ELI Student Guide

Important policies and procedures about the ELI program can be found in the English Language Institute Student Handbook and in the information below.

Getting Started

Students are expected to find their own housing accommodations. ELI cannot guarantee housing on or off campus or make housing arrangements for students ahead of time.

Residence Life Office

Residence Life provides safe, clean, healthy, and affordable living and learning facilities that fosters an inclusive community living environment for students, staff, faculty, and guests. The Residence Life Office manages three areas, Residence Halls, Lewis and Clark Village, and University Villages, which provides a variety of housing options for single students, students with dependents, and University guests. Services provided in these facilities support and nurture educational experiences and personal development at the University of Montana.

Residence Halls offer convenience, social environment, affordability, safety, and dining for student convenience. Housing is on a first come first serve basis.

Meal plans are offered for all students living on campus.  

Culture shock is part of the process of learning a new culture. Most people experience some discomfort before they are able to function in a new environment. The discomfort of “culture shock” is an adaptation process. This is a very normal process that nearly everyone goes through.

ELI offers cultural adaptation workshops several times throughout the semester. We work closely with new students to ensure you have the information needed to adjust to life in the United States. ELI also offers weekly culture session to help introduce students to life on campus, student resources, and educational events on local holidays and festivals to name a few.

If you are experiencing culture shock, are having a hard time adjusting to life in the U.S., or would like more information on cultural adaptation strategies, please contact the International Students and Scholars program coordinator. 

If you need immidiate assistance please contact Curry Health Couseling Services or the ISS Program Coordinator


  • Greetings are typically informal and short
  • People usually prefer eye to eye contact when speaking to others
  • If someone reaches out to shake your hand, consider responding with a handshake
  • There are a variety of greetings and very few are considered offensive
  • There are many ways to say "hello." Try some of these: "Hey," What's up?," "How's it going?" 

Interactions with Faculty and Staff

  • Be respectful!
  • Use formal titles with last names 
  • Faculty and staff usually have office hours when you can visit them; if you are not able to attend office hours, email faculty and staff your questions or comments 
  • Be on time to all your classes and follow the deadlines for your homework
  • Professors expect questions from you, so if you have any questions about the class, its content, or assignments, ask!

Interactions with Students

  • American students are often private until they get to know you
  • Americans can be loud and direct, but are usually just being friendly!
  • Students often prefer social networking or text messaging over phone call conversations
  • The easiest wayto make new friends is to socialize! Join a club or sport activity

Um Connect logo

Every new student will need to set up an email account. You are required to correspond with the teachers and staff of UM with your student email. This will also be used to send you important notices and bills. Residence Life will send your housing assignment and other important information through your UM email. It is very important you check your UM email daily. You will use this account as long as you are a University of Montana student.

You will need your NetID to access your student email and set up your account. Please visit the NetID lookup page and enter your last name and date of birth. 

After you retrieve your NetID you can log into your email  and set up your account. If you have not set up a password, use the last six (6) digits of your 790 student ID number. 

Bills are issued within the first week of the beginning of each term. Payment is due within five business days of the issuance date. Bills are paid at the University Business Services office in the Lommasson Center.  Students who do not pay their bills on time will be removed from class until the bills are settled, so it is important that you pay your bill as soon as you receive it. ELI is not responsible for any scholarship delays. All students, regardless of how they will pay, will be required to pay in full the first week of class, or set up a deferred payment plan to make 4 payments throughout the semester. To check your bill or refund, log into Cyberbear

  • Application Fee (paid one time) Fee to accompany application to ELI
  • Griz Card (paid one time) Fee to obtain a University identification card.
  • Core Course Fee (paid each term) Fee for attendance in core curriculum courses.
  • Elective Fee (paid each term) Fee for attending an optional elective course.
  • MontPIRG The optional fee creates a pool of funds to hire professional staff that works with students to teach skills in community organizing.
  • Sustainability Fee The optional fee creates a Revolving Energy Loan Fund to finance energy efficiency projects and utility reduction measures on campus.
  • Transportation Fee This fee supports and promotes transportation options for the University community. Revenue from this fee assists with costs associated with alternative transportation needs for faculty, students, and staff that include park and ride, shuttle bus, off campus parking etc.
  • Equipment Fee This fee is for the purchase, lease, and maintenance of equipment which provide a primary benefit to education programs; including the library
  • Facilities Fees This fee is used to remodel and renovate classrooms and laboratories in instructional facilities.
  • Technology Fees This fee supports the University technology infrastructure that includes acquisition, renewal, licensing, maintenance, and operations of the campus technology core and distributed systems, building level hub, switching, and wiring.
  • ASUM Fees This Fee is to support the operations of the Associated Student of The University of Montana (ASUM) and its committees to enhance student campus life. This fee entitles students to use ASUM services (legal services, day care, tutoring services, etc.) provides support to ASUM activities, and receive reduced rates to programming events.
  • UC Fees This fee supports the daily operations and maintenance of the University Center and services the long-term debt related to the University Center renovation.
  • Health Service Fee This fee is used to support the Curry Health Center (CHC) and provides student programs and services for medical, dental, counseling and health enhancement services during the academic year to all University students. Students enrolled for six or fewer credits may receive services on a fee-for-service basis (in some departments) or may choose to pay the full health service fee to obtain full time student benefits.
  • Campus Recreation Fee This fee funds the maintenance and operation of sports facilities and programs of the Campus Recreation Department.UM students are entitled access to use facilities such as the fitness and recreation center and grizzly pool. It also enables participation in an array of intramural sports, various fitness programs and outdoor programs.
  • Athletic Fee This fee entitles students access to athletic events and also supports athletics facilities and operations.
  • Non-Resident Building Fee Non-Resident students pay an additional amount which represents the portion covered by the state for resident students. 

UM has an Emergency Notification System in place to alert students on an emergency on or around campus. You can set up Emergency Test Messages through the Emergency Notification System in the event of a campus emergency. To sign up, log into Cyberbear  and go to Personal Information. Set your preferences in the Emergency Test Messages section. 

Academic Information

ELI offers 4 levels. All new students take an entrance exam during orientation. Instructors will monitor students’ progress during the first two weeks of class. If it appears that  student has been placed in a class that is either too easy or difficult, he/she may be moved to another level. After the first two weeks, changes in levels will not occur until the beginning of the following session. Returning ELI students may take another placement exam, but must take the exam when it is offered with new students during orientation. Additional placement exams will not be offered.

Your placement exam score determines your proficiency level, which in turn determines your classes. You are required a minimum of 18 instructional class hours a week. Optional electives are available each term for those students who do not require 20 instructional hours per week. 

"Student Learning Outcomes" ("SLOs") have been articulated for each level of instruction and are correlated to the Common European Framework for Languages (CERF). The CERF was developed to provide a common basis for the explicit description of objectives, content and methods in second and/or foreign language education.

Your ELI instructors will give you a syllabus which explains the SLOs for each level.  You must be able to demonstrate proficiency of at least 80% of the SLOs at the end of the session/semester to advance to the next level of instruction. SLOs are measured throughout each course and tested on a formal evaluation at the end of each session.  Students may only repeat a level 3 times.

Students will advance to the next level of ELI if they have a final semester G.P.A. of 2.50 or 80% or higher in their classes. If students have a final G.P.A. of 2.49 or below and less than 80%, they will not advance to the next level. 

Grading, Testing, and Evaluations






 A+ = 97-100%

 B+ = 87-89%

 C+ = 77-79%  D+ = 67-69%  F = 0-59%

 A   = 93-93%

 B   = 83-86%

 C   = 73-76%  D   = 63-66%
 A-  = 90-92%  B-  = 80-82%  C-  = 70-72%  D-  = 60-62%

If a student needs to withdraw from the University of Montana, he/she must contact the ELI Program Coordinator before withdrawing. If the student does not contact the ELI Program Coordinator before leaving the country, his/her SEVIS record could be terminated. If a student withdrawals after the 3rd week of classes the student will receive 0% of their paid tuition. 

Academic Probation

In accordance with the University of Montana’s policy, students will be placed on academic probation at the end of any semester if their grade point average drops below a C (2.0).  When students are placed on academic probation, in order to return to ELI, they must sign a contract agreeing to all of the conditions below.

By signing this contract, students agree that they will:

  • Follow the ELI attendance policy
  • Come to each class on time and participate appropriately in all class activities;
  • Finish all assignments completely, thoughtfully and neatly;
  • Study and prepare for all quizzes and tests;
  • Bring a well-organized notebook, textbook(s), and all necessary class materials to each class.

ELI students on probation will have their performance reviewed at regular intervals.  As long as students are following the rules of their contract and maintaining a grade of C or better, they will be allowed to continue their studies at ELI. Students will remain on academic probation for the remainder of the semester. If students finish a probationary semester with a GPA below 2.0, they will be asked to leave ELI. If they finish the semester with a GPA above 2.0, they will be taken off Academic Probation.

If a student is asked to leave ELI because they are not able to meet the terms of academic probation, they may leave the program and apply to return after a one-semester break in study.


The English Language Institute adheres to the policy set by the University of Montana regarding plagiarism. The University of Montana’s Student Conduct Code defines plagiarism as “representing another person’s words, ideas, data, or materials as one’s own.” Plagiarizing demonstrates a form of academic dishonesty and a lack of understanding and respect for the work of others. If students are found to be plagiarizing another person’s written work, they will be subject to penalties defined in the Student Conduct Code. This can vary depending on the severity of the offence and could ultimately result in being asked to leave UM and ELI. If students are unsure of what constitutes plagiarism they should ask for clarification from their ELI instructors.

Your teachers recommend that you take advantage of other opportunities to help you improve your listening and speaking abilities. Once example is a free outside of class activity called Conversation Partners. This program places interested students in contact with University of Montana students and Missoula community members.

The Writing and Public Speaking Center helps undergraduate and graduate students in all disciplines become more independent, versatile, and effective writers, readers, and thinkers.  Welcoming all students, including international students, the Writing Center provides a comfortable environment where students can engage in supportive conversations about their writing and receive feedback on their works in progress. 

The University of Montana and ELI offer various opportunities to students for community engagement and on campus events. ELI students are encouraged to participate as this will not only increase their level of English proficiency, but provide an experience never to forget. 

Tuition, student fees, residence life, meal plans, and health insurance are all payable during orientation week of the English Language Institute. Payment is due in full within the first week of classes.

If students are paying with a scholarship, they are responsible for ensuring payment the first week of classes. No exceptions will be given.

UM Screen Shot Cyberbear

Program Rules

The United States Department of Homeland Security requires students to be full-time and in good standing as a condition of their F-1 or J-1 visa. F-2 visa holders are allowed to study part-time at ELI and must follow the ELI attendance policy. In addition, coming to classes regularly is the best way for students to improve quickly.

ELI students sign an attendance contract at the beginning of the semester. The attendance contract addresses all of the procedures and policies below for the fall, spring, and summer semesters:


Students who miss more than 5% of all classroom hours will receive unsatisfactory attendance, which will be placed in their academic records.


Students who miss more than 10% of all classroom hours will have their status reviewed and placed on attendance probation. Students will be asked to meet with the ELI DSO to discuss U.S. Department of Homeland Security consequences.


Students who miss more than 15% of all classroom hours will be expelled from the English Language Institute. Students have the option of meeting with a DSO to discuss their visa status options. 

Students who accept SACM scholarships who miss more than 10% of all classroom hours will be expelled from the English Language Institute. This policy is implemented by the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission and must be enforced by ELI. This policy also applies to F-2 visa holders with a SACM scholarship. 


Students who miss more than 10% of all classroom hours will have their status reviewed and placed on attendance probation. Students will be asked to meet with the ELI DSO to discuss U.S. Department of Homeland Security consequences


SACM students who miss more than 10% of all classroom hours will be expelled from the English Language Institute. Students have the option of meeting with a DSO to discuss their visa status options. 

Students must comply with all laws and regulations of the U.S. government and University of Montana. This includes laws regulating drinking, contracts, computer usage, driving, and insurance.

If you have a suggestion about your program of study, financial arrangements, or other personal issues, please see the ELI Program Coordinator.

A student complaint can be defined as (1) a concern that a policy or procedure has been incorrectly or unfairly applied in his/her particular case, or (2) a formal charge against a person’s behavior.

Informal Complaint Process

A student with a complaint has recourse through complaint procedures. In most instances, complaints can be resolved through an informal process beginning with talking to the individual and his/her instructor if necessary.

Basic steps in the informal process include:

  • Discussing the matter with the staff member, instructor, or department in which the issue originated.
  • Contacting the ELI Chair to investigate the issue and report allegations.

Formal Complaint Process

If the issue  is still unresolved after  the appropriate informal complaint procedures have been completed, the student may choose to have the issue “officially documented.” The general procedure is as follows:

  • The student must be able to demonstrate previous attempts to resolve the concern through informal procedures.
  • To establish official documents, the student must complete the Student Complaint Form and submit it to the ELI Chair.

Before filing a formal complaint, please follow the informal complaint process above. If, after attempting to solve the complaint informally, a satisfactory resolution has not been achieved, then complete and submit a formal complaint. If you choose to file a formal complaint, the ELI Chair will contact you to discuss further action.

Immigration Regulations

  1. The SEVIS I-901 fee is required for all F-1 and J-1 visa students. Paying your SEVIS I-901 fee is very important. Without this fee, you will not be eligible to apply for a visa. To pay the fee, go to www.fmjfee.com
  2. After paying the I-901 fee and getting a receipt, you can apply for a visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate before you leave for the United States.
    1. If you are applying for an F-1 student visa you will need your Form I-20, a statement of financial support and your valid country passport, as well as proof you paid the SEVIS fee.
  3. Before you leave for the United States, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the different types of documents you might need. It is always a good idea to carry your original documents on your person at all times. Do not put them in your checked baggage
  4. You may enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the official program start date listed on your I-20. You must report to the University of Montana by the program start date. If you cannot enter the U.S. for the term listed on your I-20 form or if you will be late by a few days, contact us immediately at umeli@umontana.edu
  5. For tips on how to prepare for the Visa interview, visit “10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Nonimmigrant Visa” 

U.S. Federal Regulations require that you report any address change within 10 days of the address change. Do this by reporting your new address to the ELI Program Coordinator. This includes address changes for any of your dependants as well. 

Us Department of Homeland Security logo

Pay close attention to the program completion date indicated on your I-20. Your F-1 status will end on the program completion date unless it is extended. You are required to make your request before your program completion date. Extensions are subject to approval by the ELI DSO, and will only be granted for valid reasons. You can request a program extension at any time during the school year, but must do so at least at least one week prior to the expiration date on the I-20. See the ELI Program Coordinator to request an extension.

“Transfer” means that a student is leaving one school for another school. This can happen, for example, when a student completes his or her academic program at a language school and then goes on to an undergraduate or graduate program at a U.S.-based university.

Students who wish to transfer must be in contact with the two schools: the current school and the new school. Both of these schools must be authorized to enroll international students by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. To transfer you must:

  • Apply for admission and be admitted to the new school
  • Provide an Admission letter from the new school to the ELI program coordinator
  • Complete the Transfer Request Form and return to the ELI program coordinator at least 1 week before your transfer

Students seeking to transfer to a new institution should complete a Transfer Request Form, which can be obtained from the ELI program coordinator. Scholarship students should obtain prior permission to transfer from their sponsor. See the "Transfer out of UM" section of ISS's immigration page for more information. 

F-1 students in lawful status can work on the University of Montana campus for 20 hours a week or less when classes are in session and up to 40 hours a week during official school breaks (winter and spring break). You must see the program coordinator or DSO before taking a job on campus. ELI students are not allowed to work off campus. 

To comply with federal regulations, F-1 students in ELI must maintain a full-time academic course load, make satisfactory academic progress, advance to a degree program, or leave the United States by the end of their program. To maintain full-time status at ELI, F-1 students must take at least 18 hours of classes per week each term in “core” classes.

To maintain a full-time academic course load, ELI F-1 students must attend at least 85% of their classes. 

If you are on the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission scholarship, you cannot miss more than 10% of your classes and must be registered for at least 20 instructional hours per week. 

You will fall out of F-1 student status if you fail to maintain full-time enrollment, fail to pay your tuition bill by the deadline, make unsatisfactory academic progress, or attend less than 85%-90% of your core classes. Working illegally or being convicted of a felony are particularly serious violations of status. If you fall out of status you must meet with the program coordinator or DSO. 

The easiest way for ELI students to maintain status is to register for, pay on time, and attend a full time course load. 

F-1 students in lawful status who are leaving the country and intend to return to ELI in the current or next available academic term (or are leaving the U.S. for a vacation) need to have their I-20 forms signed before departure. The program coordinator or DSO may sign I-20s for travel. You must have a signed, valid I-20, valid F-1 entry visa, and valid passport in order to re-enter the U.S. You must completed the I-20 Travel Request Form one week prior to travel. Late requests will not be honored. 

Conditional Admission

Conditional Admission is for students who want to enroll in a UM bachelor degree program but do not meet the minimum requirement for Full Admission or UP Admissions or do not have an English language test score. Students begin their studies at the English Language Institute (ELI) for intensive academic training. Once the student receives the appropriate TOEFL score or a recommendation from ELI they will begin their bachelor degree studies.

If you are currently an ELI student and would like to attend the University of Montana, you must first apply for Conditional Admission

A completed application and all supporting documents must be received by the following dates:

Fall Semester – June 15
Spring Semester – November 15
Summer Session – March 1

In order to continue on to undergraduate study at University of Montana, conditionally admitted students must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Receive a recommendation from ELI based on their grades. Minimum GPA of 3.5 or 90% in Level 6.
  • Receive a recommendation from ELI based on their grades and score on a standardized test such as IELTS or TOEFL. Minimum GPA of 3.0 or 85% in level 6 AND a documented TOEFL score of 500 (pBT) or 61 (iBT) or IELTS 5.5 (with no band lower than  5.0)
  • Receive an acceptable TOEFL/IELTS/IBT score. Minimum score of 525 or higher on an ELI-administered paper-based institutional TOEFL (pBT), 70 or higher on the Internet- based TOEFL (iBT), or a 6.0 composite score on the IELTS exam. Official test scores must be presented before classes begin in order to be admitted to the university. 

ELI offers the paper-based TOEFL test multiple times throughout the year. Students can also register online to take the Internet-based TOEFL test at the University of Montana’s Testing Services Office. The test can be taken in the Lommasson Center or at other official locations in the U.S. The IELTS test is not currently offered in Missoula.

If students receive an acceptable TOEFL/IELTS score for admission to the University of Montana after the semester has begun (first week of orientation), they must still complete the semester and continue to meet ELI academic and attendance standards. They must do this in order to maintain their student status for immigration purposes and matriculate in to the University of Montana. 

Students who plan to enter a graduate program should consult the Graduate School for admissions requirements. The Graduate School is located in the Lomasson Center. 

Health and Safety

All students at The University of Montana, including ELI students, are required to maintain health insurance. You have the option to purchase insurance from your home country, an insurance company in the U.S. or from the University of Montana. Students must show proof (in English) of private medical insurance which provides international coverage every semester to the University of Montana insurance office. If you wish to purchase the University of Montana health insurance, you may do so at the time of registration. If you wish to purchase insurance outside of UM, here are a few of the many options to consider. Please let the ELI Program Coordinator know if you have any questions about health insurance coverage. 


The University of Montana provides this material for information purposes only.  The University of Montana maintains no responsibility for the selection and/or purchase of student health insurance.  All students are strongly encouraged to research insurance options that will meet their specific medical needs.

If an emergency arises, call 911 (Emergency Campus Police- 243-4000). This number will connect you to a dispatcher, who will ask for your name, the address where you are, and the type of problem you are having. The dispatcher will then contact the police, the fire department, or an ambulance for you. All students will receive the ELI Emergency Card during orientation. This card has very important numbers and should be kept with you at all times. 

ELI Emergency Card

Curry Health Center provides Medical, Dental, Counseling, Student Wellness and Student Advocacy Resource Services (SARC). Please feel welcome to come visit Curry Health Center if you have any health and wellness questions or concerns.

Here are a few things to know when you first come to University of Montana:

  1. We ask that you fill out the Medical Requirement Form and return it to us.
  2. If you have a health hold or need an immunization, we will help you complete that requirement so you can register for classes during orientation.
  3. The University of Montana requires that you have health insurance while you attend UM.  Whether it's yours, your parents', or the school insurance, we ask you have some form of health coverage.
  4. Curry Health Center follows strict confidentiality and HIPAA protocol. If you use our services, your privacy is our priority.
  5. If you are enrolled at seven or more credits, you pay the Health Services Fee.  That fee allows us to provide less expensive health care to you.  More often than not, our fees for service in Medical, Dental, and Counseling are some of the most affordable in Missoula.


The University of Montana prohibits smoking on all campus grounds. To find out more visit: Tobacco Free UM.


Illegal use, possession, manufacture, sale or distribution of any controlled substance on University property or at University-sponsored activities is unlawful and prohibited.  This prohibition complies with federal and state statutes, The University of Montana Student Conduct Code, the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989.


Individuals who violate University policies, city ordinances, state, or federal laws are subject to disciplinary action according to The University of Montana Student Conduct Code, Men’s and Women’s Fraternities Relationship Statement, University personnel policies, and/or criminal prosecution. These sanctions include laws and regulations pertaining to abuse of alcohol and use, possession, sale or manufacture of illicit drugs.

It is illegal for persons under the age of 21 to possess, purchase or consume alcoholic beverages.

Students are encouraged to take measure to protect their personal safety. The University of Montana Police Department is dedicated to the safety of everyone on campus. Officers cannot be everywhere, so they depend on the community to be their eyes and ears. It is vital that you trust your instincts and report anything that does not seem right. UMPD has provided some resources to help keep you safe.  


The University of Montana restricts the possession and use of firearms on the campuses of The University of Montana. Individuals authorized to carry firearms without prior approval from the President or Public Safety Director include:

  • Peace officers
  • Federal authorities that are empowered by federal law to be armed.

Students living in residence halls or residence life facilities must register any firearm with the Office of Residence Life and follow mandatory requirements for possession.

Policy Procedure 

Fire and Emergency Preparedness

The University of Montana practices and encourages fire preparedness.  All persons affiliated with campus life should know and practice fire safety whenever a possible fire or emergency situation presents itself by following evacuation procedures.

Policy Procedures


The ASUM Office of Transportation increases transportation options and awareness to the University of Montana campus.

This process is to be accomplished through a combination of programs agreed upon by the ASUM Transportation Board. This office is supported by a student-initiated fee of $33.50 per semester. Click on the logo's for more information! 

ASUM U Bike logo Biking to campus is fun, rewarding, and inexpensive. Read more about biking options here: Biking
ASUM U Bus logo

The Office of Transportation offers free, convenient, environmentally responsible bus commute options to the University of Montana community. Learn more about riding the bus here: Taking the Bus

ASUM U walk Logo Walking to a great way to start your day. To learn more, select the link: Walking

The Parking Division of UMPD is dedicated to managing a shared resource to provide the best alternatives and access to the University of Montana campus.  Parking is limited.  To help alleviate some of this congestion UMPD helps fund ASUM Transportation and Mountain Line Transportation. This helps provide free alternative transportation options to our students, faculty, and staff.

All surface parking lots as well as street parking require permits specific to the area from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Although permits are not required by UMPD after hours and on weekends, Quick Stops, Service and Delivery, and ADA spots are enforced 24 hours.  Events on campus may also charge for parking after hours.  Caution: Read signs carefully. Each surface parking lot is signed at the entrance and further restrictions are usually designated within the lot.

Visitors here for special events are advised to make arrangements with the department with which they have business prior to their visit.