International Students

International Students

An international student applicant must submit the following required items to be considered for admission:

  • A completed application for admission.
  • Official ACT or SAT scores.
  • All official transcripts submitted must be evaluated course-by-course by an outside evaluation agency at the applicant's expense. Click here for accredited agencies
  • Evaluations must be sent directly to Fisk University's Office of Recruitment and Admission.
  • We receive an electronic transcript from the following companies that evaluate transcripts:

Demonstration of English Proficiency (if the student's native language or their country's official language is not English) by one of the following:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of:
    • 500 (paper-based)
    • 173 (computer-based)
    • 61 (internet-based)
  • International English Language Test Systems (IELTS) overall band score of 5.5

*Students who submit SAT test scores above 1200 and 28 ACT are exempt from submitting TOEFL scores or IELTS.

Eligibility Requirements to Issue Form I-20 to International Students

  • Applicants must be admitted for a full course of study.
  • Students must provide reliable financial documentation to prove that they have financial resources adequate to meet all expenses while studying at Fisk University.
  • Actual documentation must indicate that funds exist at least for the student’s first year of study at Fisk.
  • Once your financial documents have been approved, your I-20 will be processed and mailed to you. Sign and date your Form I-20 at the bottom of page-1 and use it to apply for F-1visa.

Note: In addition to tuition & fees, students are required to pay in full for room and board (meals) before they are allowed into the residence halls.

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Financial Support & Documentation

Fisk University recognizes the following as acceptable financial support documentation:

  • Scholarships—Documentation must be an official award letter from the school or sponsoring agency.
  • Family or Personal Funds—Documentation must be an original bank statement, letter from the bank on the bank letterhead and certificate of finances.

In addition, Fisk requires advance enrollment and housing deposit of $700 prior to issuing Form I-20.

How to Aquire F-1 Status

If abroad
Enter the U.S. with your I-20 and an F-1 visa obtained at a U.S. Embassy or consulate in your country.

If already in the U.S.
Send the I-20 to USCIS (U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services) with an application for change of nonimmigrant status.

How to Obtain an F-1 Visa

Please follow these steps to obtain an F-1 Visa:

  • Get an I-20 and acceptance letter from Fisk University.
  • Pay SEVIS I-901 fees. All initial students are required to pay the SEVIS fee. For more information, go to
  • Complete the online visa application and then pay visa application fee.
  • Aquire a passport valid for at least 6 months.
  • Prepare proof of financial ability to cover the cost of education and living expenses in the U.S.
  • Make an appointment for visa interview and take all the above documents to the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate in your country to apply for F-1 visa.

For more information about U.S. visa application process, go to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country.

Post-Acceptance Documentation Requirements

If offered admission to Fisk University, the following documentation is required before an I-20 can be processed:

  • Completed International Certification of Finances. (click here for form) (488 KB, PDF)
  • Completed Affidavit of Financial Support covering the entire period of expected enrollment. (click here for form) (461 KB, PDF)
  • Original/certified bank statements converted to (USD) from the student's family or sponsor(s), dated no more than six months prior to date of application, showing enough funds (in USD) to cover tuition, room, and board, and personal funds, which is currently about $32,000 USD per academic year.
  • Clear copy of Passport Information page.

Note: Fisk University will only issue an I-20 when all requirements for admission to the University have been met. Obtaining an I-20 from Fisk University does not guarantee that the student will be granted a student (F-1) visa by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Please Read Important Notes

International applicants are considered non-Tennessee residents for both admissions and residency criteria. All applicaation documents must be submitted direcrly to the Office of Admissions and Recruitment. Any academic documents submitted after the first semester of enrollment at Fisk University will not be accepted. Fraudulent documentation may result in the denial of admission to the university.

International students already in the United States studying at another college/university who wish to transfer to Fisk University must follow the admissions criteria listed above as well as complete and submit an International Student Transfer Form to the Office of Global Initiatives.

International students must arrive at campus no later than two weeks prior to the program start date listed on the I-20 to attend mandatory orientation sessions and to register for classes. International students must submit a Student Health History form showing current immunizations and enrollment in the student health insurance program is required.

An international student must be enrolled as a full-time student (at least 12 credit hours as an undergraduate student and 9 credit hours as a graduate student) each semester, with the exception of the summer session, in order to maintain a proper F-1 visa status.

International students are accepted for admission for the fall or spring semester. No international students may begin their initial enrollment at Fisk during a summer session. International students must meet the published application deadlines set by the University. It is recommended, however, that international students apply well in advance of those dates, as the process to obtain a student (F-1) visa can be time-intensive.

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Fisk University is required by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to verify that international students can finance their entire education at Fisk University, as well as meet academic and language proficiencies before an I-20 can be issued.