International Students: Questions & Answers

General/Programs

Where is Austin Community College located?

ACC is located in the capital of the state of Texas, a vibrant urban center that retains its Old West roots. Austin is recognized for its live music, barbecue, high-tech industries, and excellent colleges and universities. We are one college with locations throughout the region.

What makes Austin Community College a great school to attend?

ACC offers lower tuition costs, small classes, a diverse student population, a dedicated and accessible faculty, seamless transfer to a four-year university, and numerous convenient campus locations.

What programs does ACC offer?

ACC offers associate degrees and certificates in more than 100 areas of study.

Many ACC associate degrees are designed specifically for students who plan to pursue a bachelor’s degree or higher in the United States. In addition to satisfying core curriculum requirements for a four-year degree, they allow you to take introductory courses in your intended, upper-division major. Transfer agreements with public and private four-year colleges and universities allow for a seamless transition.

ACC also offers Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degrees. While many courses for these degrees may be transferable to a four-year university, ACC offers several innovative degrees as well as college credit certificates for programs of less than two years that prepare graduates for employment in fields such as business administration, accounting, hospitality management, culinary arts, computer sciences and other advanced technologies, and more.

I want a bachelor's degree, but I am not sure what to major in.

ACC is a great place to start. The first two years of study at a U.S. college or university are spent completing core curriculum and pre-major courses that prepare you for your intended bachelor’s degree. The core curriculum at ACC may qualify you to transfer as a third-year student to a four-year college or university. In addition, as an F-1 visa student earning your associate degree at ACC, you may qualify for one year of employment in the U.S.

Admissions

How do I apply for admission to ACC as an international student?

Follow the international admissions steps listed on the ACC website. Begin the application process EARLY! We encourage you to complete the application process at least four months prior to the term you would like to start to allow for visa processing.

Do I need to have insurance?

It is advisable that you purchase health insurance to protect against medical emergencies while in the United States. Student health insurance is available through ACC’s approved insurer.

Do I have to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)?

If English is not your native language, you will need to demonstrate the ability to speak, read, write, and understand English at a level appropriate for college-level studies. Some exemptions apply, so check our requirements before taking the TOEFL.

What do I need to give the embassy when I apply for a student visa?

Visa application procedures vary from country to country. The U.S. Department of State website is an excellent resource that contains links to all of the U.S. embassies worldwide. Each embassy site will list the specific documents needed for each country. In general, students need to complete the visa application, provide a photograph, an original Form I-20, the original letter of admission, and financial evidence. In some countries, the consular officer may want to see the transcripts of previous study and the TOEFL score.

Finances

How much does it cost to attend ACC?

We estimate that an average F-1 visa student should have at least U.S. $25,000 to cover tuition, college, and living expenses for one academic year (nine months). This is an estimate; many students may need more than this. See tuition and fees chart.

Can I apply for any financial assistance or scholarships from ACC?

International students attending ACC on an F-1 visa are not eligible for financial aid. All international applicants planning to study at ACC on F-1 visas must have proof of sufficient funds to cover academic and living expenses in order to be admitted.

Can an F-1 student work while studying at ACC?

F-1 visa holders, who are registered as full-time students and who are in good academic standing, may work up to 20 hours per week on-campus during the regular academic year. Government-funded “work study” positions on campus are not available to international students. On-campus jobs for F-1 international students are few; therefore, you should not depend on on-campus employment to cover education or living expenses.

Advising

When does school start, and when should I physically be in town?

Plan to arrive in Austin two to four weeks prior to the program start date listed on the I-20 so you can get settled in before classes begin. You may not enter the United States more than 30 days before your program start date.

When I arrive in Austin, where do I need to report my arrival?

You must go to the ACC Riverside Campus, 1020 Grove Blvd., to check in with the International Student Office, Building G, Room 8105.

Do I have to attend orientation?

Yes. International student orientation is mandatory for all F-1 visa international students new to ACC. If you do not attend the orientation, you will have a hold that will prevent you from registering for classes. If you are a first-time college student you must complete ACC’s orientation requirement. 

What is a college credit?

Academic credit is expressed in semester credit hours. Generally, one class lecture hour per week for the semester earns one semester credit hour. Therefore, a class meeting three lecture hours a week has 3 credits.

How many Distance Learning classes can I take?

You can take no more than one Distance Learning class, or 3 credits per semester, toward the 12-credit minimum courseload.

What are the minimum standards for continuing in college?

The minimum is a cumulative GPA of 2.0 under the college's academic standards of progress. If you make below a 2.0 GPA you may lose your F-1 status.

Can I transfer my courses from ACC to a university or other college?

ACC has transfer agreements with public and private four-year colleges and universities that allow for a seamless transition. If you intend to transfer, consult with a designated international student advisor.

Immigration

How many credits must I carry to be considered full time?

All international F-1 visa students must be enrolled full-time. A full-time courseload is 12 credits or more in ACC’s fall and spring semesters. Enrollment and courseload requirements do not apply to the summer semester.

By immigration law you must pursue a "full course of study." This means you need to be enrolled in 12 semester credit hours to keep your status as an F-1 student. If you cannot enroll in or complete 12 credit hours at ACC for ANY reason, you must speak with an international student advisor BEFORE dropping below full-time status! Dropping below full-time status will affect your F-1 status and is only available in certain situations.  If you have a legitimate reason (i.e., a medical or academic problem), your request must be approved before you can drop below full time.

Can an F-1 student apply for an off-campus work permit?

If needed, you may apply for a work permit due to severe economic hardship only. This process needs authorization by USCIS. However, you need to be in the U.S. in F-1 student status for at least one academic year (two semesters), be in good academic standing, and prove to USCIS that your reasons for wanting to work were due to circumstances beyond your control.  You cannot begin work off-campus until this authorization is received.

Contact your International Student Office for more information about the qualifications and application procedures for this type of student work authorization.

Can my spouse and/or child, who are on F-2 visas, accept employment?

No. Holders of F-2 visas cannot accept employment under any circumstances.

What do I do if my passport expires or I lose it while I am within the U.S.?

Contact your local Consulate/Embassy for instructions to renew or replace a lost passport. Or visit the U.S. Embassy website for more information. 

If I lose my F-1 status, what do I need to do?

You may need to leave the United States to re-establish student status by re-entering the country with a new I-20 or by filing a reinstatement request. Contact the International Student Office to determine the best course for you.

What can ACC do if I have been denied the F-1 visa?

Students who are denied the F-1 visa need to obtain from the consular officer the precise reason for the denial and contact the International Student Office. Usually there is very little that any college or university can do when a visa is denied since denials are not based on the documents issued by the school but on the applicant’s ability to meet the criteria for a non-immigrant visa.

May I use the B-1/B-2 tourist visa to study at ACC?

No. Applicants who are in the U.S. in B status must file a change of status to F-1 student with USCIS. Applicants outside the U.S. should seek the F-1 visa using the ACC I-20.