?
    ANSWER: You would no longer be eligible for an international student scholarship.
  4. How difficult is it to get the international student scholarship?
    ANSWER: The level of competition is higher for the higher-paying scholarships.
  5. When will I know if I have received a scholarship?
    ANSWER: If the scholarship for which you are applying has a deadline, you should know the results of the application within two weeks of the deadline. If your scholarship application does not have a deadline, you will be informed shortly after the Director of Admissions has awarded your admission letter.
  6. I am applying for the MBA program. Are MBA students eligible for a scholarship?
    ANSWER: The three international student scholarships are for students pursuing an undergraduate degree. MBA students are not eligible.

Additional Benefits

International Student Admissions

Below are the items you will need to complete for admission to the University of Sioux Falls.

  1. Online Application: http://admissions.usiouxfalls.edu/ Click “get started” on the upper left. Then click the “international students” tab in the dropdown box. Go to the “new student application” link. Complete the application and click “submit.”
  2. Application Addendum (This will be emailed to you after we receive your application.) Be certain to fill out all sections. If you are not transferring from another U.S. school, you do not need to submit the transfer form at the end of the addendum.
  3. Proof of Funding:
    - Your sponsor’s most recent bank statement showing sufficient funds for the first year’s cost of attendance. The sponsor’s name and account number must appear on the document.
    - In some cases, you may be asked for additional documentation.
    Note
    : Financial documents should be scanned and emailed to randy.nelson@usiouxfalls.edu.
  4. Official Transcripts with a 2.8 GPA (U.S. equivalency)Important: For the admission decision, you may send a photocopy of your transcript(s). However, you must send an official transcript (not a photocopy) from your school before the Office of International Education can issue the I-20.In some instances, an applicant may be asked to submit a transcript to a credential evaluation service.
  5. TOEFL or IELTS Score
    Minimum TOEFL score: 75 Minimum IELTS score: 6Under certain circumstances you may not be required to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score. Please check with the Director of International Education at randy.nelson@usiouxfalls.edu if you believe you may be exempt from a TOELF or IELTS score.

International Student Orientation

International student orientation is held during the two days prior to the start of each semester’s classes. Unless circumstances make it impossible, students are expected to attend. After you are accepted, you will receive information regarding dates, times and location.

What will happen during orientation?

  1. You will receive assistance with registration.
  2. You will take a campus tour.
  3. You will locate your classrooms.
  4. You will receive your computer login information.
  5. You will acquire your student identification card.
  6. You will acquire healthcare information.
  7. You will acquire safety information.
  8. You will learn to use the Sioux Falls bus system.
  9. You will learn your USF address and be assigned a mailbox.
  10. You will learn a few basics about United States culture.
  11. You will complete online validation.
  12. You will pay your bill and meet with representatives from various offices.
  13. You will tour a portion of Sioux Falls.
  14. You will have the opportunity to open a bank account.
  15. You will have the opportunity to purchase a cell phone.
  16. You will have the opportunity to go shopping for basic supplies.
  17. You will learn about maintaining F-1 nonimmigrant status.
  18. You will have fun and meet new people!

F-1 Students and the USCIS

International students are responsible for knowing the expectations of the USCIS. Although there will be a session pertaining to this during orientation, students hold the responsibility for staying in status. An excellent resource for learning about status requirements is Study in the States. Please click here for important information: http://studyinthestates.dhs.gov

You are encouraged to contact the Director of International Education with any questions regarding any SEVIS-related issues.

Important points to remember

  1. As an F-1 student, your first obligation is to be a full-time student at the University of Sioux Falls. To maintain status, it is important to do the following:
    1. Enroll as a full-time student: 12 semester hours for undergraduate students; 9 semester hours for graduate students.
    2. Attend class: Being registered for class is not enough. You must attend regularly to maintain status. Students who are not attending class run the risk of falling out of status.
    3. Never take more than one online course per semester.
    4. Never violate employment regulations.
  2. If you plan to change your major, please see the Director of International Education for a Change of Major form.
  3. If you are struggling with your classes, please see the Director of International Education. In certain instances you may be eligible for a reduced course load. Please note that a reduced course load is short term and may be denied.
  4. If you change your address, you are required to report the address change to the Director of International Education within five business days.
  5. See the following website for a complete discussion of issues involving student status: http://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/students/maintain-your-status
  6. Familiarize yourself with this site: http://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/. It contains a good amount of important information.
  7. Check your I-94 record for accuracy. Go to https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/request.html to do so.
  8. If you need assistance of any kind, please contact the Director of International Education. Your well-being is highly important.REMEMBER: Students are solely responsible for staying in status. Please familiarize yourself with the regulations.

International Student Employment

  1. International students may not work off campus unless they are engaged in curricular practical training (CPT) or optional practical training (OPT). In rare instances a student facing severe and unusual economic hardship may apply for off-campus employment. Such employment requires authorization from the USCIS.
  2. International students may work on campus only after they have received official permission from the Office of International Education. Please remember that on-campus jobs are limited.
  3. Before undertaking any type of employment (on-campus, CPT, OPT), you are required to meet with the Director of International Education for guidance and to secure the appropriate permission form.
  4. International students are required to complete permission forms for any type of employment. This form will be placed in the student’s file.
  5. All types of employment must be reported to the international education office.
  6. Please allow at least three business days for your permission form to be approved. You should then consult with the Director of International Education to determine your next step.
  7. Once employment has been approved, students may not work more than 20 hours per week (total) while classes are in session.
  8. If you are combining practical training with on-campus employment, the total combined hours you may work must not exceed 20 hours per week. Exceeding 20 hours is a violation of status.
  9. A week is defined as Sunday at 12:01 a.m. to Saturday at 11:59 p.m.

Curricular Practical Training

  1. Students who need CPT authorization are required to have the CPT course professor or program director fill out a CPT Authorization Request form. The form must be signed by the program director in order for I-20 authorization to occur.
  2. Because CPT is an integral part of a curriculum, students should not “look for a job” to use as CPT. Your professor or program director will guide you toward the training opportunity appropriate for the curriculum.
  3. Students must supply a copy of the course syllabus when submitting the CPT Authorization Request form.
  4. Students must supply a job offer letter when submitting the CPT authorization request form.
  5. CPT should not be regarded as sustainable employment. It is a training experience within your curriculum.
  6. NEVER begin CPT before it is authorized on your I-20.

Optional Practical Training

  1. Students planning to engage in OPT should fill out the OPT Request form available in the international education office. After the form has been approved, students should then fill out the OPT application available on the USCIS website. The USCIS application must be fully completed before the international education office will submit a request for OPT.
  2. Your OPT application should be submitted within a 90-day window prior to your program end date. Send your application by express courier within one day of acquiring the request for OPT on your I-20. If your application is not received by USCIS within 30 days of the request date on your I-20, your OPT application will be denied. Students who apply for OPT later in the 90-day pre-completion window or after their completion date may lose OPT time. The OPT application may require up to three months for processing.
  3. OPT must be completed within 14 months of your program end date.
  4. NEVER accept an OPT employment offer before having the EAD (Employment Authorization Document) supplied by the USCIS in hand.
  5. NEVER engage in employment of any kind without appropriate approval. Doing so is a violation of status and will result in termination.

Travel

  1. Students who plan to travel out of country must secure a travel signature on page 3 of the I-20. The travel signature must come from the school’s PDSO or DSO. Please do not ask other school officials to sign the I-20. Their signatures are not valid for re-entry into the United States.
  2. Students are expected to fill out the Permission for Out-of-Country Travel form at least one week prior to departure.
  3. Please remember that passports and visas must be valid for more than six months from the time of travel.
  4. If you are traveling within the United States, it is advisable for you to have your passport, I-94, visa and most recent I-20 in your possession in the event you are required to prove your nonimmigrant status. Please guard all official documents with greatest care.
  5. If you enroll in a travel course over interim, you are still required to follow the necessary procedures for out-of-county travel. Because your travel requirements will be different from those of U.S. students, it is very important for you to consult the Director of International Education as soon as you know you will be enrolling in a travel course.

Contact Information

Dr. Randy Nelson
Director of International Education
University of Sioux Falls
1101 W 22nd St
Sioux Falls, SD 57105
U.S.A.
Telephone: 800-888-1047 or 605-331-2084
Email: randy.nelson@usiouxfalls.edu

Frequently Asked Questions

(Click on question to see the answer.)

When should I arrive in Sioux Falls?
You should plan to arrive in Sioux Falls the day before the international student orientation. You will be informed of the orientation dates well in advance.
Will someone pick me up at the Sioux Falls airport?
Yes. You should send your arrival date, time, airline and flight number to the Director of International Education at randy.nelson@usiouxfalls.edu at least two weeks before the semester begins.
Am I required to purchase USF health insurance?
Health insurance from your home country is strongly recommended. After your arrival, you will be presented with health insurance options you may choose to purchase.
Will I have a roommate?
You may have a roommate, depending on the number of available dormitory rooms. If you prefer a single room, please contact the Director of International Education with your request. USF will try to honor your request.
What should I do if I need help with my academic work?
The Academic Success Center is available to help you secure a tutor. You may also visit the Writing Center or the Math Center for assistance in those subjects.
Is it possible to change my courses after I have registered?
Yes. Sometimes students need to drop or add a course. You may do so during the early part of the semester.Note: Each semester there is a final date to drop and add courses. After that date you will not be permitted to make schedule changes.
What should I do if I am having a problem?
Your well-being is very important to us. If you are having a problem of any kind, you should feel free to contact the Director of International Education. The director will help you find the right people to resolve your problem.
Which visa do I need?
Degree-seeking international students need an F1 visa.
Will I need to bring a computer?
Most students bring a computer with them. If you choose not to bring a computer, you are welcome to use the computers in the labs across campus. Please remember to purchase a voltage converter for your specific electronic device.
Will I need to bring sheets, blankets, and a pillow?
If possible, you should bring these items with you. If you cannot, we will lend you these items until you are able to shop. Please contact the Director of International Education if you will need to borrow sheets, a blanket, and a pillow.
What other supplies should I bring?
Students are advised to bring soap, shampoo, a towel, a dictionary, photographs from home, and other personal supplies.
What should I not bring?
Students should not bring local foods and plants. Fruits, vegetables, meats, and many other locally grown items are prohibited by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Will my electrical devices work in the United States?
If you are going to bring devices such as a hair dryer or curling iron from your home country, you should purchase a voltage converter and plug adapter. It may be simpler to purchase the electrical device you need once you arrive in Sioux Falls.
Who should I contact if I have other questions?
You should contact the Director of International Education at randy.nelson@usiouxfalls.edu or 800-888-1047 or 605-575-2084.