Deposit by May 1 for Early Decision Perks!


International Students

International Student & Scholars Services

SEU is proud and excited to welcome Christian students from dozens of countries and foreign territories worldwide. In fact, we believe so strongly in the value of expanding Christian higher education to all corners of the world that we have a department specifically dedicated to serving international students: the Department of International Student & Scholars Services (ISSS). We’re here to guide our international students every step of the way.

We’ll help you feel comfortable with the admission and enrollment process, and once you’re here, we help you get adjusted to campus life.

About ISSS

The mission of ISSS is to promote your success as a student. We help international and intercultural students adjust to the college environment by identifying with Southeastern University’s specific culture and promoting effective, positive academic behaviors. ISSS has one admission counselor who is dedicated to international students and can assist with all legal requirements for entering the U.S. to pursue a degree.

We’re Here to Help!

International Student and Scholars Services serves international students, missionary students, and intercultural students at SEU by helping them with admission to the university and the intricacies involved in staying here as they complete their degree. We also assist with transitioning into the United States, maintaining nonimmigrant student status, and resolving other immigration issues as needed.

ISSS Staff


Phone: 863.667.5330

Betania Torres joined the ISSE team as the Director for International Student Services and Enrollment in July of 2016, having previously worked in SEU’s Office of Admission. In her role, Torres oversees the operations and program development of the ISSE Department. She also oversees the planning and coordinating of all aspects of social, cultural and educational programs, seminars/workshops and events that promote intercultural educational exchange experiences. These events are planned for the benefit of international students, missionary student, and the SEU community. Torres actively oversees recruitment efforts by working with international students and with the AG Hispanic Districts throughout the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean. Torres is an active member of international organizations such as the National Association of Foreign Student Advisors (NAFSA) and the Florida Association of International Educators (FAIE). She is an associate member of Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) and is an integral member of the SEU team that promotes and supports the university’s continuous efforts for comprehensive internationalization. Torres also serves as co-advisor for SEU’s chapter of Mu Kappa International (MK/missionary student club) at SEU.


ISSS Services

Getting students enrolled is just the start. SEU provides a fully comprehensive package to make the transition simple so that you can acclimate to both a new country and to college life. These services include a specialized orientation, workshops, social events, academic support and assistance with finding legal resources.

You will need more than dorm accommodations and books to get started in college. That is why ISSS offers a specialized and very detailed orientation just for international students. You will need visas, homeland security paperwork, and the like, so you will move in earlier than domestically based students do to get all of these processes squared away. If you need assistance with pick up from the airport or helping move in, please contact our office in advance via This helps ensure that you do not feel overwhelmed and gives you time to adjust before student orientation begins for the rest of the new student population.

ISSS hosts numerous workshops and events each semester, designed specifically to help you feel welcome, to take the stress out of the legal side of your education, and to integrate into your new surroundings.

These sessions show international students how to receive employment or internship opportunities off-campus and receive paid wages. As long as the internship is related to your field and you are earning college credit, you can usually qualify.

In addition to workshops that teach you about social security, ISSS also helps you get your card once you qualify. Once you have a job (on campus) or a CPT position, you will qualify for a social security number. ISSS explains what to bring along to the social security office and provides transportation to get there.

Once you graduate, you can qualify for OPT, which allows you to get a job anywhere in the U.S. The OPT application is a lengthy process, so if you are interested in pursuing it, ISSS will help you begin your application during your senior year. ISSS also provides workshops about this so that once graduation comes; you will be able to start working right away.

Each fall ISSS hosts an event specifically designed to help international students with the transition into the United States and to navigate the stigma around mental health issues and fatigue. ISSS explains the services we offer through presentations and activities. Returning students share their experiences with new students, giving you all a way to connect and be encouraged.

Tax professionals come to campus to help you file the proper forms; one for when you are working and a different one for when you are not.

You will learn what you need to apply for a driver’s license and even set up a time to receive transportation to the DMV.

To ensure compliance with the law, we bring in a professional immigration lawyer to present ways to stay in the U.S. legally during and after college. The presentation covers everything from applying for a green card to applying for a work visa, and even the process to follow if you are planning to marry a U.S. citizen, and much more.

Admission Details

The information here is specific to international students who are seeking to earn a bachelor’s degree as a traditional, campus-based student at Southeastern. It does not necessarily apply to graduate students or students pursuing an online program from their home countries

If you have additional questions that are not covered here, click here to complete the Request for Information form and an admission counselor will contact you.

Note for Students with Disabilities
Southeastern University is committed to ensuring equal access to all programs for people with disabilities. If you would like to receive accommodations while attending Southeastern University, please contact the SEU Office of Academic & Auxiliary Services at or 863.667.5283. Visit for our policies and additional information.

An international student is one who attends Southeastern on a non-immigrant F-1 visa. Students who have legal permanent residency (“green card”) status through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or who are U.S. citizens by birth but have grown up overseas may be culturally and socially “international,” but for purposes of the application, enrollment and financial aid eligibility, they should follow all procedures for U.S. citizens.

Completion and submission of the following documents are required for admission to SEU:

  • Complete application
  • Biographical essay (1–2 pages, typed and double-spaced): Describe the beginning and present growth of your relationship with God and how you see yourself as a good match for Southeastern’s academic and spiritual environment.
  • Christian character assessment form: This is a recommendation form that must be completed by a spiritual mentor such as a pastor, youth leader, Bible study teacher or another person who has guided you in your faith; it cannot be completed by a relative.
  • Official high school transcripts or final completion documents: If your transcript is not yet translated to the US grading system, you must submit it through an official translating service like Spantran or InCred.
  • Copy of your passport
  • Copy of any U.S. visa you may have currently
  • SAT/ACT Test Scores
  • TOEFL scores: (Exception: If you’re from an English-speaking country, high school or university and have a “C” or higher in your English classes, then you’re not required to submit an English Proficiency Exam. If you do not meet this exception, you will be required to take the TOEFL test.)
  • College/university transcripts (if you have attended another college/university): If your transcripts are from a foreign university, please submit a “course-by-course” transcript evaluation as offered by JSilny, World Education Services, ECE, Spantran, or InCred. This evaluation will indicate to Southeastern whether or not your college credits can transfer to Southeastern; the evaluation also allows the admission office to determine if you qualify for transfer academic scholarships.

Contact your enrollment counselor for information on graduate enrollment for international students!

If possible, we recommend that you take the SAT or ACT since these can help you avoid college preparatory classes. Otherwise, you will be automatically assigned to take college preparatory math and English courses. Nearly every country offers access to the SAT or ACT. 

  • Refer to their websites for testing dates and locations:
    SAT  –; SAT school code for sending scores: 5621 (Scores can take around four weeks to arrive in the mail.) 
  • ACT – ACT school code for sending scores: 0754 (Scores can take around four weeks to arrive in the mail.) 

Students who wish to be considered for the Honors Program (a more rigorous academic load and higher academic scholarship) must submit the SAT or ACT test and score at a very high level. Click here to learn about the requirements for acceptance into our Honors Program.

  • Format Score Paper-based test (PBT) 540–543 
  • Computer-based test (CBT) 207
  •  Internet-based test (IBT) 76 

Yes, we accept the IELTS test as a replacement for the TOEFL. The minimum accepted score is a 6.

The Duolingo English Test is an online English proficiency test that can be taken online, on-demand, in under an hour for only $49. The test is taken via a computer with a camera and includes a proficiency score, video interview, and writing sample which are shared with Southeastern University when you send your results. Certified results are available within 48 hours of the test session. Minimum score: 105

GPA is your “grade-point average and should be reported on your transcript. It is the average of all your grades over your secondary education years, weighted accordingly as designated by your school or educational system. In the U.S., we use a 4.0 grading scale, meaning 4.0 is the highest grade of “A,” and the lowest passing grade is 1.0, or “D.” It would be most helpful if your secondary school would provide a grade comparison scale for us to use in calculating your GPA on the 4.0 scale; if this is not available, we will research an equivalency scale and approximate your GPA on the 4.0 scale.

The application deadline for the fall semester (August start date) is May 1; for the spring semester (January start date), it’s December 1. Exceptions may be made to these dates. However, because of the additional steps required for international students to obtain or transfer their visa status, we highly recommend you begin the application process well before these deadline dates.

If the grading and evaluation system used by your education system differs from those used by the United States education system, you must provide official translation and a course-by-course evaluation of at least the last two years of high school and grade-point average computation.

  • Transfer and graduate students are required to submit transcripts from all colleges and/or universities attended, with translation and credential evaluation. It must list all courses in progress including course names, course numbers, and numbers of credit hours.
  • Spantran has created a custom application to help Southeastern students get the right kind of evaluation at a discounted rate ($150 for standard service). To apply for an evaluation of your non-U.S. transcripts with Spantran or similar services, select below.

SEU is on the semester system, with a fall semester starting in Mid-August and a spring semester starting in January. In general, the school year runs from mid-August through late April/early May. 

  • Click here to view a detailed calendar that shows the various breaks and exam periods. 
  • Southeastern’s residence halls and dining services are closed to students during the Christmas/New Year’s break between semesters and during the summer vacation (early May to August). Please plan accordingly to vacate the campus during these times. (NOTE: Students who have summer campus jobs or who enroll in summer classes may make arrangements to stay on campus at an additional cost.) 
  • Please note that international students will be required to arrive on campus a few days ahead of the rest of the new students for a special orientation. Details about this will be provided well in advance by the international student services and enrollment office when you receive your initial student visa documentation.
  • You can send your documents by scanning and emailing them to your admission counselor or to the admission office at  
  • You can also mail your documents to Southeastern University’s address: 1000 Longfellow Blvd., Lakeland, FL 33801. Please label your envelope with “Attn: Admission.” 
  • We recommend emailing your documents instead of mailing them.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

While your application is being processed, be sure to begin the steps necessary to secure financial aid (if you haven’t already).

International students can qualify for any merit-based scholarships including academic, athletic, music, theater and film. (note that academic scholarships for international students follow the same criteria as the U.S. citizen’s academic scholarships). For a complete list of available scholarships, click here to visit the financial aid page of our website.

Please make sure to pay attention to the scholarship deadlines, as some of them are very early in the year. Please note that scholarships described as “need-based” or based on the FAFSA are not available to international students.

Endowed scholarships are a diverse assortment of privately funded scholarships awarded annually in the spring for the following academic year. These are one-time awards that range in amount from a few hundred to several thousands of dollars. Students may apply for these scholarships through the SEU website beginning February 1; the deadline is March 1. Several of the endowed scholarships are specifically for international students, and students may apply for up to five on the list. They are only available to students who have attended Southeastern for at least one semester, so incoming students do not qualify for those during the admission process. Learn more.

Yes. Education expenses can be easier to manage when spread over predictable monthly payments. Southeastern offers 2 types of payment plans to assist students and families. We offer plans for undergraduate and graduate students through Flywire and NelNet. Each plan has an enrollment fee per payment plan and includes:

  • Convenient monthly payments
  • 24-hour account access to your monthly payment plan information via Flywire
  • No late fees
  • The ability for students to set up multiple authorized users to contribute to their payment plan
  • Around-the-clock multilingual support with flexible contact options
  • To register for a Flywire payment plan, please select the link and follow the steps to set up your account today.
  • To register for a NelNet payment plan, please select the link and follow the steps to set up your account today.
  • For additional information regarding payment plan options, please contact Financial Aid at

Only U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents may file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to possibly qualify for federal aid. Students attending college in the U.S. on an F-1 or other type of non-immigrant visa do not qualify for these benefits and should not file the FAFSA.

International students who attend Southeastern on an F-1 visa may work on campus only and are limited to 20 hours of work per week (if a student works more than one campus job, the total number of hours worked cannot exceed 20). They are welcome to apply for any of the many campus jobs available. If a student receives a job offer, he or she will need to contact the international student services & enrollment office for assistance in obtaining a U.S. Social Security number. Once the student receives a SSN card, he or she can begin employment.

NOTE: Jobs are competitive, and the SSN process can take around two weeks or longer for processing of the new card. International students are cautioned that campus work will only supply a portion of the funds needed to attend Southeastern. Projected income from plans to apply for a campus job cannot be considered as part of your school funding on your affidavit of support. For details about the application process, click here to visit the Social Security website.

Click here to view the tuition and room and board costs.

You have two options of payment: Pay for the entire first semester at least one month before the semester begins. For the fall semester, payment is due by August 1. For the spring semester, payment is due by December 1. Pay a 30% deposit at least one month before the semester begins, and set up a monthly payment plan from then on to cover the remaining balance.

For the fall semester, payment is due by August 1. For the spring semester, payment is due by December 1. You can set up a payment with NelNet or make a wire transfer by using Fly Wire. 

Visas, Classes, & Arrival Information

After your admission counselor has received all the necessary documents for admission, and if you’re accepted, you will need to send the enrollment confirmation form with your $200 deposit and the affidavit of support with supporting financial documents (like bank statements, salary employer letter or real estate holdings). These forms will be provided to you after you have been accepted for admission.

After you submit the required documents, your file will pass to our international student Enrollment Counselor  who will contact you directly and create your I-20 form. The Enrollment Counselor will also advise you regarding the next steps you’ll need to take to obtain your visa, the required documentation for that process, your arrival details and the required international orientation.”

The international student coordinator will also be your main contact and advisor on immigration matters once you’ve arrived on campus as well as throughout your time at Southeastern.

No more than five months may pass between finishing one school term and beginning another. Upon finishing your secondary or high school program (as indicated as the program end date on your high school I-20), you have 60 days to receive a new I-20 form from the international students coordinator. Once your plans are finalized to attend Southeastern, put your high school international adviser (DSO) in contact with Southeastern’s international students coordinator to arrange for the release of your SEVIS record.

Yes, proof of health insurance that meets requirements established by the state of Florida for F-1 students is required. Plans issued in your home country will not comply.
If you need to purchase a plan, we recommend this provider, as they offer competitive rates and specialize in international student policies: 

  • Enroll through their website and call for assistance, if needed.
  • Calling from the U.S.: 1.888.247.1387 
  • Calling from outside the U.S.: 001.904.247.1387)

Click here for a complete list of our available programs. Please make sure to select only “Traditional Undergraduate” options as those are the only ones available for traditional, campus-based international students seeking a bachelor’s degree, or a master’s degree that is campus based. You must indicate your intended program of study in order to create your I-20 form (you can change the program at a later date if you wish).

No; students hoping to enroll at Southeastern must come with a level of English proficiency sufficient for study at the university level (as measured by the TOEFL or Duolingo English Proficiency Exam Scores).

As a first time incoming freshman, your class schedule will be provided to you by the university before you arrive for your first semester. Once you arrive, you will be able to fill out a form to declare your major (program of study) and make any changes to your class schedule that you wish to make. You will work with an academic adviser according to your academic major of interest. Your academic adviser will make sure you’re on track toward the degree you’re seeking. He or she will consult with you about the courses you should take and any extra programs you want to pursue, pray with you for guidance for your future and be a mentor and guide to you during your time at Southeastern. (Graduate students work directly with your program advisor to create your schedule.)

Before you come to campus as a Southeastern student, you must have been accepted for admission, obtained your F-1 visa or necessary documents to study in the U.S. and have made payment to Southeastern through one of the semester payment options. 

After those steps are completed, you will receive information regarding the mandatory international orientation at the beginning of the semester and other important arrival information including what airports serve our area and how to find transportation to Southeastern. We will do our best to provide transportation for you from the airport for your first arrival only (we regret we can offer this service to students only — not to family members). 

At the international orientation, we will give you the information and tips you need to adjust to American culture and other guidelines specifically tailored to international students to help you enjoy a great semester. There will be many other people who will help answer your questions, as well. Each residence hall has a Resident Director and Resident Assistants who are available at all times to help make your experience at Southeastern comfortable and enjoyable. Southeastern also has a unique program called the First Year Experience, which helps every first-year student integrate into the culture of Southeastern — a culture that is deeply committed to the academic achievement, social development and spiritual growth of each student. In addition to a weekly class meeting, First Year Experience students meet in smaller groups to participate in discussions led by faculty and staff.

Students under the age of 22 must live on campus unless they have immediate family members or close relatives in the area with whom they can live. Living on campus is considered the best way for students — especially international students who are new to American culture — to adapt quickly to life as Southeastern students. It is the policy of the university to not provide on-campus housing for nontraditional students who are 24 years of age or older, married students or students with children. Exceptions for age may be granted through an appeals process. The Department of Student Services will review requests, and exemptions may be made based on housing availability and individual circumstances.

Current International Student Information

Check out the many services available at ISSS here, refer to the below forms and instructions as needed, and contact ISSS at with any questions.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a temporary authorization for practical training directly related to your major field of study—paid or unpaid. CPT is authorized by the ISSS office. Students have a chance to work full-time or part-time in internships that are integral to the student’s degree program.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment that is directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study. Eligible students can apply to receive up to 12 months of OPT employment authorization through USCIS after completing their academic studies.

A Social Security number (SSN) is issued to track earnings over a worker’s lifetime. The Social Security number itself is not a work permit. Students holding F-1 and J-1 status who are employed in the U.S. must apply for a Social Security number