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Student Policies

The IEI expects students to attend class regularly and to complete all assignments on time. Attendance, study, and constant practice lead to successful language learning. Furthermore, students on F-1 visas need to have good attendance so that they can maintain their immigration status as full-time students.

Limit on Absences

While the IEI expects students to attend 100% of their classes, there are times when students cannot attend class, for example sickness, childcare, or taking the TOEFL. However, students may not miss more than 15% of IEI class hours during the semester. Full-time students are permitted 40 hours of absences in fall and spring; 20 hours in summer. (For part-time students, the number of allowed absences differs. Part-time students will be informed of the number of allowed absences at the beginning of the semester during orientation.)

The number of allowed hours of absences within a semester is as follows:

  • Students taking 20 hours of classes per week may miss up to 40 hours
  • Students taking 16 hours of classes per week may miss up to 32 hours
  • Students taking 14 hours of classes per week may miss up to 28 hours
  • Students taking 12 hours of classes per week may miss up to 24 hours
  • Students taking 10 hours of classes per week may miss up to 20 hours
  • Students taking 8 hours of classes per week may miss up to 16 hours

Students are sent an email warning when they have reached half of the allowed absences (for full-time students: 20 hours in fall and spring; 10 hours in summer). The student must then meet with an international student advisor.

Students who go over the allowed number of absences will be placed on attendance probation for the next term in the IEI. Any student who goes over the allowed absences two semesters in a row will not be able to continue at the IEI. For more information, see the probation section of the student policies tab on this website. Additionally, students with a very large number of absences may have to leave the IEI after one semester. Special or extenuating circumstances in terms of excessive absences are rare and will be considered by the Academic Admin Team in consultation with the director.

Tardiness/Arriving Late to Class

Please note that students who arrive more than 10 minutes late to class may be counted as absent for that hour. Three “lates” (arriving up to 10 minutes late for class) equals one hour of absence.

Disruptive Conduct

Teachers may ask a disruptive student to leave the class. This will be counted as an automatic absence.

Excused Absences

There are no “excused” absences. If a student has a serious illness or a family emergency, he or she should contact an international student advisor to discuss the situation.

Absences for Religious Holidays

Absences for religious holidays are not “excused.” However, the IEI will do its best to accommodate students’ desires to observe religious holidays. Students should inform teachers by the end of the second week of class of any conflicts due to religious holidays and of any planned absences from class (this is still counted as an absence), especially if this will happen during the last week of the term during finals and exams.

The purpose of the Intensive English Institute is to prepare students for academic study in an American university or for professional success. Learning to understand the American grading system is a part of students’ preparation. Therefore, the IEI uses the American grading system to evaluate students’ progress during the semester. The American grading system uses a letter grading system (A, B, C, D, and F).

Teachers may use these grades to evaluate tests, quizzes and homework. At the end of the semester, teachers give each student one final letter grade in each course. This final grade represents a student's effort, progress and achievement for the semester. It is not based on general English proficiency, but on IEI class work. Teachers evaluate their students on the basis of grades on tests, quizzes and homework, as well as participation in class activities. Each teacher prepares a “first-day-handout” for the class that explains grading procedures as well as other basic information for the class. Because the grade includes components which do not indicate language proficiency, such as effort and participation, a passing grade may not mean that the student is ready to move up to the next proficiency level.

In general, the letter grades can be interpreted as follows:

A: the student has participated actively in the class, done all assignments, and made excellent progress (an “A” is worth 4 points).

B: the student has done well on class assignments and activities, made good progress in these subjects, and participated in class (a “B” is worth 3 points).

C: the student has made some progress but also has some problems (a “C” is worth 2 points).

D or F: the student has not satisfactorily completed the work for the class (a “D” is worth 1 point and an “F” is worth 0 points).

Students who fail all classes (0.0 Grade Point Average) are not allowed to return to the IEI. Students with a Grade Point Average (GPA) of less than 2.0 will be placed on academic probation for the next term in the IEI. Any student who has a GPA below 2.0 for two consecutive terms in the IEI will not be allowed to continue. For more information, see the probation section of the student policies tab on this website. Special or extenuating circumstances with respect to grades are rare and will be considered by the Academic Admin Team in consultation with the director.

Final grades will be provided to students through a secure online portal that only the individual student can access. If students have a problem accessing grades, they can contact the IEI.

Proficiency Assessment

In all IEI courses, students receive a list of proficiency goals for the class. Teachers will assess students’ English language proficiency in terms of these proficiency goals. Teachers will give informational reports about proficiency to students and to the IEI administration. Proficiency assessment means that instructors judge students’ language ability according to progress on specific language standards. The proficiency reports are not the same as “grades.” The difference between them is: Grades measure students’ work, participation, and effort, while proficiency only measures students’ present skills and abilities in terms of the course goals.

Grade Appeal Process

Students should talk directly with teachers when they have questions about final course grades. This is the fastest way to address questions. However, if a student wishes to submit a formal written grade appeal, he or she may follow these steps:

Deadlines for submitting formal grade appeals:

  • Fall semester: December 31
  • Spring semester: May 31
  • Summer semester: August 15

Appeals will not be considered past these dates.

Step 1: By the deadline stated above, submit the Formal Grade Appeal form to the IEI Main Office, in person or by email.

Step 2: The academic coordinator discusses the grade, as needed, with your teachers.

Step 3: You will be notified of the appeal decision by the dates listed below.

  • Fall grade appeal: January 10
  • Spring grade appeal: June 5
  • Summer grade appeal: August 20
Appeal Course Grade

Returning students receive notification of their placement for the next semester shortly after the end of the current semester. If students return to the IEI immediately after a previous semester, they are placed into classes based on their previous semester’s proficiency assessments.

However, returning students who wish to do so may request to retake the English Placement Test (EPT) at the beginning of the new semester.

If, after retaking the EPT, students believe their placement level is incorrect, they may follow the Placement Appeal Process. Formal appeals are due by 5 p.m. at the end of Week 1. Appeals will not be considered after that date.

Note: During the first week of instruction, students should attend the classes on their class schedule and purchase the required textbooks or course packets. Students should keep their bookstore receipts and not write in their books the first week. If a student's placement does change, he or she can exchange the books at the bookstore.

Students who return to the IEI after being gone for a full fall or spring semester or longer must take the placement test again. Students who take the summer as vacation in between spring and fall semesters at the IEI are not required to take the placement test again in the fall.

A student's progression through the levels at the IEI is based on their scores on the EPT and their ability to satisfactorily meet the majority of the objectives in each of their courses. Students at the IEI may not skip levels.

Placement Appeal Process

The following procedures apply to both new and returning students.

During Week 1, students should attend their assigned classes. Teachers will carefully observe English performance and administer diagnostic tests to be sure students are placed in the correct level. Placement changes are rare. But if a change is appropriate, the Academic Admin Team will notify those students at the beginning of Week 2.

Students who wish to appeal their placement in the IEI may follow these steps:

Step 1: Submit the Formal Placement Appeal form before 5 p.m. on the Friday of Week 1.

Step 2: The Academic Admin Team consults with and collects information, as needed, from the student’s teachers.

Step 3: Students will be notified of the appeal decision by campus email by 5 p.m. on the Tuesday of Week 2.

Student Placement Appeal

Attendance Probation

Students who miss more than 15% of class will not receive a certificate of attendance and will be placed on attendance probation for the next term in the IEI. To be allowed to continue studying at the IEI, the student must meet with an international student advisor and sign a “Probation Agreement”. The Probation Agreement states that the student must have good attendance. The attendance of students on probation will be checked at midterm and at the end of the semester. Students who go over the limit of absences will have to leave the IEI. They will need to leave the U.S. or be accepted to a different program immediately. They may need to apply for reinstatement of their student status. Special or extenuating circumstances are rare and will be considered by the Academic Admin Team in consultation with the Director.

Academic Probation

Students with GPAs less than 2.0 will be placed on academic probation for the next term in the IEI. To be allowed to continue studying at the IEI, the student must meet with the Academic Admin Team and sign a “Probation Agreement”. The Probation Agreement states that the student must have a 2.0 GPA at the end of the semester. Any student who has a GPA below 2.0 for two consecutive terms in the IEI will not be allowed to continue. Students who fail all classes (0.0 GPA) are ineligible to return to the IEI. Special or extenuating circumstances are rare and will be considered by the Academic Admin Team in consultation with the Director.

Conduct Probation

Students enrolled in the IEI must conduct themselves in a manner appropriate and compatible with the IEI’s function as an educational institution. Students are expected to follow IEI and course rules, and to act and speak in a way that shows respect for others. Students may be asked to leave a classroom for disruptive behavior. This will count as an automatic absence. Further, students whose conduct continues to be disruptive or endangers the health or safety of any person will be placed on conduct probation. To be allowed to continue studying at the IEI, the student must meet with an international student advisor and sign a “Probation Agreement”. The Probation Agreement states that the student must make demonstrable progress in terms of conduct, or the student will not be allowed to continue and may be asked to leave the program.

Rules of Conduct Applying to All Students

Students enrolling in the IEI assume an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner compatible with the University’s function as an educational institution and suitable to members of the academic community. A full description of the rules of conduct can be found in the Code of Policies and Regulations Applying to All Students, for which students are subject to discipline includes but is not limited to the following:

  1. Physical abuse, intimidation, harassment, coercion, and/or other conduct that threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person, or creates in such person a reasonable fear that such a result will occur
  2. Sexual misconduct: any sexual activity that does not involve the knowing consent of each individual, expressed verbally or otherwise
  3. Violation of any published University policies, rules, or regulations

Students living in University Residence Halls are subject to all the rules set forth in their housing contracts. Proven violators of these rules may be expelled from the University Residence Halls.

Students who are requested to leave the classroom for disruptive conduct will automatically receive an absence for that class. IEI students whose conduct continues to be disruptive or endangers the health or safety of any person will be placed on conduct probation.

Academic Integrity

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign policies regarding academic integrity are described in the Code of Policies and Regulations Applying to All Students. These policies are typical of American universities. They also apply to IEI students. Review the Academic Integrity policies.

Students can be given an official warning or a reduced or failing grade for any of the following:

  • cheating on tests and class assignments
  • fabrication (presenting information that is not true)
  • helping others cheat (including taking exams for others)
  • plagiarism (claim someone else’s words or ideas as their own)
  • use of bribes or threats to get better grades
  • computer-related infractions
  • unauthorized use of university resources

Because one of the functions of the IEI is to prepare students from other cultures for the American academic culture, IEI students are not automatically suspended or dismissed because of academic dishonesty. However, if an IEI student were involved in this type of situation, the case would be reviewed by the Academic Admin Team and appropriate action would be taken. Dismissal would be an option in only extreme cases. Students must realize that other institutions will assume that students are aware of what is considered to be academic dishonesty and will expect them to avoid such behavior.

U.S. government copyright laws prohibit illegal copying and distribution of textbooks. IEI students are expected to buy their own copies of classroom textbooks. IEI teachers are not allowed to accept work from illegally copied books.

Withdrawing & Returning Home

Students on an F-1 or J-1 student visa who need to return to their country before the end of the semester may withdraw from the IEI. Before a student can withdraw, he or she needs to complete the “Request to Withdraw” form below. After the request to withdraw is approved, the student must leave the U.S. within two weeks if he or she is in good standing. Students on a F-2 visa or J-1 visiting scholar or J-2 just need to complete the form before they can be considered officially “withdrawn” from the IEI.

Withdrawing & Transferring

In the unusual case that a student needs to withdraw from the IEI to begin a program at another school before the IEI semester ends, he or she needs to complete the “Request to Withdraw” form. The student also needs to speak with an international student advisor about the transfer.

Refunds

To receive a refund, students must first officially withdraw by completing the “Request to Withdraw” form and having it approved by an international student advisor.

Certain fees are not refundable:

  • The application fee
  • Any early registration deposit
  • The Health Insurance Fee
  • Health Services Fee

Partial Tuition & Fee Refunds

Students who officially withdraw from the IEI will receive a partial refund of tuition and student fees according to the schedule below:

  1. Transfer-out without completing registration (new student only request for 1-20 transfer) - $1000 per I-20 issued, money must be received before 1-20 transfer is complete
  2. Withdrawing during the 1st week of class (the form must be completed and submitted to the IEI main office before 4 p.m. on Friday of the 1st week of class) – 50%
  3. Withdrawing after the 1st week of class – NO REFUND
  4. Withdrawing before the 1st day of class (the form must be completed and submitted to the IEI main office before 4 p.m. on the last day of registration/orientation week) - $1000 per I-20 issued

Students sent by educational agency consultants who withdraw may incur a deduction from any refund equal to the commission rate charged by the agent to the IEI.

Students who must withdraw from the Intensive English Institute due to a documented health reason may defer 50% of the tuition remaining towards future study within one year. If students want to return to the IEI, they must reapply to the IEI and receive a new I-20 and visa to resume studies. Such students are not eligible for the “IEI Returning Student Discount.”

All refunds must be approved by the Director. If payment was made by cash or check, the university will issue a check. Note that this process can take 4-6 weeks. For sponsored students, the refund can be made only to the sponsor who paid their tuition and fees.

Request to Withdraw Form

The IEI does not provide recommendation letters for university applications. The IEI assesses only a student’s English language ability. Admissions officers sometimes ask for a letter about English abilities when a student’s test score (such as TOEFL or IELTS) is not quite high enough for admission. If a university admissions officer asks for such a letter from the IEI, the IEI is happy to provide a report on the student’s language abilities.

The IEI sends letters about language ability directly to the university admissions officer. A student may not receive a letter to keep for himself or herself. Students should not ask the IEI for a letter which they can take themselves.

Students would like to ask the IEI to write a letter about their English language proficiency should complete the “Request for Language Assessment Letter” form. Please allow a minimum of two weeks from the time the form is submitted.

Please note (1): A letter from the IEI about English language ability includes confidential information about a student's performance in the IEI: grades, proficiency reports from the teachers, and sometimes additional comments from current teachers. If the student has poor grades and proficiency reports, the letter about his or her language will not look good. If the student has any grade lower than a “B” grade and the student has not been doing work in his or her classes to demonstrate English skills, he or she might want to consider not asking for a letter from the IEI.

Please note (2): The IEI can only provide language letters after assessment periods (mid-term assessments and end-of-term assessments). The IEI cannot provide a letter about a student’s performance before mid-term. The IEI cannot provide a letter about a student’s complete performance until final grades and proficiency reports are completed.

Statements of Purpose

Students who are applying to an American college or university often need to submit a personal essay called a Statement of Purpose (SOP) with their application. Other students may need to write a résumé for a job or a graduate school application. Students should not ask their IEI instructors to edit or give you feedback on an SOP or résumé. Reviewing and editing SOPs, résumés, or other non-course-related documents takes time away from course needs and responsibilities and should not be expected from IEI instructors. For information on SOPs, students should see the university's Undergraduate Admission and the writing center resource page. Additional help with SOPs can come from a university-pproved private tutor. For help with cover letters, résumés, or SOPs, students can go to the Career Center.

Language Assessment Request

Students who are unhappy about something at the IEI - if they believe that they have been treated unfairly in any area or are dissatisfied with something at the IEI - they should first discuss the problem with the person most directly involved: the teacher, the administrator, or the support staff in the IEI main office. Talking directly to the person involved is not only the quickest way to solve a problem, but it is also the approach most frequently followed by U.S. students.

If the problem or question is about the IEI's policy, the student should talk with a member of the Academic Admin Team.

When a student has a question or concern about a class, it is best to speak with the teacher. Students should make an appointment to talk with the teacher in his or her office, not in the classroom before or after the class. If talking to the teacher cannot solve the problem (or if the student really does not want to talk to the teacher directly), the student should then discuss the problem with a member of the Academic Admin Team. If the problem still remains unsolved, the team will help with other grievance options. Students who wish to fill out a formal student complaint should complete the form below.

File a Complaint

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, commonly known as FERPA, is the federal law that protects the privacy of a student’s educational records. This law means that the IEI cannot release student information (grades, transcripts, etc.) to other persons (including parents if an individual is over 18 years old) without the student’s written consent, except in special circumstances.

The IEI can release information about students to other faculty and staff members or to law enforcement officials when the health and safety of the student or other students, faculty, and staff are at issue. The IEI must also release information as needed to the Department of Homeland Security. University of Illinois policies for access to student information by others can be found at in the Student Code. Students who wish to grant access to their educational records should complete the form below.

Release of Information

The IEI will close only if the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign closes. This is very unlikely. However, weather or another emergency may cause the university to close. In the event of severe weather, students should check their school email regularly for updates.

The IEI is accredited by CEA, The Commission on English Language Program Accreditation. This means that the IEI has met the CEA’s 54 Standards in areas such as mission, curriculum, student achievement, student services, recruiting and faculty. The IEI is expected to continue to meet the CEA Standards all during the period of its accreditation.

A student, faculty or staff member, as well as others outside the program who may think that the IEI has not maintained these standards may file a complaint with CEA. The complaint must be filed in writing with the name, address and telephone number of the person who is complaining on a separate page. In the complaint, the person must identify the specific standard(s) they believe have not been met as well as a description of how the IEI has failed to meet them. More information can be found on the CEA website.