Graduate: International Students

GGU Campus

STUDY IN THE HEART OF SAN FRANCISCO

Golden Gate University is dedicated to helping our international students from start to finish -- from application to graduation. About 13% of those enrolled at GGU are international students, hailing from more than 40 countries.

OVERVIEW

WHO IS DEFINED AS AN INTERNATIONAL STUDENT?

At Golden Gate University, international students include all students in F-1 or J-1 immigration status.

 

ENROLLMENT SERVICES

Enrollment Services provides assistance to international students and dependents, including:
  • Academic Advice
  • Immigration Advice
 
Hours

Mon - Thu: 9 am - 5:30 pm

 
Phone
415-442-7800
 
E-mail

info@ggu.edu

 
Location

536 Mission Street, First Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105

 
FAQs

 

Please Note: GGU no longer admits international applicants to undergraduate programs.

APPLYING

WHEN TO APPLY

GGU international students are granted admission on a rolling basis. Early application allows time for receiving credentials and processing government documents necessary for attendance. Timely submission is important for students currently living outside the United States who will need to apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa in their home country.

 

We do not have specific deadlines but we recommend submitting application materials at least 30 days prior to admission term start date:

  • Fall Term: last week of August
  • Spring Term: first week of January
  • Summer Term: last week of April
 
APPLY TODAY!

 

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

Degree Requirements

Applicants seeking admission to a masters degree program must hold a bachelors degree from a regionally-accredited US college or university or a degree comparable to a US bachelor's degree from an accredited international institution.

 
Transcripts

Applicants must submit official transcripts -- and certified English translations -- from each school previously attended. Examination scores and mark sheets may be submitted if the institutions attended do not maintain transcripts.

Chinese Academic Documents: Applicants must submit credential reports in English for transcripts and degree certificates, issued by the China Academic Degree & Graduate Education Development Center at www.cdgdc.edu.cn. The documents should be sent directly to Golden Gate University, Office of Admissions.

 
English Language Proficiency

Proof of achieving Golden Gate University's English Language Proficiency Admission Requirements is required of all graduate applicants who are non-native speakers of English. The English proficiency tests we accept are TOEFL, IELTS and PTE. We also have an agreement with ELS (www.els.edu). For more information, please contact the Admissions office at info@ggu.edu.

 
Financial Documents

A Certification of Finances form must be submitted by all applicants intending to study on F-1 or J-1 visas. This form provides information required by the US Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Download the Certification of Finances Form. This form must be accompanied by a bank letter.

 
GMAT / GRE Scores

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is required of MBA applicants ONLY. GMAT score reports must be sent from Educational Testing Service (ETS) directly to Golden Gate University. GRE scores are not required for admission into GGU's graduate programs.

 

SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

Transfer Credits

Eligibility to transfer academic credits from other institutions is dependent on a number of factors. For more details see:

 
Additional Coursework

International applicants admitted to graduate degree programs may be required to complete more than the number of units specified as required for degree completion -- regardless of the extent of previous work -- if determined by Golden Gate University additional academic preparation is necessary.

 
Non-Immigrant Aliens

The university is authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant alien students. The university will not issue appropriate documentation until the student has been admitted as a full graduate degree or graduate certificate candidate, and has been financially certified by the university's Certification of Finances approval process.

 
Residency Requirements

Students holding F-1 or J-1 student or scholar visas may only attend the physical San Francisco campus.

 
Minimum Course Units and Terms

The US Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement requires international students holding F-1 or J-1 student or scholar visas to be enrolled for consecutive terms of sufficient duration and units, typically consisting of no fewer than nine (9) units per term at the graduate level.

 

FINANCIAL AID

For All International Students:
 
Country/Region Specific:
ENGLISH REQUIREMENTS

All applicants whose first (native) language is not English must meet an English language proficiency requirement to qualify for admission. This requirement may be met through various testing or alternative methods.

 

QUALIFYING THROUGH TESTING

UNRESTRICTED ADMISSION

Scores at or above the following:
 
Graduate
TOEFL paper-based test (pBT)
550
TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT)
79
IELTS
6.5
Pearson Test of English (PTE)
57

CONDITIONAL ADMISSION

into the PLUS Program with scores at or above the following:
 
Graduate
TOEFL paper-based test (pBT)
500
TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT)
61
IELTS
6.0
Pearson Test of English (PTE)
45

 

QUALIFYING THROUGH ALTERNATIVE METHODS

Applicants may also qualify for admission by meeting one of the following requirements:
  • Completion of English 1A/1B (or equivalent) at regionally accredited US college or university with grades of B or better in both
  • Bachelor's degree from regionally accredited US college/university or equivalent from recognized college/university in other English speaking country with at least 60 of the units earned in the US or in the English Speaking country*
  • Master's degrees from regionally accredited US college/university or equivalent from recognized college/university in another English-speaking country)*
  • APIEL (College Board) Undergraduate: 3 or higher, Graduate: 4 or higher
  • Completion of 3 years of high school in the US or another acceptable English-speaking country*
  • Completion of a British-standard "O-level" examination in English Language/ Literature with a mark of C or higher**
  • Completion of a British-standard "A-level" examination in English Language/ Literature with a mark of A/O or D or higher**

 

* Not all English medium educational systems fulfill this requirement. Qualifying countries: Australia, Anglophone Canada, Great Britain, Ireland and New Zealand.

** Not all countries offering O- and A-level examinations meet British examining board standards. Countries with this standard include: Bahamas, Belize, Brunei, Ghana, Great Britain, Guyana, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jamaica, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

PREPARATION IN LANGUAGE & UNIVERSITY STUDIES (PLUS)

WHAT IS PLUS?

PLUS is a full-time academic-preparation program combining language instruction and educational support with enrollment in university graduate course work leading to a degree or certificate. PLUS allows students to improve English proficiency, while emphasizing subject-specific language learning and classroom skills, to keep students on track toward successfully earning a degree.

 

COURSES

PLUS courses provide knowledge and practice of the academic skills needed to be successful in GGU classes. PLUS courses include these topics: in-class presentations, working in groups, participation in discussions, writing and researching university-quality papers, analyzing case studies, and more. Students spend 15 hours per week in PLUS classes, in addition to GGU course work.

STUDENT VISAS

For all international students at Golden Gate University, it is the student's responsibility to maintain legal F-1 or J-1 visa status. Visa information provided by the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs can be found at the following resources:

STUDENT LIFE

International students are encouraged to play an active role in the GGU community by staying informed and participate in academic and administrative functions.

 

3 KEY FEATURES OF STUDENT LIFE AT GGU

  1. Information
  2. Involvement
  3. Networking

 

WAYS STUDENTS CAN BECOME INVOLVED

Student Newsletter

Contribute information about classes, the administration, teachers, fellow students and alumni, as well as a variety of other topics.

 
Student Government

Get involved in the policies, goals and objectives that affect the student body by promoting student development and properly allocating student funds.

 
Student Organizations

Network, learn team-building and leadership skills, and participate in social events through a variety of academic, cultural and athletic clubs offered at Golden Gate University.

IMMIGRATION SERVICES

Experienced advisors at GGU assist students with a variety of immigration related issues including: travel and visa renewals, employment eligibility and other topics. The information provided on this website is meant to serve as a general guideline. It is not considered legal advice.

Immigration regulations are constantly changing, so international students are encouraged to carefully read messages sent by the Graduate Advising Center and review this website for updates. Students are ultimately responsible for understanding and abiding by the guidelines imposed by current immigration status requirements. The Graduate Advising Center strongly encourages students to contact our office with any immigration related questions.

 

MAINTAINING STATUS

F-1 or J-1 status students are required to abide by various federal regulations to maintain immigration status. A few of these requirements include: providing the Graduate Advising Center with a current address, enrolling in a full course of study, and keeping appropriate immigration documents up to date.

 

FULL TIME ENROLLMENT

Immigration regulations require F-1 students enroll in a full course of study while completing degree programs in the US. GGU defines a full course of study depending upon the academic level and degree program. The chart below summarizes enrollment requirements.

FULL TIME ENROLLMENT REQUIREMENTS

DEGREE LEVEL
UNITS REQUIRED
Graduate 8+ units per academic term or more
Doctorate 7+ units per academic term or more

Only one online course may used to meet the full time enrollment requirement. Students may enroll in more than one online course after meeting the full time enrollment requirement. Full time enrollment also requires students to be enrolled over the course of the entire term. This means students must enroll in at least one 16-week course or a combination of 8-week terms including both B term and C term.

Students may be authorized to enroll in less than a full course of study if they have academic difficulties, a valid medical condition, or are eligible for a vacation term. Students must receive permission from the Graduate Advising Center Services PRIOR to enrolling in a reduced course load or dropping below a full course of study. Failure to receive permission could jeopardize your immigration status.

Students are eligible for a vacation term after completing two consecutive terms as a full time student at Golden Gate University. Students should inform the Graduate Advising Center of intent to take a vacation term by submitting a Reduced Course Load Form before the beginning of the term.

 

ADDRESS CHANGES

F-1 and J-1 visa students are required to report a change of address within ten days of moving to a new location. Address updates can be made by logging in to GGU4YOU.

 

IMMIGRATION DOCUMENTS

Recently arrived students from outside the United States, must ensure the I-94 record is marked "F-1" and "D/S" (duration of status). While in the US, international students should always be aware of the following:

  • Maintain a valid I-20 which reflects your current degree level and program of study. You are responsible for making sure the dates on your I-20 are current and valid.
  • If you are unable to finish all degree requirements before the completion date listed on your I-20, you must apply for a Program Extension before your I-20 expires. An extension cannot be granted after the program completion date has passed.
  • Maintain a valid passport at all times. Contact your Embassy or Consulate to extend your passport.

 

ON CAMPUS EMPLOYMENT

F-1 visa status students are eligible to work part-time while school is in session and full-time during approved vacation terms. Part-time work is considered less than 20 hours per week. Many international students who would like to work on campus at GGU are able to secure positions. On campus job openings are posted on GGU Careers.

International students do not require authorization from USCIS to work on campus. Once a job offer has been received, the Graduate Advising Center will help students with the documents needed to apply for a Social Security Number. You will not be permitted to begin work until you have obtained a Social Security Number.

 

SEVIS FEE

Beginning September 1, 2004, a new United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rule went into effect. This rule requires F-1 student visa applicants to pay a one-time fee of $200 to supplement the administration and maintenance costs of the Student and Exchange Information System (SEVIS).

 

BASIC TRAVEL GUIDELINES

In general, when traveling outside the US, F-1 students will need the following documents:
  • A valid I-20 with the third page endorsed for travel by an advisor The signature is valid for four months
  • A passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of re-entry to the US
  • A valid F-1 visa. The visa only needs to be valid through the date of re-entry to the US
  • Verification of financial support

 

If you are traveling to a country other than your own, be sure to check with the consulate or embassy of that country. You may need to apply for a tourist visa.

Anytime you travel, please complete the I-20 Request Form and leave your I-20 at the Graduate Advising Center at least one week before you will be leaving San Francisco. If you have dependents in the US, they will also need to obtain a travel signature on their dependent I-20 if they plan to travel.

If you are on OPT and residing outside of the Bay Area, you will need to mail your most current I-20 along with an I-20 Request Form to the Graduate Advising Center to get the proper signature for travel. Please plan ahead.

The US Department of State and the Citizenship and Immigration Service have increased the level of review international visitors face at US Consulates and Embassies abroad, US airports, and border crossing posts with Canada and Mexico.

 

TRAVEL WHILE ON OPT

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), an Office of the US Department of Homeland Security, revisited its policy concerning reentry for students on OPT. Based on this new interpretation we advise students to travel outside the US only if they can establish they are currently employed in the US or have a valid offer of employment.

 
Students on OPT should plan to present the following documents at the US Port of Entry:
  • A valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
  • An official letter of employment or offer letter
  • A current I-20 with a travel signature on the third page, dated within the last three months
  • A valid F-1 visa
  • A passport valid for at least six months
  • Verification of financial support

 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS

If you choose to travel, please follow these recommendations:
  • Carry proof of current enrollment at GGU and an official or unofficial copy of academic transcripts. It will now be important to also carry a letter from a Graduate Advising Center advisor if you have ever taken less than a full course of study.
  • Be honest, patient and courteous with all government officials, even if they are not the same way in return.
  • Consult the US Department of State website for alerts and information on visa issuance at particular US Embassies and Consulates abroad.
 
Be prepared when you travel for the following possibilities:
  • Delays in appointment scheduling and visa processing at US Consulates.
  • Change of visa processing at some US Consulates to include mail-in or "drop box" service for visa applications.
  • Delays in flights within the US and returning to the US from abroad due to heightened security measures at airports and delays along the Canadian border.
  • Inquiries and increased review of documents at all ports of entry for non-US citizens.
  • Multiple inspections of the same person by Immigration Service and/or Customs Officials.
  • Possible photocopying of documents by USCIS officials and possible videotaping of USCIS, Customs or FBI interviews.
  • Inspection of personal belongings, luggage, pockets or other searches.
  • For students in certain technologically sensitive fields, the Department of State is required to conduct a security clearance prior to issuing an initial US entry visa or extension of visa through a US Consulate abroad. The fields are listed on the Technology Alert List. Clearance may take one month to several months.

 

DISCLAIMER

Given the current rapidness of changes to immigration regulations and practices, this information is subject to change.

 

GRADUATE ADVISING CENTER

The Graduate Advising Center offers assistance to international students, including:
  • Course Registration
  • Health Insurance
  • Visa Paperwork Assistance
  • International Student Forms
  • Integration into the Community
  • Graduation Information
 
Regular Hours

Mon - Thu: 9 am - 6 pm
Fri: 9 am - 5 pm

 
Drop-in Hours

Mon - Thu 1:30 - 6 pm
Fri 1:30 - 5 pm

 
E-mail:
gradadvising@ggu.edu
 
Location

536 Mission Street, First Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105

HEALTH INSURANCE

OVERVIEW OF POLICY ON HEALTH INSURANCE

Beginning in the fall 2016 term, Golden Gate University will no longer be administering a group insurance plan for F1 and J1 visa holders in the Schools of Business, Tax, and Accounting. If you are an international student who is currently enrolled in GGU's 2015-2016 health insurance plan through Kaiser Permanente, please note that your last day of coverage through this plan will be August 31, 2016.

In order to have health insurance coverage on or after September 1, 2016, you will need to purchase health insurance coverage independently. You can find information about several different insurance options below.

 

U.S. HEALTH INSURANCE INTRODUCTION

Although GGU will no longer require that F1 visa holders* show proof of health insurance coverage, we very strongly recommend that you have health insurance while in the United States. It is important to be aware that the United States healthcare system is likely quite different from the system in your home country. Having health insurance coverage while in the U.S. is crucial as costs can be extremely high if you are injured or sick and do not have coverage. For a brief overview of the U.S. healthcare system, please take a look at the International Student Insurance video below:

*Note for J1 visa holders: J1 visa holders are still required to show proof of health insurance that meets certain coverage requirements. If you are a J1 student attending GGU through a sponsoring organization, your sponsor will likely provide health insurance coverage. If you will be studying on a J1 visa at GGU and you do not have pre-arranged insurance coverage, the below ISO plan meets government requirements.

 

HEALTH INSURANCE OPTIONS

The information below can help you start to find the right plan for you. Please note that the time required to enroll in a new plan can vary depending on individual circumstances, therefore it is important to plan ahead and apply early to avoid gaps in your coverage.

 
Insurance Through Family:

If your spouse or domestic partner is employed in the U.S., consider enrolling in a health insurance plan through his or her employer.

 
Insurance Purchased from a Provider:
  • Kaiser: Continue coverage with Kaiser by purchasing a plan directly.
  • ISO: Offers reasonably priced options which meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act.
  • Covered California: An insurance marketplace established in California following the Affordable Care Act. Available to F1 and J1 visa holders.
 
It is advisable to seek US health insurance that offers the following coverage at or above the following:
  • The policy has a low annual deductible ($150 - 500 USD) per year.
  • Understand whether your insurance offers "per incident" deductibles.
  • Policy covers at least $100,000 USD per injury or sickness.
  • Benefits are payable at least 70% within the provider network

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Do I really need health insurance in the U.S.? It's so expensive, and I'm healthy, anyways.

Yes, you still need it! In the United States, the cost of health care is not covered by the government as it is in some other countries, so it is important to have a private health insurance plan. Even though you may be healthy, it is necessary to have health insurance in case you get injured or become sick. If you do not have insurance, fall ill or get into an accident, and have to pay for your care completely out of pocket, the cost of care could end up being in the many thousands of dollars. For example, as this International Student Insurance video demonstrates, treating a broken bone can cost $18,000 - $47,000 out of pocket.

 
I really like the doctor I currently have through Kaiser Permanente. Can I keep seeing him/her?

Yes, you may be able to continue working with your current doctor by purchasing insurance coverage through Kaiser directly (here) or by selecting a Kaiser plan through Covered California (here).

 
Why is GGU no longer administering a health insurance plan for international students?

We spent a lot of time considering whether to continue administering a health insurance plan. We ultimately decided to stop due to feedback from students and our determination that the resources used to administer an insurance plan will be better used to improve our services in other ways.

 

US HEALTH INSURANCE: KEY TERMS

Co-pay

This is a fixed fee that you pay out of pocket at the time a medical service is rendered (e.g. visiting the doctor, obtaining prescription medicine). Your health insurance company will pay the remaining costs.

 
Co-insurance

This is similar to co-pay in that co-insurance represents a shared cost between you and the insurer for a service rendered. With co-insurance, however, the amount each party pays is not a fixed fee, but rather, is a percentage of the total cost of the service.

 
Annual Deductible

A deductible is a specific amount of covered medical expenses that you must incur and pay for out of pocket within one calendar-year before benefits are payable under the health insurance plan.

An example: If your plan has a $150 co-pay for ambulance services, after the deductible, this means that if you are transported by ambulance on January 1, 2016, and an ambulance ride costs $800, you will pay $650: $500 for the annual deductible, plus the $150 co-pay. If you need to be transported by ambulance again in 2016 (which we hope you wouldn't!), you will just pay the $150 co-pay the second time around, since you will have already paid the full deductible.

Depending on your plan, the deductible may be waived for some services.

 
Annual Out-of-Pocket Maximum

This is the maximum amount that you will have to pay from your own pocket for medical expenses in a plan year.

 
Maximum Lifetime Coverage

Some plans limit the total amount of money they will pay for your medical expenses during your lifetime. This will be listed in your insurance plan description as a "lifetime maximum" or a "maximum lifetime benefit" or "maximum benefit per condition."