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Frequently Asked Questions

Who studies in the Center for English Language Learning (CELL)?

The program is designed for persons who are not native speakers of English but want to learn English. Most of our students are citizens of other countries but many are citizens of the United States. The language skills we teach are very useful for persons who want to learn English in order to get an academic degree from a college or university in the US. It is also very useful to persons who need a high level of English for their jobs. Some of our students want to improve their English just because they enjoy using English with friends and family or find it useful when they travel in other countries. To be a student in CELL:

  1. You must be at least 17 years old.
  2. You must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. (That is, you must have completed secondary school by the time you enroll in CELL.)

Do I need an I-20?

You will need a form I-20 (also called a certificate of eligibility) if you plan to study in the US and you are a citizen of a country other than the US. You will need the I-20 to apply for a visa to study in the US. The IEP will issue you an I-20 if you need one and are accepted by the IEP. The I-20 is a form that you take to the US embassy or consulate to show that a university, college or school has accepted you for study in the US. You do not need an I-20 if you are a US citizen or a permanent alien resident of the US.

Do I need a visa?

If you are a citizen of a country other than the US, you will need a student visa to study in the US. You do not need a visa if you are a citizen of the US or a permanent alien resident of the US.

What do I need to do to apply for a visa to study in CELL?

You need to do the following:

  1. Complete the CELL application form.
  2. Make a $60.00 prepayment of your CELL fees.
  3. Send a letter of financial support (bank statement) showing that you will have sufficient money to study in the US.
  4. When you have been accepted to CELL, we will send you a form I-20. You use the I-20 to apply for an F-1 visa. An F-1 visa is also called a student visa.
  5. Contact the US Embassy or Consulate. An official there will make an appointment for you to talk with them in person. When you visit the US Embassy or Consulate, take your passport, the I-20 and proof that you will have enough money available to you to cover your expenses while you are studying in the US.
  6. The US Embassy will tell you when to return for your visa.

Is it difficult to get a visa?

Most students who apply for visas receive them if they show that they have enough money to study in the US and that they plan to return to their home country when they finish studying in the US.

Is there an application deadline?

No. There is no deadline for CELL to receive applications for admission. However, we encourage students to apply early to be sure that we will have a space for the student. If a student is not certain that he or she will be able to arrive in time for the beginning of a fall or spring semester, the student should contact us.

Where will my classes meet?

All of your classes will be in McReynolds Hall. It will not be necessary for you to go to different buildings for different classes in CELL. Your instructors and the CELL administration are also in McReynolds hall. McReynolds Hall is very conveniently located on the MU campus. It is next to a beautiful park, where students often go to eat their lunch. It is also close to several inexpensive restaurants. Some students choose to live in the residence hall immediately in front of McReynolds Hall, so it is very convenient for them. Many of our students enjoy living in a privately-owned apartment building that is only 10 or 15 minutes on foot from McReynolds Hall.

Is it expensive to live in Columbia?

No. The cost of living in Columbia is about 5% below the average cost for living in the US.

Can I take the TOEFL while I am in CELL?

Yes. We give the institutional form of the TOEFL at the beginning and end of the fall and spring semesters, and we also give it at the end of the summer sessions. The institutional TOEFL scores may be used to apply for admission to MU. There is no cost to students who take the institutional TOEFL while they are in CELL. In addition, the Internet-Based TOEFL (IBT) is given on this campus about 3 to 5 times each month in a building which is very near the IEP. Educational Testing Services, which produces the test, charges a student $140.00 each time the student takes the internet-based test.

Where can I keep my money?

We strongly recommend that every student open a bank account. It is easy to open a bank account. There are four banks that are only a few blocks from the CELL classrooms. Many of our students also use their credit cards to buy things or use an ATM (automatic teller machine) to get cash for their daily needs, so it is not necessary to carry very much money with you daily.

Are scholarships available for study in CELL?

CELL does not offer scholarships. Financial assistance and loans may be available to students who are Missouri residents.

Who is a Missouri resident?

In general, to qualify as a resident of Missouri, a person must meet certain requirements. Among the requirements are the following:

  1. The person must be a US citizen or a permanent resident of the US.
  2. The person must show an intent to make the state of Missouri his or her permanent home.
  3. The person must have been a resident of Missouri for at least 12 months, and must have worked in Missouri or be the dependent of a person who meets those conditions.

For more information, visit the Missouri Residency page of the Admissions site.

Can I send a copy of my documents by fax? Can I send a scanned copy of my documents as an email attachment?

Yes, a copy of the documents can be sent by fax at the time of application and the originals can be sent by mail later. The fax number is 573-882-0360. The email address is