Study at St. Edward’s as an exchange student.
St. Edward’s welcomes exchange students to the hilltop from our partner universities around the world. Contact International Student Services (ISS) with questions about studying at St. Edward’s through our exchange program.
Exchange Student Application
You must first be nominated by your home university; check with your home university exchange coordinator for more information. Once nominated, you will:
- Complete the online application for admission to St. Edward’s.
- Upload a copy of your passport photo page. Dual nationals will upload a copy of the passport you plan to travel with. U.S. citizens will upload your U.S. passport photo page.
- Complete the Certification of Finances Form and then submit the form. U.S. citizens and ISEP students do not need to complete this step.
- Upload proof of financial support. A screenshot of an online bank account balance, official bank statement or signed letter from the bank detailing the available balance are examples of financial support documents. Documents must be dated within the past 6 months and meet the requirements described on the Certification of Finances Form. U.S. citizens and ISEP students do not need to complete this step.
- Show proof of English proficiency, such as IELTS or TOEFL test scores. The minimum English proficiency scores are IELTS 6.5 and TOEFL 79 (iBT). APU students: Contact ISS for requirements.
- Submit an official transcript from your home university, including final grades for the most recent completed semester. Include an English translation if the transcript is in another language.
- Review the Class Schedule and choose 10 classes you are interested in taking. Then, submit the list. Include the academic department, course title and course number, and list your most important class first.
- Complete the Insurance Acknowledgement Form.
Next Steps, Visa Information and J-1 Regulations
Process After You Apply
Once we receive all application materials, it usually takes a week to get your admission notice by email. You’ll receive information about activating your St. Edward’s online account, including your St. Edward’s email address.
ISS will issue your DS-2019 form after you’re admitted. This form is required for your J-1 student visa application. If you’re an ISEP student, ISEP will issue your form. When your DS-2019 is ready, we’ll mail it to your home university along with instructions for applying for your J-1 visa.
While waiting for your DS-2019 to arrive, you will:
- Activate your St. Edward’s University account using your account activation code.
- Submit proof of your bacterial meningitis vaccination.
- Register for or waive the university’s health insurance coverage. You’ll be billed for health insurance if you don’t waive by the 11th class day.
- Review Hillstart, an online course to complete tasks like submitting your housing application and registering for Orientation. Your Hillstart invitation will be sent to your St. Edward's email account.
Apply for Your J-1 Visa
Once you receive your DS-2019, follow these steps to apply for your J-1 visa:
- Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee online.
- Find your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
- Complete the online visa application and make an appointment for your J-1 visa interview. Application procedures vary by embassy or consulate location. Bring your original DS-2019 to your visa interview, along with your admission letter and financial support information.
Apply early to start your program on time. Once you receive your visa, upload a copy of it to ISS' records.
Ask ISS about J-1 visa regulations and benefits. Not following the requirements can affect your ability to stay in the U.S. as well as your eligibility for a visa in the future.
- Enroll full-time
- Update your DS-2019 with any address changes or program changes
- Don't work without authorization
- Follow U.S. laws
- Maintain required health insurance
- After your program end date on the DS-2019, depart within 30 days.
Some J-1 visa holders are subject to a two-year home-country physical presence requirement based on Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Learn more.
Arrival to Campus
When should I arrive?
Exchange students with a J-1 visa may enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the program start date shown on the DS-2019 form. Plan to arrive in time for International Landing Day, which is a mandatory check-in session.
How many classes do I have to take?
You must be enrolled full-time, which is 4 classes or 12 credit hours. Confirm whether your home university requires you to enroll in additional credit hours.
How do I register for classes?
ISS will send your PIN by email. Using your PIN, log in myHilltop to register for courses. Choose the correct term (spring or fall) and find the classes you need to take. The system will tell you if the class is full or conflicts with another class on your schedule. Click “add” and then “submit” to register for the course.
What should I do if a class that I want is closed?
See if there’s another section of the class available. If not, work with your home university to find another class that fits your degree plan. You may still add your name to the waitlist; if a spot becomes available, you’ll have 24 hours to confirm your registration. But, be sure to register for another class, even if you’re on the waitlist, because you have to be enrolled full time.
What should I expect in the classroom?
Your professor expects you to participate in class discussions. Assignments, quizzes and exams are required throughout the semester. Many professors have an attendance policy requiring you not to miss too many classes. Professors can withdraw you from a class for non-attendance, which can cause problems for your exchange program and student visa status.
What do I do if I’m struggling with a class?
Free academic mentoring is offered to international students. Learn more.
How do I take a language class?
If you already have knowledge of the language, you’ll complete an online assessment so we can place you in the correct level.
How do I get my transcript?
Order your transcript directly from the Office of the Registrar. There’s no fee to order transcripts sent by regular mail or to pick up in person, but there are fees if you order express mail or a digital transcript. We recommend express mail or a digital transcript because regular mail cannot be tracked and the Registrar cannot estimate delivery.
Health and Insurance Requirements
Do I have to have insurance?
Yes; your insurance plan must cover $50,000 medical expenses, repatriation and medical evacuation benefits. You may either purchase insurance through St. Edward’s or provide proof of insurance coverage each semester.
Are there vaccines I’m required to get?
Yes; you must submit proof of your bacterial meningitis vaccination. You may not be able to register if you do not complete this requirement.
I have a disability; how can I get support?
If you have a documented disability (learning, medical or psychological) or have questions about qualifying for services, email Student Disability Services or call 512-448-8557.
How do I sign up for on-campus housing?
Once admitted to St. Edward’s, complete the housing application in Hillstart.
What are the on-campus housing options?
See video tours and learn about different options for on-campus living. We recommend that exchange students live in one of the following: St. André Apartments, Johnson Hall, Basil Moreau Casitas or Jacques Dujarié Casitas. Exchange students are not able to live in the Maryhill and Hilltopper Heights Apartments.
Can I get a Social Security Number (SSN)?
A SSN is only required if you’re paid for employment. If you have an employment offer, speak with ISS to determine the appropriate documentation for authorization and your SSN application.
Can I work on campus?
J-1 visa holders are eligible for part-time on-campus employment, up to 20 hours per week. Before beginning your on-campus job, report your employment to ISS so we can update your DS-2019 record. Self-employment, such as private tutoring, is not allowed. If you’re unsure if a position is acceptable, check with ISS.
Do I have to file taxes?
If you receive income during your exchange program, you must file taxes. In the U.S., some of your income is typically withheld for taxes. Depending on your home country’s tax agreement with the U.S., you may be eligible to get some of this tax money back by filing tax forms at the beginning of the following calendar year.
Am I able to volunteer?
Per U.S. labor laws, work that is unpaid may still be considered employment for F-1 or J-1 status holders. Here are examples that highlight the differences between volunteering and unpaid employment.
March 16 On-campus housing application opens
April 1 Exchange application deadline
Aug. 16 Move-In from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Aug. 17 Orientation
Aug. 18 International Landing Day (this is mandatory)
Aug. 24 Classes begin
Sept. 8 Last day to request health insurance waiver
Dec. 10 End of semester
Dec. 11 Move-Out; campus housing closes at noon
Oct. 1 Exchange application deadline
Nov. 18 Register for classes
Jan. 7 Move-In from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Jan. 8 International Landing Day (this is mandatory)
Jan. 9 Orientation
Jan. 13 Classes begin
May 7 End of semester
Information for Exchange Partner Universities
Exchange nominations are submitted by partners via an online survey. Contact ISS if you’re a partner university exchange coordinator and need the survey.
- Fall semester (Aug.–Dec.) and academic year (Aug.–May): March 1
- Spring semester (Jan.–May): Sept. 15
Access resources, such as our Exchange Fact Sheet, university photos, videos and brochures.