Frequently Asked Questions


How long will it take to process my international student application to UCSC Extension?

The completed application form and supporting documents can be emailed to Normal processing time for an international student application is 3-5 business days after submission. Students are notified via email when their application is being processed and if any additional information is required. Application fees are paid for via a student account after submitting the application.

May I travel outside the U.S. while my change of status to F-1 is pending?

Traveling outside of the U.S. while a change of status is pending is not advised. If you do, your change of status application with USCIS will be considered abandoned. You will then either have to start over with a new change of status application or apply for an F-1 visa from a U.S. embassy/consulate.

You may travel after your change of status to F-1 is approved; however, you will need to go through the F-1 visa interview to obtain an F-1 visa in your passport and re-enter the U.S. on F-1 status. Please note that traveling at any time does involve risk as an F-1 visa from a consulate/embassy is not guaranteed.

How long does it take to receive an F-1 visa? How long does it take to receive a change of status to F-1?

If you are abroad:

If you are applying from abroad, you will need to go through the F-1 visa interview at a U.S. consulate/embassy. You can go here to see visa appointment waiting times. You can contact the consulate/embassy you plan to interview at to, schedule an appointment, learn what documents you will need to prepare, and what fees will apply. You can review these 10 points to help you better prepare for your F-1 student visa interview.

If you are in the U.S.:

If you are in the U.S. and plan to apply for a change of status to F-1, you will be filling an I-539 change of status application form with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You can check USCIS case processing times by going here. The name of the form is I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. The Field Office or Service Center will be either the California or Vermont Service Center (applicants do not get to decide which service center processes their I-539 application). Please note that these are only estimated times and in some cases processing times may be much longer.

International student advisers at UCSC Extension cannot submit applications to USCIS on behalf of a student, but can help answer questions.

Does my program of interest qualify for OPT and what is the estimated cost and duration of the program?

You can visit our Program Costs and Details Page to see which certificate programs support F-1 status and OPT. You’ll also find the estimated cost and units for each program.

To qualify for OPT, international students must study for a minimum of 3 consecutive quarters (approximately 8 - 9 months) and enroll in a minimum of 12 units each quarter. Students may take less than 12 units in their final (usually 3rd) quarter to complete a certificate with the International Student Advisor's approval.

How do I apply, what documents are needed, and when is the deadline?

International students must formally apply to receive a form I-20 from UCSC Extension. Below is a list of the documents we require and our application deadlines for each quarter. You may visit our How to Apply Page to find our application form, information on important dates and fees, and details on how to maintain F-1 status while studying at UCSC Extension. The completed application form and supporting documents can be emailed directly to

I-20 Application Requirements:

To receive an acceptance letter to study at UCSC Silicon Valley Extension, you must meet the following qualifications:

  • Have completed post-secondary education or have 2 or more years of verifiable industry experience.
  • Proficiency in English* (70 TOEFL, 6.0 IELTS, 50 Duolingo, 3.7 iTEP, 760 TOEIC or equivalent and accepted qualifications).

In addition, you must provide the following documents:

  • Bank statement showing a minimum of $30,000 to cover yearly living and tuition expenses
  • Proof of English Proficiency*
  • Copy of college transcripts or diploma
  • Copy of passport
  • (optional) Resume
  • (optional) Personal Statement

Already in the U.S. or planning to transfer from another U.S. institution? Also, provide the following:

  • Copy of visa
  • Copy of I-94
  • Copy of recent I-20 (transfer students)

*English Waiver may also apply if you have completed at least 2 years of study at a university or college in an English speaking country within the last 2 years.  We also accept qualifications from a few language institutions. Please inquire at



If you are in the U.S., forms are due:
If you are abroad, forms are due:


December 15
November 15

March 15
February 15

May 15
May 1

August 15
July 15

How do I get a private loan for continuing education?

Ways to Finance Your Education

Ready for advanced professional education but not sure how to afford it? A range of resources is available for UCSC Silicon Valley Extension students looking for ways to finance continuing education.

•  Students in UCSC Extension courses and certificate programs may be eligible for tax credits, job training grants, and other financial assistance.
•  Working students may qualify for employer reimbursement from many companies.
•  Private loans are also available. You will find important information and a helpful chart comparing terms offered by prominent lenders by clicking our Student Loan Lender List. UCSC Extension does not endorse any financial institution.

Private Continuing Education Student Loans

UCSC Extension students can apply for a private student loan that includes course fees and textbook costs. You do not need to be enrolled in a degree program, but you do need to declare candidacy in one of our certificate programs.

UCSC Extension does not endorse any financial institution. We have, however, worked with lenders on the list below. They offer competitive loans to students in continuing education programs.

How the Loan Process Works
The application process is generally completed online or via telephone. Once approved, a student loan check is disbursed to UCSC Extension, payable to the student. It is usually timed to arrive when needed to pay course fees. However, it can take four weeks after applying to receive the first loan check. We recommend that you begin the loan application process early. UCSC Extension will contact the student when the loan check is available. Applying for a loan does not reserve a space in the course. Payment is required at the time of enrollment.

In addition to considering the institutions on our Student Loan Lender List, you may want to contact your current bank or other lending institutions to see if they offer a student or continuing education loan. UCSC Extension will work with any student loan lender. Selecting a lender with whom we have an established relationship, however, may result in more expeditious loan certification and check distribution. UCSC Extension adheres to a UC-system wide code of conduct regarding interactions with lenders. For details, click here.

Students should consider all educational funding options prior to securing a private alternative loan. Remember to carefully review the terms and conditions, as the loan is from the lending institution and not from the school.

Federal Aid
Because Extension does not offer formal degree programs, UCSC Extension students are not eligible for Title IV financial aid based on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Can I receive continuing education units for my course?

You must check with your individual organization to see whether courses are accepted as CE hours. We currently are eligible for some courses toward MCLE, ACRP, BRN and RAPS.

Why do I have a CE grade rather than a letter grade?

Courses in the 800 series do not meet the academic content to receive letter grades. The Continuing Education Unit (CEU) is a method of quantifying the student’s participation in professional development, career enhancement and training activities. One CEU is awarded for each 10 hours of the student’s contact participation. These CEUs are accepted by many employers and re-licensure agencies as evidence of your commitment to career advancement and maintenance of professional competence.

Can I receive an Incomplete (I) grade?

Under certain circumstances, an “Incomplete” (“I”) may be authorized for students who are unable to complete a course within the prescribed time. You need to make a request to the program department at Your request for an incomplete status requires the department’s written approval. Students must have completed a minimum of 70 percent of the course work and it must be of passing quality in order to qualify for an incomplete grade.

An “I” grade may be changed to an appropriate grade notation by the instructor upon completion of all necessary work. If the “I” grade is not cleared within a maximum of three months following the course end date, it will convert automatically to an “F.” Please read the full incomplete policy for details.

Can I get my grade early?

Unfortunately, we are unable to process individual grades before the rest of the class is graded or before the prescribed time listed on our Grade Policy website.