FAQ

This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section is designed to give general guidance on common topics. If you do not see your question answered, please email globaled@peralta.edu for your answer.

To Find answers to other common questions about community colleges: Click Here

 ABOUT PERALTA

  1. What is a community college (junior college)?
  2. Why attend a community college?
  3. What community colleges are in Peralta Community College District (PCCD)?
  4. Does Peralta Community College District issue I-20 forms?
  5. How do I obtain an I-20 from PCCD?
 
APPLICATION & ADMISSIONS
  1. I have a different visa (B, J, other), can I apply for F-1 status without returning home?
  2. I am on a different visa and just want to take a class, can I?
  3. What programs are offered at each college?
  4. Does Peralta offer English as a Second Language (ESL)?
  5. How do I know which level I will take?
  6. Can I apply to more than one college at PCCD?
  7. Should all documents for the application be translated into English?
  8. Is TOEFL, IELTS or another language test required for admissions?
  9. How much money should appear on my bank statement?
  10. Can I submit a letter from the bank instead of a bank statement?
  11. What are the exact fees for international students?
  12. What is the AC Transit (Easy Pass) fee and do I have to pay?
  13. Is health insurance required?
  14. Is the Health Center Fee Insurance?
  15. What does the Health Center Fee cover?
  16. Do I need to submit the Certification of F-1 Status (Transfer Form)?
  17. I have been offered a scholarship and need an I-20 prior to receiving the award. What do I do?
  18. When is the application deadline?
  19. Do you accept late applications?
  20. Where do I mail the application?
  21. Can I mail my application to Berkeley City College, Laney College, College of Alameda or Merritt College?
  22. I received my visa, when can I enter the country and what should I do when I arrive?
  23. What if my visa application is denied?
  24. How do I get a refund if I am denied an F-1 visa?


STATUS, ACADEMICS & TRANSFER
  1. What is a full-time student?
  2. What is a unit?
  3. What does Grade Point Average (GPA) mean?
  4. How do I create a student account?
  5. How do I access my Student Center through Passport?
  6. Where can I find the class schedule and college catalogs?
  7. How do I add classes?
  8. I have a hold on my account, why?
  9. How do I access my Peralta Email account (and setup a forward)?
  10. How do I order Official Transcripts?
  11. What are the deadlines to drop classes and get my money back (refund policy)?
  12. Where can I get information on transferring to a university?
  13. What do I when:
    1. I am not enrolled in 12 units?
    2. my I-20 Program End Date is nearing (I-20 is about to expire)?
    3. I am planning on travelling outside of the U.S.?
    4. I am returning home or transferring to another school? 

ABOUT PERALTA

1. What is a community college (junior college)?

A community college, also called junior college, is a post-secondary institution that offers certificate programs, Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees and other programs. In addition, many students complete their first two years of undergraduate study at a community college before transferring to a four-year institution.

Typically, students attend community college to:

  • Improve English Skills
  • Enroll in a Certificate or Vocational Program
  • Transfer to a 4 year university to obtain a Bachelor Degree

 

2. Why attend a community college?

International students choose to attend community colleges for several reasons:

  • Lower Cost
  • High Transfer rates to 4 year universities such as UC/CSU’s (2+2)
  • Smaller Class sizes
  • ESL preparation
  • Flexible Admissions Requirements
  • Improve and develop new skills

 

3. What community colleges are in Peralta Community College District (PCCD)?

Peralta Community College District is comprised of four community colleges – College of Alameda, Berkeley City College, Laney College & Merritt College.

 

 

4. Does Peralta Community College District issue I-20 forms?

YES. The Peralta Community College District is authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to issue I-20 forms for the four colleges it serves: Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College & Merritt College. The I-20 form certifies a student’s eligibility to study at a school in the United States.

You can find us through American Association of Community Colleges under the name of the college as well as under Peralta Community College District. In addition, Education USA

 

5. How do I obtain an I-20 from PCCD?

In order to obtain an I-20 from PCCD, you must 1) Submit a completed International Student Application Form$50 (US) non-refundable application fee payable to PCCD, and other required documents listed on the application checklist.  2) Complete the CCCApply online application to create a student account; 3) Upon submitting your Student ID number to the Office of International Education, we will provide you with an official letter of acceptance and your Form I-20.

Please see International Student Application Process for more information.

 

Please Note: Transfer students will receive an I-20 upon SEVIS release from previous school and after enrolling in 12 units.

 

APPLICATION & ADMISSIONS

 

1. I have a different visa (B, J, other), can I apply for F-1 status without returning home?

If you are in the U.S. on a different visa, please come to our office with your Passport and legal documents (I-94, Visa, DS 2019, etc) so our international team members can review them. It may be possible to apply for a Change of Status but your legal documents must be reviewed first.

 

2. I am on a different visa and just want to take a class, can I?

In most cases, yes it may be possible to enroll in a class or two. However, each visa has certain restrictions. Please come to our office with your Passport and legal documents for a specialist to review. You will also need to create a Peralta student account.

 

3. What programs are offered at each college?

Each college offers specific programs. You can review the entire Majors & Academic Programs. This is also included on the last page of the INTERNATIONAL STUDENT APPLICATION FORM.

 

4. Does Peralta offer English as a Second Language (ESL)?

Yes. Each campus offer ESL classes. College of Alameda, Laney College and Merritt College offer all four levels (High Beginning, Intermediate, High Intermediate & Advanced). However, Berkeley City College only offers High Intermediate & Advanced only (it does not offer High Beginning or Intermediate). In addition, BCC’s ESL classes start two weeks after the semester.

Click here to learn more about the ESL Program and classes

 

5. How do I know which level I will take?

Before enrolling, all students must take a placement exam that determines their level. It is encouraged that you prepare for the test and do your best.

 

6. Can I apply to more than one college at PCCD?

No. Your I-20 must be at one college and your college and major must match. You may enroll at the different campuses during your semester but you can only apply to one college.

 

7. Should all documents for the application be translated into English?

Yes. All documents submitted for review need to be translated in English by a professional translation company or entity. You may refer to our Transcript Evaluation Services page for references only.  

 

8. Is TOEFL, IELTS or another language test required for admissions?

No. However, having a TOEFL score will help assess whether or not ESL classes may be required prior to our placement test. A score of 61 ibt, or 6  on the IELTS test typically indicates that students are at the highest two ESL levels and may take some AA classes.

 

Please Note: All new matriculating students will be required to take an assessment test for Math and English regardless of any language test score.

 

9. How much money should appear on my bank statement?

We require a bank statement, or combined statements, of $18,436USD. This is the amount reported for 1 full year (12 months) of study, living and other expenses during your stay and includes 30 units. The statements must include: name on the account, date and overall/final balance.

 

10. Can I submit a letter from the bank instead of a bank statement?

No. All funds for support must be in the form of a bank statement. A letter from a bank that states the balance is unacceptable.

 

11. What are the exact fees for international students?

At the moment, $4,124.50 USD is the cost for one semester at 12 units and at 1 campus:

  • $230 Non-Resident Tuition (per unit)
  • $46 Enrollment Fee (per unit)
  • $15 Capital Outlay Fee
  • $4 Campus Fee (per campus)
  • $38 AC Transit Pass (per semester; must be enrolled in at least 6 units)
  • $18 Health Fee (per semester) – ($15 for Summer Session)
  • $114.50 Health Insurance Fee (per month)

(The tuition breakdown is also on Section G. Financial Information of the application form)

 

12. What is the AC Transit (Easy Pass) fee and do I have to pay?

AC Transit (also known as Easy Pass) is for all students who enroll in 9 or more units. The fee is mandatory as  the result of a vote that students of each campus made.  Please visit AC Transit Easy Pass Information page for more information.  

 

13. Is health insurance required?

Yes. Health (medical) insurance is required for all F-1 international students. You can choose any company of your choice. Upon submitting your application, you will need to provide our office with the information of the company you are being covered by or purchase one prior to selecting your classes for the semester. Please see our Health Insurance website for more information

 

14. Is the Health Center Fee regarded as Health Insurance?

No. The Health Center Fee is not a replacement for Health Insurance. It does provide many services for students, however, if you have a medical emergency (in an accident, serious illness, etc), you need Health Insurance to cover that.

 

15. What does the Health Center Fee cover?

Please visit the Health Services Homepage for specific information.

 

16. Do I need to submit the Certification of F-1 Status (Transfer Form)?

If you are a student with an I-20 at another school and are transferring to Peralta, YES, you need to complete the top portion and have your DSO at your current school complete and fax back the bottom portion

 

If you are a student on a different visa or applying from overseas (need a new I-20), No, you do not need to complete the Transfer Form.

 

17. I have been offered a scholarship and need an I-20 prior to receiving the award. What do I do?

If you have been offered a scholarship to attend college, you will need to provide an official copy of your scholarship letter prior to being issued an I-20. Please send proof of your scholarship award to our office for review by our international admissions specialist.


18. When is the application deadline?

Deadlines to Apply:

Semester (Dates) Overseas Transfers (Already in U.S. on F-1 Visa)
Spring (January-May) November 1 December 15
Summer (June-July) April 1 May 15
Fall (August-December) June 1 July 15

19. Do you accept late applications?

Applications may be accepted late on a CASE BY CASE BASIS ONLY.

 

20. Where do I mail the application?

Peralta Community College District

Office of International Education

333 East 8th Street

Oakland, CA 94606 USA

 

21. Can I mail my application to Berkeley City College, Laney College, College of Alameda or Merritt College?

No. Do not mail your application to any of the campuses. Doing so may result in a delay (or loss) of receiving your application.

 

22. I received my visa, when can I enter the country and what should I do when I arrive?

Students arriving on a new I-20 (not transferring the I-20), the earliest you may enter the country is 30 days before your Program Start Date. If you arrive any earlier at the Port of Entry, you may be denied entry.

If you are a transfer student, please speak with a Designated School Official (DSO) before travelling to ensure you have the proper I-20 to return.

 

23. What if my visa application is denied?

If your visa application is denied, you may have your I-20 deferred to a future semester or request a refund.

 

24. How do I get a refund if I am denied an F-1 visa?

You are entitled to a full refund of your tuition deposit if you are denied a visa. Please complete the Refund Form and return it to the international office.

 

Please Note: Wire Transfer Payments can only be returned by check and credit card payments will be returned to the same card.

 

STATUS & ACADEMICS & TRANSFER

 

1. What is a full-time student?

The Department of Homeland Security requires all international (F-1) students to maintain a full-time course load.  International students at the Peralta Colleges are required to maintain a minimum of 12 units each fall and spring semester.  Only one class at a total of three (3) units is allowed to be taken as an online class.  If summer is your first semester, you must be enrolled in one class, minimum.

 

11.5 units does not equal 12 units, sorry, you need more =)

 

2. What is a unit?

unit is a measurement of credit that a student receives for a class and is referred to as a credit at other institutions.  One unit often (but not always) equals one hour of instruction per week.

 

3. What does Grade Point Average (GPA) mean?

Grade Point Average (GPA) is calculated by dividing the total amount of grade points earned by the total amount of unit hours attempted. Your grade point average may range from 0.0 to a 4.0. Colleges and universities consider each students GPA when determining qualifications for admissions. F-1 students must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA to maintain status. Universities may require at least a 2.5 GPA for admissions.

A=4.0

B=3.0

C=2.0

D=1.0

F/W=0.0

 

4. How do I create a student account?

To begin the process for creating a student account as a transfer student, please visit Peralta’s Apply + Enroll page. If you are a new student applying in your home country, please refer to your acceptance letter that was sent to you by email for instructions.  If you are transferring from a California community college or CSU please login in to your account at www.cccapply.org.

 

5. How do I access my Student Center through Passport?

Please visit Peralta’s Student Center (Passport). You will need to know your Campus ID (a number given by Peralta) or your Social Security Number and full date of birth.

 

6. Where can I find the class schedule and college catalogs?

Current Schedule of Classes/Catalogs. You may also purchase these in the Bookstore on campus.

 

7. How do I add classes?

After accessing your Student Center, click on Add a Class or visit Admissions and Records. Please make sure the class is open, you have met the pre-requisites and it is not too late to add classes.

 

8. I have a hold on my account, why?

Click on the Hold for the specific reason. It may be due to being a new International Student (contact globaled@peralta.edu); non-payment of tuition and fees; matriculation hold (see a counselor) or another reason. The Holds Information page contains a complete list.

 

9. How do I access my Peralta Email account (and setup a forward)?

We encourage you to use and check your Peralta email for authentication purposes. How to access and forward your email is easy to do. Just follow the steps!

 

10. How do I order Official Transcripts?

You can order Official Transcripts through your Student Center (under My Class Schedule) or through Admissions and Records. For a full list of ways, please visit Admissions and Records Official Transcript Request page.

 

11. What are the deadlines to drop classes and get my money back?

The Refund Policy (Classes) page also outlines the refund policy based on the Schedule of Classes

12. Where can I get information on transferring to a university?

 

13. What do I when:

 

a.I am not enrolled in 12 units?

Come to the International Office to meet with a counselor and petition for below 12 units (Counselor Hours

 

b. my I-20 Program End Date is nearing (I-20 is about to expire)?

Come to the International Office to meet with Thomas Torres-Gil for a Program Extension

 

c.I am planning on travelling outside of the U.S.?

Come to the International Office with your Passport and I-20. Your I-20 must be signed by a DSO for you to travel

 

d.I am returning home or transferring to another school?

Complete our Transfer Out Form or Departure Form. If you are transferring to another school, we require you to bring your acceptance letter as well.