Frequently Asked Questions

See below to find answers to the most commonly asked questions about International Summer Study at Penn State for international students.

Do I need to be accepted into a Penn State undergraduate academic program to take courses at Penn State during the summer?
You do not have to be accepted into a degree program to take summer courses at Penn State. For students interested a short-term American educational experience, a Summer Session is ideal.

Do I need to take the TOEFL/IELTS/ IGCSE/ IB?
English Language is the language of instruction at Penn State and English language proficiency is required of all applicants. For students whose prior education has not been in an English-speaking environment, English proficiency will need to be documented. Most academic programs require a 550 paper-based TOEFL score, 80+ Internet-based TOEFL score, 6.5 IELTS score, IGCSE score of A, B, or C on the English language exam, or IB score of 5 or higher on the English A exam.

How many summer courses can I take?
Students can take up to 6 credits during each six-week summer session.
United States immigration regulations require all international students in F-1 immigration status on a Penn State Summer Session for International Students I-20 to maintain full-time registration throughout the duration of their summer programs. Full-time enrollment is defined as registration for a minimum of 6 credits in one summer session.

Do I need to apply for an I-20 from Penn State to study this summer?
All international students coming to the United States for the purpose of taking classes at Penn State must apply for an I-20 from Penn State and a student visa. In order to be issued an I-20, full-time study by the student at Penn State is required. Full-time study is defined as registration for a minimum of 6 credits in Second Six-Week Session session or 12 credits over both sessions. For further information on summer visas click on Visa Requirements.

How long will it take for me to get my I-20 from Penn State?
Once you have filled out all of your forms and provided us with all necessary documentation, it should take us approximately 20 business days to process your I-20. It will then be mailed to you by courier (FedEx or DHL) international express (2-3 day delivery schedule). We will begin mailing I-20’s in March. Once you receive your I-20, you will then need to pay the SEVIS fee and schedule an interview with your local United States Consulate to obtain approval of your visa (instructions will be provided with the I-20).

If I am currently enrolled in another college in the US on an I-20, what do I need to do?
Students who are attending a degree program at a college/university full time on a valid I-20 and plan to return to that school in the fall can attend Penn State on a part-time or full-time basis. All international students must complete all the forms found here Application Process. They must also submit copies of their immigration paperwork, and check-in with The Directorate of International Student and Scholar Advising (DISSA) upon arrival. Health forms showing up-to-date immunizations are also required.

Are there any scholarships or financial aid for international students who study at Penn State University during the summer?
There are no scholarships or financial aid available during the summer for visiting students (either domestic or international). All international students must provide their own funding for summer study.

Where will I live?
All international students participating in Penn State Summer Session for International Students will be guaranteed on-campus housing and dining plan options. Further housing information can be found at

To reserve a place, send an email to Include the dates your classes begin and end.

Should I bring my own computer?
While having your own computer is convenient, it is not a necessity. All dormitories are equipped with Internet-ready connections. Students at Penn State University have access to a wide variety of computing resources for communication, coursework, instruction and research.

Do I need University health insurance?
Because health care in the United States is very expensive, all international students in F-1 and J-1 status studying at Penn State must have health insurance for the entire period of study at Penn State that meets the Penn State waiver standards.   Moreover, the U.S. Department of State requires all J-1 exchange visitors (students, scholars, interns, etc.) and their dependents maintain health insurance.  Willful violation of this mandate requires termination of the J-1 status. Students must purchase the Penn State insurance plan or apply for a waiver by providing evidence of having health insurance that meets the waiver standards. Students must purchase or apply for the waiver before an established deadline or pay a penalty fee: the first time late penalty fee is $50 and the late fee is $100 after that.The financial guarantee required to obtain the I-20 or DS-2019 includes the amount for health insurance.
For more information, click here:
Health insurance coverage is coordinated through the University Student Health Insurance Office and their contact information is as follows:

University Student Health Insurance Office
302 Student Health Center; University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 865-7467 or Email:
University Student Health Insurance Office Website

Where will my bill be sent and how do I pay?
Your bill will be sent to the address indicated on your registration form. Please note that you must pay your charges by the date indicated for the beginning of Second Six-Week Session (June 29, 2016) even if you have not yet received a bill by email or in the mail. After you arrive on campus, if you have not paid your bill already, please visit Office of the Bursar in person. The Office of the Bursar is located in 103 Shields Building; University Park, PA 16802, Phone: 814-865-6528. Click here for more information on payment options:

Is there anything I must do once I arrive at Penn State for my summer classes?
All international students, regardless of immigration status, must to report to The Directorate of International Student and Scholar Advising (DISSA) for Document Check in and complete the On-line Document Check-In Process ( The DISSA office is located at 410 Boucke Building; University Park, PA 16802. For F-1 Penn State University-sponsored students, DISSA is required to notify the Department of Homeland Security about your arrival and full-time registration. Failure to report to the DISSA and study full-time may jeopardize your lawful student status in the United States.

How do I request an official transcript once I finish my studies at Penn State Summer Session for International Students?

Information on how to request an official transcript is available on the Registrar’s website at A transcript fee is charged for all official transcripts.