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General Information | 2005-2006

The Texas Union

Recognizing that students learn from one another and from others in associations outside the formal curriculum, the Texas Union serves the University as a community center, providing facilities, services, and programs for students, faculty members, staff members, alumni, and friends of the University.

Major objectives of the Union include offering programs for intellectual, cultural, social, and recreational development, coordinating beneficial cocurricular activities, promoting genuine democracy, cultivating responsible citizenship, and facilitating an intelligent interest in and deeper affection for the University of Texas at Austin. Serving as a laboratory for student leadership experience, self-expression, and management, the Union contributes to the development of effective leaders for future responsibilities in community, civic, state, and national affairs.

The Board of Directors recommends policy for the Texas Union. The voting membership of the board includes six students and three faculty members. The director of the Texas Union and the vice president for student affairs, or the vice president's delegate, serve as ex officio members without vote.

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International Office

The International Office coordinates and administers programs that serve international students, faculty members, staff members, and visitors to the University community, as well as University students going abroad. The office is located at 600 West 24th Street and is open 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday. The telephone number is (512) 471-1211.

International Student and Scholar Services

Advisers who are aware of the demands associated with studying in another country are available to assist international students with matters related to their immigration status, cross-cultural adjustment, orientation to the University, financial aid, health insurance, housing, legal issues, employment, income tax status, social security regulations, and personal problems or concerns. International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) also assists in case of an emergency involving an international student or the student's family. More information about ISSS office hours and services is given online.

Sponsored Student Program. Students and sponsors of international students are provided advisers, special financial arrangements, required certifications, and supervision while in academic status and under sponsorship. The office also provides reports to sponsors.

SEVIS and immigration regulation compliance. Student immigration advisers are available to assist international students with issues regarding immigration status and the immigration service. For example, in accordance with immigration regulations, an international student who seeks to be enrolled for fewer than twelve hours as an undergraduate or fewer than nine hours as a graduate student is referred to the International Office. Withdrawal petitions for international students are referred to the International Office before final action is taken by the appropriate academic dean's office.

Special programs. The office administers special contract programs consistent with the academic objectives of the University and handles special arrangements for groups, including visiting representatives of other nations.

Mandatory health insurance. The Student Health Insurance Program is mandatory for international students, and the cost is included in the student's fee bill each semester. A student who has an acceptable level of coverage under a mandatory employee insurance plan, including University employee insurance, or a mandatory government-sponsored plan, may request a waiver of the fee at the time of registration or a refund prior to the last class day each semester. The minimum acceptable level of coverage is $50,000 per accident or illness, $10,000 for medical evacuation to the home country, and $7,500 for repatriation. Waivers must be requested at the International Office. Dependents in J-2 (exchange visitor) status are also required to have an acceptable level of coverage. Coverage for dependents may be arranged through the International Office.

English as a Second Language Services

Several kinds of classes in English for nonnative speakers are available through ESL Services. More information about ESL Services is published online.

Classes for University graduate students. ESL Services offers several courses for graduate students who would like to improve their English or are required by their departments to do so. Each three-semester-hour course counts toward full-time enrollment, but the courses do not count toward degree requirements or appear on student transcripts. Courses are available in oral communication, academic writing, communication for international teaching assistants, and basic speaking skills for potential international teaching assistants. More information about ESL classes for graduate students is published online.

Classes for everyone. ESL Services offers two intensive English programs that are open to adult nonnative speakers of English. The Academic English Program (AEP) is a full-time academic program for prospective graduate students who have completed their first university degree and plan to pursue a master's or doctoral degree in the United States. English proficiency at the intermediate level or above is required for admission to the program. The English Language Program (ELP) provides both full-time and part-time instruction in general-purpose English for students at all levels of English proficiency, including prospective undergraduates and those interested in improving their communication skills. Both programs offer optional test preparation instruction for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and other admission tests. Discounts are available for part-time study by University students, staff members, and faculty members and University-affiliated family members.

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Study Abroad

Information about educational opportunities in other countries, including study abroad, international internships, international research opportunities, and international scholarship programs, is available at the Center for Global Educational Opportunities (C-GEO). Information sessions are offered each week; students must attend a session before seeking staff assistance in selecting the program most appropriate to their needs and interests. The sessions include University policies governing study abroad, program options, funding sources, and application and selection procedures. Information is also disseminated through publications, special events, group meetings, individual appointments, reference materials, and at the C-GEO Web site.

University programs available to students include reciprocal exchanges with foreign universities; affiliated studies through organizations and institutions; and faculty-led programs, including Maymesters Abroad.

Exchange programs. Students in exchange programs register for a block of coursework in study abroad (SAB). Faculty members in the appropriate academic departments review the student's work to determine equivalent University courses; the C-GEO staff converts grades from the system used by the host institution into their University equivalents. Courses and grades are recorded as resident credit. Students are assessed the normal tuition and fees, plus a study abroad fee of $120.

Affiliated studies. Students register for affiliated studies (1) when they participate in study abroad programs offered by organizations and institutions with which the University has an affiliation agreement, and (2) when they engage in independent study or research and have been awarded a University-approved scholarship, fellowship, or grant. Students enrolled in affiliated studies (A S) are considered full-time students. A fee of $103 is assessed students registering for affiliated studies.

After a student takes part in a program offered under an affiliation agreement, University faculty members in the appropriate academic units review the student's work to identify the equivalent University courses. Courses and grades appear on the student's academic record, but they are not included in the University grade point average. Affiliated studies credit is treated as resident credit to the extent allowed by departmental rules.

Faculty-led programs. Academic units may offer courses taught abroad as a part of their regular curriculum. Students who take these courses follow normal registration procedures and are assessed normal tuition and fees. Additional fees are charged to cover program costs.

Financial assistance. C-GEO advisers verify budgets for students who are awarded funding through the Office of Student Financial Services. Information about other funding opportunities for study abroad is available at the center. The center administers the campus competition for a number of grants, including the Institute of International Education (IIE) Fulbright grants, the National Security Education Program (NSEP) grants, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) grants, regional IIE awards, and the University's International Education Fee Scholarship (IEFS).

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Transfer Credit Policies for Coursework from International Institutions

Evaluation by the Office of Admissions of course credit earned at an international institution does not constitute approval of the credit for use toward a degree; such approval is solely within the jurisdiction of the student's academic dean. Policies governing the evaluation of transfer credit from international institutions include the following.

  1. Transfer credit is generally awarded for academic course credit earned from Ministry of Education-accredited institutions.
  2. Rules governing the assignment of transfer credit from United States institutions also apply to transfer credit from international institutions.
  3. To receive credit, the student must earn a grade that is comparable to a C on the grading scale used at the University. The Graduate and International Admissions Center establishes grading scale equivalencies for international institutions.
  4. If the credit was not earned as part of a University-affiliated study abroad program, the symbol CR (credit) will appear on the student's University record instead of a letter grade.
  5. Transfer credit from a nonaffiliated study abroad (language and culture) program is not assigned a specific University course number. Instead, undesignated credit may be recorded, and the student's academic dean will determine the specific credit to be allowed for degree purposes on a substitution basis. Both current and previously enrolled University students who attend a nonaffiliated study abroad program may be required, at the discretion of the appropriate language department, to take the CLEP test to earn credit for specific language courses.
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General Information | 2005-2006 page 6 of 9 in Chapter 5
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Student affairs

    Office of the Registrar     University of Texas at Austin copyright 2005
    Official Publications 16 Aug 2005