Fostering mutual understanding and global learning through international education.
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Are you looking to attend a top-ranked community college as a full-time international student on an F-1 or J-1 visa? ECC is here to help you every step of the way! We are committed to diversity and inclusion and welcome international students from more than 20 countries every year. Our goal is to support your educational dreams whether you want to earn a degree or certificate, transfer to a top university, or improve your English.
As a former international student, I fully understand the thrill of attending college in the United States. That is why I take great pleasure in inviting you to attend Elgin Community College. When you come to ECC, you are joining a true community, both within our campus and beyond. Our academic resources are top-notch, our student life programs are dynamic, and our surrounding communities are diverse, lively, and enriching. Make ECC part of your journey.
David Sam, PhD, JD, LLM, ECC President
Information and Resources
Top Five Reasons
To Choose Elgin Community College for Your International Journey
- Guaranteed university transfer (2+2) admission. ECC is a leader in university transfer, and each year, hundreds of ECC students transfer to universities around the country. Complete the first two years of your bachelor’s degree at ECC, and then transfer to top universities such as UIC, the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, University of Wisconsin – Madison, and Arizona State University, among others.
- Affordable value. ECC offers tuition at a fraction of the cost of universities. Save money on tuition and fees by starting at a top community college! Check out how much you can save by completing your first two years at ECC.
- Full-time Intensive English Program. ECC offers a full-time Intensive English Program to improve your English language proficiency. The Intensive English Program helps prepare students for the rigors of college-level academic courses.
- Excellent location. Located just 60 kilometers from Chicago, Illinois, the third-largest city in the USA, the Chicago metropolitan region is a social, economic, financial, and educational hub and offers world-renowned opportunities and attractions for international students.
- Diverse and welcoming campus. A modern and safe campus welcomes you warmly to our local community! The Midwest is known for its hospitality and friendly nature, and you can experience all the region has to offer by studying at ECC. We are an inclusive and diverse community that respects different perspectives, cultures, and experiences.
Take a Virtual Tour
Imagine yourself at Elgin Community College from wherever you are. View the classes and spaces you’ll walk as a student. No matter where you are in your college search, we can help.View Virtual Tour
I-20 Eligible Degree Programs and Certificates
The following degrees and certificates are eligible for Form I-20.
Our available associate degrees include:
Interested in completing a short-term certificate or upgrading your skills? The following are I-20 eligible certificate programs for international students:
- Advanced Entrepreneurship
- Basic Operations Firefighter
- Clinical Dental Assisting
- Computer Integrated Manufacturing
- Cook Assistant/Baker Assistant
- Customer Relationship Marketing
- Decorative Pastry
- Dental Office Aide
- Early Childhood Education
- EMT - Paramedic
- Fire Officer I
- Fire Science and Safety
- Human Services Generalist
- Human Services - Substance Abuse Counseling
- Industrial Maintenance
- Intermediate Entrepreneurship
- Intensive English Program
- Introductory Entrepreneurship
- Light Commercial HVAC Service Tech
- Machine Tool Operations
- Medical Assisting
- Mold Making
- Music Production
- Ophthalmic Technician
- Preclinical Dental Assisting
- Prep Cook
- Public Safety Communications
- Recovery Support Specialist
- Refrigeration Technician
- Residential HVAC Service Technician
- Restaurant Supervisor
- Retail Management
- Sheet Metal Mechanics
- Supervisory and Administrative Management
- Truck Driving
Frequently Asked Questions
Please refer to Application Deadlines for information. We accept applications for international student admission on a rolling basis throughout the year.
No. At this time, ECC does not require students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to attend classes. However, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you must have a negative COVID-19 test no more than three days prior to your flight departure to enter the U.S. For more information, visit cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-international-air-travelers.html.
We strongly encourage you to submit all application materials at once to ensure fast processing. You can apply online at international.elgin.edu. However, your Form I-20 or DS-2019 will not be processed until all required application materials are on file and reviewed by a Designated School Official (DSO).
There are many on-campus jobs available while at ECC. You may work on-campus part-time (up to 20 hours per week). You must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better. Positions are available across all college departments. On-campus employment is a great way to meet new people and gain valuable experience. To apply, visit elgin.edu/studentjobs.
Off-campus employment requires approval by USCIS and/or a DSO. For more information on off-campus employment options, please visit elgin.edu/academics/international-education/current-international-student-resources/.
Your achievements inside and outside the classroom can earn you scholarship money to help pay for educational expenses. Scholarships are a free resource you do not have to repay and are awarded for a number of reasons, including academic standing, leadership, specialized talents, ethnic origin, and financial need. Scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. To apply, visit elgin.edu/pay-for-college/scholarships.
Under federal F-1 regulations, you are permitted to arrive no earlier than 30 days prior to the program start date listed on your Form I-20.
Once all required admission documents are on file, your application materials will be reviewed, and acceptance materials will be processed, including a Form I-20. The average time to process a request for a Form I-20 is 1-2 business days. Your Form I-20 and acceptance letter will be sent to you by email. Your acceptance package will be mailed by FedEx; delivery times vary by location.
Full-time enrollment is defined as a minimum of 12 semester hours in college-level courses or full-time enrollment in the Intensive English Program during the fall and spring semesters. In the summer session, full-time enrollment is defined as 6 semester hours.
Yes, you can submit financial documents and Affidavit of Sponsorships for multiple sponsors contributing financially to your education.
Like many community colleges in the U.S., ECC does not have traditional on-campus residence halls (dorms). However, there are several alternative housing options available to students. It is recommended that you finalize your housing arrangements no later than 60 days prior to your program start date. You and your parents/guardians (if under age 18) are responsible for making final housing arrangements and decisions. ECC provides resources to assist with housing arrangements but does not finalize or monitor living arrangements for students other than those participating in the International Student Homestay Program. The cost of and responsibility for arranging suitable housing is ultimately that of the student. Please note: If you arrive at ECC and have not previously arranged to house prior to your arrival, you will be directed to a local extended stay and will be responsible for the cost of lodging and transportation.
Elgin Community College continues to monitor the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). In accordance with state and local regulations, a social distancing protocol is in place, and masks are required for those coming to campus. For more information on the college’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit elgin.edu/about-ecc/campus-safety/emergency-management/coronavirus-resources/.
You can also view a video of what to expect on campus at youtube.com/watch?v=hnbKsfVHQKU.
The Center for International Education and Programs offers international students a holistic, one-stop area for all matters pertaining to non-immigrant status while studying in the U.S. In addition to new international student admission and international student advising, the college also offers:
- Academic and transfer advising
- Admissions and recruitment
- Advising on F-1 visa regulations and policies
- Career development services
- Cultural activities and programs on/off-campus
- Disability and accommodation services
- Early alert system
- Full testing service center
- Fitness center on-campus
- Free professional tutoring
- International student orientation and activities
- Wellness services