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Student Handbook


The Language and Culture Institute at Radford University, offered through a partnership with Virginia Tech, provides language-related programs and services for academic and professional development.

Our Intensive English Program offers full-time language training to international students. Instruction is available from beginning through advanced proficiency levels and is supplemented by self-paced, interactive computer-assisted training.

Our instructors and staff members have worked on this handbook to help make your stay in the United States easier, more pleasant, and more productive. Please read it carefully. Ask questions. Make suggestions if you see ways this information can be improved.
In addition to the rules set out in this handbook, all students enrolled in the LCI@RU's English Language Program are subject to the rules and regulations set out in the Radford University Standards of Student Conduct.

Getting Started

Radford Email
Every new LCI@RU student will need to set up an email account. This will be used to send you important notices and bills. You will use this account as long as you are a Radford student. You will choose your own email username. With your email account and an associated password, you can access online Radford services.
You will create your username by activating your RU account.  You will need your student identification number to set up your account.

Campus Alerts
RU Alert is Radford’s Emergency Notification System. In a campus emergency, Radford will use several information delivery methods to reach students because, at any given time, one form of communications might be better to reach you than another. RU Alert, one of those delivery means, will send messages to cellphones, landline numbers and email accounts. Students are strongly encouraged to register for RU Alert.

Bills are issued within two weeks of the beginning of each term. Payment is due within five business days of the issuance date. Bills are paid online. Students who do not pay their bills on time will be removed from class until the bills are settled, so it is important that you pay your bill as soon as you receive it.

Immigration Regulations

As an international student, you must obey the immigration laws and regulations of the United States. Because you are a student with F-1 status, you are responsible for learning, understanding, and obeying the U.S. laws and regulations that apply to you. If you fail to do so, you can be deported from the United States and barred from returning for a long time. It is extremely important that you read and fully understand the following information.

Arrival to and Departure from the U.S.    
U.S. federal regulations [8CFR214.2(f)(5)(i)] state that students may enter the United States no earlier than 30 days before the report date on the Form I-20. An F-1 student who has completed his or her academic program is allowed a 60-day period to prepare to leave United States. An F-1 student who has been authorized to withdraw from classes before completing his or her academic program is allowed a 15-day period to prepare for departure. Students who wish to withdraw must complete a leave request form. Approval by the school is required. Students who withdraw without the approval of the international student advisor must leave the U.S. immediately [8CFR214.2(f)(5)(iv)].

Address Changes    
U.S. federal regulations [8CFR214.2(f)(17)] require that you report any address change within 10 days of the address change. Do this by reporting your new address to the program coordinator. This includes address changes for any of your dependents as well.

Authorization to Drop Below a Full Course of Study    
U.S. federal regulations [8CFR214.2(f)(6)] require you take a full course of study. You are allowed to take a reduced number of hours only after getting permission from the international student advisor and only very limited reasons. Students who wish to drop below a full course of study must complete a leave request form.

Reporting Departure Date and Reason
Students may leave school early or unexpectedly. Some of these reasons include early graduation, leave of absence, suspension, or expulsion. U.S. federal regulations [8CFR214.3(g)(3)] require that you inform the international student advisor or program coordinator if you plan to leave the school earlier than the program end date listed on your Form 1-20, and to give your reason for doing so. Students who wish to depart early must complete a leave request form.

Extension of Program End Date
Pay close attention to the program completion date indicated on your 1-20. Your F-1 status will end on the program completion date unless it is extended. You are required by U.S. federal regulations [8CFR214.2(f)(7)(iii)] to make your request before your program completion date. Extensions are subject to approval by the school, and will only be granted for valid reasons. You can request a program extension at any time during the school year, but must do so at least at least one week prior to the expiration date on the I-20. See the program coordinator to request an extension.

Transfer Procedures    
Transfer means that a student is leaving one school for another school. This can happen, for example, when a student completes his or her academic program at a language school and then goes on to an undergraduate or graduate program at a U.S.-based community college, college or university.

Students who wish to transfer must be in contact with two schools: the current school and the new school. Both of these schools must be authorized to enroll international students by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. To transfer, regulations [8CFR214.2(f)(8)(ii)(C)] require that you:

  • Apply for admission and be admitted to the new school
  • Inform your current school as soon as possible after admission and, no later than the last day of your academic program
  • Inform the new transfer school of the expected transfer date (usually the last day of your academic program)
  • Complete the process at the transfer school no later than 15 days after the first class day at the school.

Careful attention to the last date of the academic program at the current school and the first day of classes at the transfer school is very important; failure to complete the transfer process in the prescribed time frame [8CFR214.2(f)(8)(i)] will cause you to violate your immigration status. See the international student advisor or program coordinator for assistance transferring to a new school. All obligations to the school must be satisfied before a transfer will be processed.

Students seeking to transfer to a new institution should complete a Transfer Request form, which can be obtained from the international student advisor or program coordinator. Scholarship students should obtain prior permission to transfer from their sponsor.

Program Rules

Full-time Enrollment
Students enrolled at the LCI@RU on an F-1 Visa must take at least 20 hours of class per week each term in "core" courses. You must progress to academic study or leave the United States by the end of two academic years.

LCI@RU courses are not part of the Radford degree program and, as such, do not carry academic credit.

Student Status
Students must maintain full-time enrollment, attend classes, make academic progress, and maintain financial responsibility for their stay in order to maintain student status.

Full-time students must attend at least 85 percent of their classes in order to meet the requirements of the program. You may have no more than 24 hours of absences in an eight-week term, or more than 18 hours during a six-week summer term.

F-1 students who are in status have the ability to:

  • Work on campus.
  • Transfer to another institution without leaving the country.
  • Extend English language studies for up to two years.

You will fall out of student status if you fail to maintain full-time enrollment, progress in your studies, attend classes, or follow other immigration regulations outlined above. Working illegally or being convicted of a felony are particularly serious violations of status. If you fall out of status, you must petition the U.S. government for restoration of status through a process called reinstatement. There is a processing fee for applying for reinstatement, and your application may be refused.

Vacations are allowed only after you have attended four consecutive terms (two university semesters) or nine consecutive months at the LCI@RU. You may not take a vacation and stay in the United States until you have completed nine consecutive months of classes or four consecutive terms — unless the program is on break. You may take a vacation only if you plan to return for more classes and are in good academic standing.

Students are required to complete a leave request form to request vacation. Approval is at the discretion of the school and, where approved, will be for one academic term. All obligations to the school must be satisfied before a vacation request will be processed.

If you want to go home during any holiday break, be sure to make your plane reservations as soon as possible. The airlines are often very busy around holidays. You will not be given a tuition reduction if your travel arrangements force you to leave early or to return to the U.S. after the term begins.

Holders of F-1 student visas who fulfill all the terms of their status can work on the Radford campus for no more than 20 hours per week during the school term and up to 40 hours during vacations. You should inform the international student advisor before taking a job on campus. You are not allowed to work off campus.

The U.S. government requires international students to file income tax returns. Save all your records of earnings from wages and bank interest payments.

Leaving the Country
F-1 students who leave the country for less than five months and intend to return to the LCI@RU need to have their I-20 forms signed before departure. The international student advisor and the program coordinator may sign I-20s for travel, and will do so for students in good standing. All obligations to the school must be satisfied before a travel authorization will be processed. If you leave the U.S. and your Form I-20 expires while you are away, you will need a new I-20 to re-enter. If your F-1 visa expires while you are away, you must go to the U.S. consulate in your home country to renew your visa.

Legal Obligations    
Students must comply with all laws and regulations of the U.S. government and Radford University. This includes laws regulating drinking, contracts, computer usage, driving, and insurance.
U.S. laws specifically forbid noncitizens from using government aid programs designed for low-income U.S. citizens. The Financial Certification Form you presented with your application to the LCI@RU is proof that you have enough money to pay all your expenses while you are a student. U.S. consular officers consider the use of public assistance funds as a reason for visa denial. Be careful not to take any action now that will endanger your chances of returning to the U.S. in the future.

Any student who knowingly advises or encourages another student to violate U.S. law will be asked to leave the program.