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Admission to CESL

Thank you for your interest in Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Center for English as a Second Language (CESL). As part of SIU, our intensive English program is authorized by federal law to enroll non-immigrant alien students and issue the I-20 form required to apply for a student visa.

CESL admission is open to individuals who:

  • Are age 18 or older and/or who have completed high school.
  • Have enough funds or a scholarship to cover their tuition, fees and living expenses for the duration of their CESL study.
  • Have English language proficiency at this level or above: TOEFL iBT 40, TOEFL ITP 425 or TOEFL PBT 425/IELTS 4.0/Duolingo English Test 75/CEFR B1.
  • Are willing to work hard in a demanding language-learning program

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There Is No Place Like CESL

Thanks to our rotating CESL schedule, you can enroll in SIU’s program during any of the five different time periods throughout the year.

The cost of our CESL program is very affordable.

See the extra benefits our intense academic English program features.

Seeing is believing - Come to CESL!

Immerse yourself in American culture and life in a beautiful, safe area with an attractive cost of living. View our virtual tour.

Visit CESL's photo gallery and see for yourself how incredible the SIU experience is!

CESL StudentsApplication Process

  • Submit the CESL application form which is available:
    • Online
    • As a PDF document by emailing
    • In a paper format at the CESL office, located in Room 3242 of Faner Hall on the SIU campus.
  • Send a copy of your passport; it must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your period of stay in the United States.
  • Provide one of these as proof of funding:
    • A copy of a bank statement from the person paying for your education.
    • A copy of your financial guarantee if you have a scholarship.
  • Complete the Financial Statement Form (pdf)
  • Pay a $160.00 non-refundable application fee*:
    • via
    • using the attached Credit Card Form (pdf)
    • sending a check or money order payable to Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
  • Provide transcripts of your academic records (if you are under 18 or if you are a transfer student)

You may send copies of the supporting documents to but you will need to take the originals to your visa interview and bring them to the CESL office during registration week. You may also send the documents via mail to:

CESL Admissions
1000 Faner Drive
Mail Code 4518
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Carbondale, Illinois 62901

*In addition, a $1000 initial non-refundable tuition deposit might be required before granting admission. This one-time fee indicates your commitment to attend CESL and secures your course enrollment. When you register as a new student, the $1000 deposit will be applied towards the tuition of your first term. Please note that this deposit will not be refunded if you withdraw from CESL before finishing the term.

U.S. Permanent Residents or Citizens:

Please submit a copy of you permanent resident card (“green card”) or proof of U.S. citizenship (a U.S. passport).

Application Processing Time:

Applications are usually be processed within 7-10 business days after all documents are received.

*Payment in full or proof of sponsorship is required at time of registration at the school or a $25 late fee may be assessed. Students will not be permitted to enter classes until tuition or a financial guarantee is received.


Here is more information about the documents you must submit to CESL in order to complete an application:

Regular Students Application Checklist

Transfer Students Application Checklist

*Bank Statements:
The applicant must submit his/her own bank statement or the bank statement of the person who will pay for the applicant’s studies. It must show a balance of $4,500 US for each intended session of study. The statement must be written in English. The name of the account owner must be in English. The statement must clearly show the type of currency held in the account.

Terms & Conditions

Application fee:

The application fee ($160) is not refundable.

At the time of initial registration you will also need to pay the normal student fees, the campus health insurance costs, and the amount still due for tuition.

Paying by check or money order

If the application fee is paid by check or money order (rather than by credit card – the preferred method), the application will not be processed until the check or money order has been received in the mail.

You may submit your application and documents by any of these methods:

  • Submit the application and all documents listed below by email to CESL@SIU.EDU. You must type your SURNAME in the subject line of the message.
  • Fax the documents to 618/453-6527. Please include a cover sheet showing the student’s name and email address.
  • You or someone you designate my carry the documents to the CESL office.