picture of flags

International Student Services

International Student Services (ISS) is the primary support unit for international students at Carl Sandburg College offering many specialized services and activities including:

  • Immigration advising
  • Registration assistance
  • Health insurance information
  • International student orientation
  • Cultural adjustment advising

The mission of ISS is to increase cultural understanding, create new opportunities for education worldwide and bring global talent to the Carl Sandburg College community.

As an international student at Carl Sandburg College, you will experience small class sizes, individualized attention from faculty, and friendly staff to help you transition to living and studying in the United States.

Prospective student information

Explore Sandburg & our programs

Quick facts about Sandburg

  • Our main campus is located in Galesburg, IL, approximately three-and-a-half hours southwest of Chicago.
  • We are in the Central Time Zone (CDT).
  • Galesburg is a small, rural, historic community set in the prairie of west-central Illinois.
  • The climate varies from an average of 17° F (-8° degrees C) in the winter to 85° F (29° C) in the summer.
  • Our current student body is comprised of students from 30 states and 14 countries.
  • Sandburg celebrates the rich diversity of our student body through a Hall of Flags display. This display represents the states and countries our students call home.

Degree programs

With more than 40 degree and certificate programs from which to choose, Carl Sandburg College has a program that will help you get where you want to be. Whether you hope to quickly get out into the working world or aim to earn your two-year degree and continue your studies at another college or university, we have a program that is a fit for you.

Here is a full list of our degree programs and certificates.

Application steps for international students

International students seeking an F-1 student visa must submit the following admission requirements:

  • Proof of high school graduation
    An official transcript that provides evidence of graduation from a secondary school. Transcripts must be translated into English.
  • Proof of English proficiency, if applicable
    Students whose native language is not English are required to submit one of the following:
    • TOEFL IBT minimum score of 68. Official test results must be sent directly from ETS using school code 1982.
    • Official transcripts from an accredited United States college or university showing successful completion (grade of C or higher) of a college-level writing course and six hours of college-level academic coursework that requires reading.
    • Official SAT score with an Evidence-Based Reading and Writing sub-score of 480 or higher. Official test results must be sent directly from College Board using school code 1982.
  • Certification of finances and bank statement
    Form verifying your ability to meet all educational and living expenses for one year while attending Carl Sandburg College.

    In planning your expenses, you should have at your disposal a minimum of $21,000 USD for each year of study. International students do not qualify for in-district tuition or federal financial aid. Visit the Proof of Funding Requirements page for more information. 
  • Photocopy of a current passport

How to send documentation

All documents can be sent via email to welcomecenter@sandburg.edu. Scanned copies of original documents must be clear and in color. Scanned documents will be used for admissions purposes only. 

Application deadline

  • Fall Semester (August start date): July 1
  • Spring Semester (January start date): November 1

Carl Sandburg College will issue a Form I-20 after all admission requirements are met.

Apply for F-1 visa

Once all forms are submitted and verified, the college will issue a Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility. To apply for your visa, you will need to do the following:

  • Pay the SEVIS fee. Every international student who wishes to begin an “initial” program of study is required to pay the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) I-901 fee. You will need the information on your I-20 to pay the fee.
  • Make a visa interview appointment at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You can visit the U.S. Department of State website for more information about the visa application process and requirements.
  • Arrive in the U.S. and clear customs at the U.S. Port of Entry with necessary documents no later than program start date listed on your I-20. 
Placement test and registration

Placement testing

Carl Sandburg College wants you to be successful in your course work. Your placement test scores will ensure the proper placement into appropriate courses for your skill level.  

Accuplacer placement test

The Accuplacer placement test is required for new students. This untimed assessment test covers reading and math and will determine the level of classes you may begin.

  • You can sit for placement testing (Accuplacer) once you arrive on campus. You may also schedule a virtual test after your visa has been granted. 
  • There is no charge to take the Accuplacer placement test (up to two attempts).
  • Test results are valid for five years. 
It's important for you to prepare for the placement test so you can do your best work on the placement test so you are placed appropriately in courses where you can succeed and make progress. Time spent in developmental courses will delay enrollment into college-level courses. 

Submit official SAT scores (OPTIONAL)

If you wish to use your SAT test scores instead of taking the placement test, you'll need to have your official test results sent to Carl Sandburg College directly from the College Board using school code 1982. SAT test must have been taken within five years of admissions. 

The minimum SAT scores needed for class placement are:

  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Sub-Score of 480 or higher
  • Mathematics Sub-Score of 530 or higher

You can visit our placement testing page for additional information. 

Submit official U.S. college transcripts (if applicable)

If you have completed college-level English and math courses with a grade of “C” or higher at a U.S. college or university, have your official transcripts sent to your Carl Sandburg College for class placement. Official ttranscripts can be sent to transcripts@sandburg.edu. College credit will not be granted from an unofficial transcript.

Class registration

After you receive your student visa and complete placement testing, you'll be ready to register for classes. An academic advisor will guide you to make sure you are registered in the right classes for your degree.

Tuition, fees & textbooks

International tuition

International tuition is $292 per credit hour for 2022-2023. International students are not eligible for in-district tuition rates or federal financial aid. 

Estimated Expenses for One Academic Year 

Cost of attendance for international student
Tuition & fees $ 11,000
Housing & food $   6,600
Books & supplies $.  1,800
Insurance/personal expenses $.  1,600
Total (two semesters) $21,000

Based on your academic program, additional fees may apply. Please see our tuition and fees page for details.

Students enrolled at Sandburg studying on an F-1 visa must be enrolled full-time (12 credit hours) during the Fall and Spring semesters to maintain their status. We encourage enrolling in at least 15 credit hours per semester in the event that you need to drop a course.


Once you enroll in classes, your academic advisor will explain how to find the textbooks you need for your classes on our website. Textbooks can be purchased through our bookstore. The cost of textbooks will vary based on the program and credit hours taken.


The Carl Sandburg College Foundation offers scholarships to all Sandburg students, and international students may qualify for some of these funds. Learn more, and see deadlines. 

Talent scholarships for athletics, theater, art or music may be available and given under the coach or coordinator's discretion.

Visit our talent scholarship webpage for more information on theater, art, or music talent grants. 

Explore our athletics webpage for more information on our athletic programs. If you are interested in athletics, please contact the coach for scholarship availability. 


Carl Sandburg College does not offer on-campus student housing. In the Galesburg area, there are numerous private housing options for students. Most of these options come unfurnished; however, a few may offer assistance in securing furnishings.

You should plan on arriving in Knox County at least two weeks before classes start to find suitable living accommodations, and to make the necessary rental and transportation arrangements.

View the names and locations of available housing options.

Current student information

Maintaining your status

Students authorized to study in the United States using an F-1 visa must abide by the rules and obligations associated with maintaining status as an F-1 visa student at all times. Violations of such rules could lead to immediate termination of the your SEVIS record, your authorized stay in the United States and your ability to continue your at Carl Sandburg College. It is your responsibility to be knowledgeable of and take the proper actions to comply with the rules and obligations associated with maintaining your valid F-1 visa status.

Rules for maintaining F-1 student visa status

  1. Report to and maintain contact with International Student Services (ISS).
  2. Keep visa documentation valid.
  3. Maintain accurate personal contact information on file at all times.
  4. Maintain full-time enrollment (minimum of 12 credits each Fall and Spring semester).
    • Online coursework (ONLY one class or 3 credit hours may count towards full-time enrollment)
  5. Meet with DSO before dropping below a full course of study, withdrawing from classes or
    taking a leave of absence.
  6. Make normal progress toward degree completion.
  7. Report any changes in major or field of study.
  8. Do not engage in unauthorized employment.
  9. Request proper travel endorsement before leaving the U.S.
  10. Request program extension before your I-20 expires.
  11. Do not remain in the U.S. beyond the allowable F-1 visa duration of stay and grace periods.

International students in F-1 status are permitted to engage only in employment that has been authorized. 

There are three categories of employment available to F-1 students at Carl Sandburg College. 

  • On-campus employment
  • Practical training (curricular and optional practical training)
  • Employment authorized due to severe economic hardship

On-campus employment does not require USCIS approval. Employment must be on campus and is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session. Students should contact the International Student Services Office to obtain authorization for on-campus employment.

Students interested in optional practical training or curricular practical training need to meet with in International Student Advisor for more information.

Any unauthorized employment constitutes failure to maintain status. A student who is out of status is not eligible for F-1 benefits, including employment.


While many other countries bear the expense of healthcare for their residents, individuals in the United States are responsible for these expenses themselves. A single day of hospitalization can cost thousands of dollars.

A good insurance policy gives you access to excellent medical facilities and provides protection against the enormous costs of healthcare. It is important to read the coverage information of any insurance plan carefully. Even with health insurance coverage, some treatments may only be partially covered or not at all. A visit to the doctor or hospital may still result in a balance owed to the provider. However, health insurance often significantly reduces the overall cost.

 Insurance coverage requirements

  • Health insurance should be valid for a full calendar year including all school breaks (Winter Break and Summer Break).
  • Insurance coverage must be renewed when it expires and kept current throughout the year.
  • Health insurance coverage that expires in the middle of a semester or before a future term will delay a student’s ability to register for future classes.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to maintain health insurance coverage at all times.
  • Failure to maintain health insurance coverage is a violation of the F-1 student visa.

Carl Sandburg College does not endorse a specific insurance company. Below is a list of options for you to explore.

Student travel

I-20 travel signature endorsement

An endorsement that an F-1 student is eligible to re-enter the United States indicated by their International Student Advisor's signature on page 2 of your most recently issued I-20 document.

For how long is a travel signature valid?

  • Valid to enter the U.S. for one year from the date of issue. (See exception below.)
  • Valid to enter the U.S. for six months from the date of issue, if you are entering from Canada, Mexico or other bordering territories.
  • Valid for six months from the date of issue, if you are on post-completion optional practical training.
  • Valid for admission to the United States only if presented with a valid F-1 visa and passport.

Travel within the U.S.

ISS strongly recommends all F-1 international students carry the following documents when traveling outside of the Galesburg area within the United States:

  • Valid passport (with at least six months future validity)
  • Printed copy of your current electronic I-94 (Click on "Get Most Recent I-94.")
  • Most recently issued original I-20 document
  • Proof of current student enrollment
  • F-1 students on post-completion OPT should carry the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card.

Travel outside the U.S.

Documents to carry with you when you enter the U.S. Keep these documents with your boarding pass. Do not place in any checked-in luggage because you won't be able to access them when you enter the U.S. 

Remember, each time you leave the U.S, Customs and Border Patrol will determine your eligibility to re-enter when you return. Be prepared and have the following documents with you each time you re-enter:

  • Valid passport (with at least six months future validity)
  • Valid F-1 visa
  • Printed hard copy of most recent I-20 document with a valid travel signature
  • All previously issued I-20 documents (in case they ask to see them)
  • SEVIS fee receipt (showing your paid SEVIS fee)
  • Proof of financial support (varies by student but may include personal or family bank statements, copies of your scholarship letter or a copy of your Declaration of Finance form)
  • Proof of current student enrollment (enrollment verification can be obtained from the Registrar's Office)
  • F-1 students on post-completion OPT should carry the following:
    • Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card
    • Proof of employment (such a contract or letter from their current or prospective employer.)
    • Most recent I-20 with a travel signature that is not more than six months old

Contact info & additional resources

Veronica Thor
Director of International Student Services
Primary Designated School Official (PDSO)
vthor@sandburg.edu | 309.341.5312

International Student Services
2400 Tom L. Wilson Blvd.
Galesburg, IL 61401
Important resources, terms and abbreviations: