Student Policies

 

Attendance

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. 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 allowed absences differs. Part-time students will be informed of the number of allowed absences at the beginning of the semester.)

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 the international student advisor or student services coordinator.

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. Extenuating circumstances are rare and will be considered by the international student advisor 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 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 the international student advisor or student services coordinator 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. Please inform your teachers by the end of the 2nd week of class if you have any conflicts due to religious holidays this semester and will be absent 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.

Grades

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 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. 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. Extenuating circumstances are rare and will be considered by the international student advisor in consultation with the director.

Grades will be provided to student 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, while proficiency measures students’ present skills and abilities in terms of the course goals.

Grade Appeal Process

Please talk directly with your teachers if you have questions about your final course grades. This is the fastest way to take care of your questions. However, if you wish to submit a formal written grade appeal, 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

FORM: Appeal Course Grade

Placement

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. They do not need to take the placement test again in order to be placed.

However, returning students who wish to do so may retake the English Placement Test (EPT) at the beginning of the new semester. See instructions for registering for and taking the EPT on the “Early Registration Form” sent to you by the IEI office near the end of the semester.

If, after retaking the EPT, you believe your placement level is incorrect, please 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, attend the classes on your class schedule and purchase the required textbooks or course packets. Be sure to keep your bookstore receipts. Do not write in your books the first week. If your placement does change, you can exchange your 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.

Placement Appeal Process

The following procedures apply to both new and returning students.

During Week 1, attend your assigned classes. Your teachers will carefully observe your English performance and administer diagnostic tests to be sure you are placed in the correct level. Placement changes are rare. But if a change is appropriate, the academic coordinator will notify you at the beginning of week 2.

If you wish to appeal your placement in the IEI, please follow these steps:

Step 1: Submit the Formal Placement Appeal form in person to the IEI Main Office before 5pm on the Friday of week 1.

Step 2: The academic coordinator consults with and collects information, as needed, from the student’s teachers.

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

FORM: Student Placement Appeal

POLICY: Student Progression Policy

Progress

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 the 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. Extenuating circumstances are rare and will be considered by the international student advisor 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 Coordinator 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. Extenuating circumstances are rare and will be considered by the Academic Coordinator 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 the international student advisor or student services coordinator 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.

Conduct

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

The University of Illinois policies regarding academic integrity are described in the University of Illinois Code of Policies and Regulations Applying to All Students. These policies are typical of American universities. They also apply to IEI students. The section of this document that explains Academic Integrity can be found here.

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 a committee 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 text books. IEI students are expected to buy their own copies of classroom textbooks. IEI teachers are not allowed to accept work from illegally copied books.

Probation

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 the 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. Extenuating circumstances are rare and will be considered by the international student advisor 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 Coordinator 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. Extenuating circumstances are rare and will be considered by the Academic Coordinator 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 the international student advisor or student services coordinator 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.

Withdrawing and Refunds

Withdrawing and Returning Home

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

Withdrawing and Transferring

In the unusual case that you need to withdraw from the IEI to begin a program at another school before the IEI semester ends, you need to complete the “Request to Withdraw” form. You also need to speak with the international student advisor about your transfer.

Refunds

IEI Refund Policy

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

Certain fees are not refundable:

  • The application fee
  • Any early registration fee
  • The Health Insurance Fee
  • Health Services Fee
Partial Tuition and 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. 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) – 90%

    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. Transfer-out without completing registration (new student only request for 1-20 transfer) – $300, money must be received before 1-20 transfer is complete

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.

FORM: Request to Withdraw Form

Letters of Recommendation

The IEI does NOT provide recommendation letters for university applications. The IEI assesses only a student’s English language ability. In some special cases, a university admissions officer might ask for a letter about your English abilities from the IEI. Admissions officers sometimes ask for such a letter when a student’s test score (such as TOEFL or IELTS) is not quite high enough for admission. In these special cases, 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. Please do not ask the IEI for a letter which you can take yourself.

If you would like to ask the IEI to write a letter about your English language proficiency, please complete the “Request for Language Assessment Letter” form. Please allow a minimum of two weeks from the time you submit the form.

Please note (1): A letter from the IEI about your language ability includes confidential information about your performance in the IEI: grades, proficiency reports from the teachers, and sometimes additional comments from current teachers. If you have poor grades and proficiency reports, the letter about your language will not look good for you. If have any grade lower than a “B” grade and you have not been doing work in your classes to demonstrate your English skills, you 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. First-semester students in the IEI may not request a language letter before mid-term.

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. Please do not ask your 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 your instructors. If you need help with SOPs, you can find a university-approved private tutor to assist you on the General ESL tutor list.

For help with résumés, see the Career Center website at careercenter.illinois.edu/.

FORM: Language Assesment Request

Student Complaints

If you are unhappy about something at the IEI – if you believe that you have been treated unfairly in any area or are dissatisfied with something at the IEI – you 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 IEI policy, you should talk with the IEI international student advisor or academic coordinator.

If you have a question or concern about your class, it is best to speak with the teacher. You should make an appointment to talk with the teacher in his or her office, not in the classroom before or after your class. If talking to the teacher cannot solve the problem (or if you really do not want to talk to the teacher yourself), you should then discuss the problem with the academic coordinator. If the problem still remains unsolved, the academic coordinator will help you with other grievance options which may perhaps include the completion of a Formal Student Complaint Form.

If you would like to file a complaint with the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA), please refer to this document.

Form: Student Complaint

Student Records

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 IEI 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.

FORM: Release of Information

School Closings

The IEI will close only if the University of Illinois closes. This is very unlikely. However, weather or another emergency may cause the university to close. In the event of severe weather, check your email regularly for updates. You may also check local closings here.